Licence to kill? The question of just vs. unjust combatants

Journal of Military Ethics 3 (2):142-160 (2004)
Abstract
This paper questions the moral foundations of the equal war-right to kill in international law. Although there seems to be a moral difference between fighting a just and unjust war, this need not reflect on our moral assessment of soldiers, since unjust combatants can be non-culpable by virtue of excuse. Under the aspect of immunity from blame, an equal war-right to kill is upheld, and belligerent equality restored among innocents. It must therefore be proven that innocent threats can be justifiably killed. If this fails, there is nothing about the people who kill and are killed in war that justifies their killing. This leads to a strong presumption against war and to question the notion of just war. Further, there should be an incentive to increase protection of combatants in war
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