A JUST WAR

THE FIVE RULES

background information

St Augistine wrote two critea for Just War, but Aquinas is credited for writing them clearly and adding philosophy. He also contributed the criteria, right intention. Other philosophers debated new criteria over 500 years, and eventual rules were agreed. The rules can be written as 5, 6 or 7.

1. CALLED FOR BY AUTHORITY

The war must be started and controlled by the state and/or its ruler.

2. REASON MUST BE JUST

The reasons for going to War must be good in themselves. They must not take part in the War, if the only reason is to exploit the enemy.


3. INVOLVE COMPARITIVE JUSTICE

The good that the war will bring must outwhey the evil. This involves weighing any justice of the cause against the violence, destruction and death that the war will bring.


4. RIGHT INTENTION

There must be no unreasonable conditions, such as unconditional surrender, cession of territory or means of livelihood, added to the orginial war aims.

5. MUST BE LAST RESORT

All other means of securing justice mush have already been exhausted. Negotiations, statements of intent, police actions should all have been previously tried prior to the war.

6. PROBABILITY OF SUCCESS

There should be a chance of success. This doesn't rule out hopeless wars, if the values involved are good enough, however consequences must be heavily considered.

7. PROPORTIONALITY BETWEEN MEANS AND ENDS

The good to be achieved must never be out of proportion to the means used. The question should be asked whether similar ends will be achieved with fewer casualties.