Supreme Emergencies and the protection of non-combatants in war

Bellamy, A. J. (2004) Supreme Emergencies and the protection of non-combatants in war. International Affairs, 80 5: 829-850. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2346.2004.00421.x

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Author Bellamy, A. J.
Title Supreme Emergencies and the protection of non-combatants in war
Journal name International Affairs   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0020-5850
Publication date 2004-10-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1468-2346.2004.00421.x
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 80
Issue 5
Start page 829
End page 850
Total pages 22
Editor C. Soper
Place of publication Oxford, U.K.
Publisher Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Language eng
Subject C1
360105 International Relations
1605 Policy and Administration
1606 Political Science
Abstract Is it ever justifiable to target non-combatants deliberately? This article assesses Michael Walzer's claim that the deliberate targeting of non-combatants may be justifiable during 'supreme emergencies', a view that has received some support but that has elicited little debate. It argues that the supreme emergencies exception to the prohibition on targeting non-combatants is problematic for at least four reasons. First, its utilitarianism contradicts Walzer's wider ethics of war based on a conception of human rights. Second, the exception may undermine the principle of non-combatant immunity. Third, it is based on a historical fallacy. Finally, it is predicated on a strategic fallacy-the idea that killing noncombatants can win wars. The case for rejecting the exception, however, has been opposed by those who persuasively argue that it is wrong to tie leaders' hands when they confront supreme emergencies. The final part of the article addresses this question and suggests that the principle of proportionality may give political leaders room for manoeuvre in supreme emergencies without permitting them deliberately to target non-combatants.
Keyword International Relations
Military strategy
Human rights
Military civilian relations
Just War Theory
Q-Index Code C1
Institutional Status UQ

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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 14:31:58 EST