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The Moral Status of Combatants during Military Humanitarian Intervention

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    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.

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    Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal Utilitas.

    Volume (Year): 24 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 02 (June)
    Pages: 237-258

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    Handle: RePEc:cup:utilit:v:24:y:2012:i:02:p:237-258_00
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Cambridge University Press, UPH, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge CB2 8BS UK
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