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Sparing Civilians - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Sparing Civilians

Seth Lazar


Killing civilians is worse than killing soldiers. If any moral principle commands near universal assent, this one does. It is written into every major historical and religious tradition that has addressed armed conflict. It is uncompromisingly inscribed in international law. It underpins and informs public discussion of conflict—we always ask first how many civilians died? And it guides political practice, at least in liberal democracies, both in how we fight our wars and in which wars we fight. Few moral principles have been more widely and more viscerally affirmed than this one. And yet, in ... More

Keywords: just war theory, civilians, international law, noncombatant immunity, ethics of harm, risk, defencelessness, vulnerability, killing, liability

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2015 Print ISBN-13: 9780198712985
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198712985.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Seth Lazar, author
Australian National University