IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Moral Status of Combatants during Military Humanitarian Intervention




Recent debates in just war theory have been concerned with the status of combatants during war. Unfortunately, however, the debate has, up to now, focused on self-defensive wars. The present article changes the focus slightly by exploring the status of combatants during military humanitarian intervention (MHI). It begins by arguing that MHI poses a number of challenges to our thinking about the status of combatants. To solve these it draws on Jeff McMahan's theory of combatant liability. On this basis, the article contends that, first, combatants engaged in atrocities lack the same set of rights and liberties held by intervening combatants. Second, and more controversially, drawing on McMahan's theory as well as the notion of complicity, it suggests that the same applies to those combatants who do not perpetrate atrocities but are merely ordered to defend the target state against the intervening state.

Suggested Citation

  • Leveringhaus, Alex, 2012. "The Moral Status of Combatants during Military Humanitarian Intervention," Utilitas, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(02), pages 237-258, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:utilit:v:24:y:2012:i:02:p:237-258_00

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to article abstract page
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cup:utilit:v:24:y:2012:i:02:p:237-258_00. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Keith Waters). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.