In this paper I develop an argument to the effect that humanitarian moral interventions, far from being inconsistent with the normative framework of just war, fit in very well with the justifying conditions of this framework. The argument develops by considering three objections against humanitarian military interventions, emanating from just war criteria. The criteria in question are just authority, just cause, and non-combatant immunity. It will be argued that while just authority logically depends on just cause and has no independent argumentative force of its own, the criterion of just cause should be understood to include a defence of human rights or vital human interests and not only of national sovereignty. As for the criterion of non-combatant immunity, it will be argued that the unintended killing or injuring of innocent non-combatants can be dealt with by means of a modified version of the doctrine of double effect. Moreover, the moral responsibility for unintended innocent victims of an intervention should rest with the repressive regimes that made the intervention necessary in the first place. By relating humanitarian military interventions to the criteria of just war and to human rights, the argument developed here places the justification of such interventions at the centre of contemporary moral discourse.
"The Morality of Humanitarian Interventions,"
International Dialogue: Vol. 1, Article 4.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/id-journal/vol1/iss1/4