Eight Principles for Humanitarian Intervention

Journal of Military Ethics 5 (2):93-113 (2006)
When is humanitarian intervention legitimate and how should such interventions be conducted? This article sets out eight liberal principles that underlie humanitarian intervention, some of them abstract principles of international ethics and others more concrete principles that apply specifically to humanitarian intervention. It argues that whilst these principles do not determine the legitimacy of particular interventions, they should ?incline? our judgments towards approval or disapproval. The basic principles include the liberal idea that governments are the mere agents of the people, that tyrannical governments forfeit their legal protections, that human rights entail obligations for governments, that justifiable intervention must intend the end of tyranny or anarchy, that the doctrine of double-effect should be respected, that intervention is only warranted in severe cases, that intervention be welcomed by those it is intended to save, and that ideally it is welcomed by the community of democratic states.
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DOI 10.1080/15027570600707698
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John Rawls (1999). The Law of Peoples. Harvard University Press.

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