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Law and Morality at War$
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Adil Ahmad Haque

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199687398

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199687398.001.0001

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Law and Morality

Law and Morality

Chapter:
(p.19) 2 Law and Morality
Source:
Law and Morality at War
Author(s):

Adil Ahmad Haque

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199687398.003.0002

Conventionalists argue that combatants are legally and morally permitted to fight irrespective of their cause. Revisionists argue that combatants are not morally permitted to fight for an unjust cause and conclude that the law of war sharply diverges from the deep morality of war. Many revisionists conclude that the law of war should simply aim to reduce suffering in war to the greatest extent practically possible. This chapter argues that the law of war does not permit or authorize combatants to fight for an unjust cause. The law of war is prohibitive, not permissive. The law of war does not confer symmetrical legal permissions but instead imposes symmetrical legal prohibitions and grants symmetrical legal immunities. The law of war applies alongside other legal and moral norms, including human rights law. Finally, this chapter argues that the law of war should aim to help combatants better conform to their moral obligations.

Keywords:   service conception, conventionalist, revisionist, Michael Walzer, Jeff McMahan, human rights, moral equality of combatants, law of war, law of armed conflict, international humanitarian law

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