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Title: Occasional Inevitability of War Crimes or Ethically Unjustified Hegemony of (Some of) the Rights of Civilians?
Subtitle: Some Remarks on the Duplex Nature of Extra-Moral Absolutism
Author(s): CEBULA, Adam
Journal: Ethical Perspectives
Volume: 24    Issue: 1   Date: 2017   
Pages: 107-122
DOI: 10.2143/EP.24.1.3200596

Abstract :
A specific normative qualification – necessitate imminente (‘in case of imminent necessity’) – used in Paul Vladimiri’s Saevientibus as part of a conditional precept commending an ostensibly deplorable (in Vladimiri’s view) military tactic – illustrates a severe handicap inherent in just war theory. It manifests itself most evidently in the idea of the ‘supreme emergency exemption’ put forward in Michael Walzer’s Just and Unjust Wars. I try to demonstrate some functional inconsistencies related to this idea. I also argue that the endorsement of the exemption entails at least partial commitment to some form of political community-centred extra-moral (non-moral) absolutism, which inevitably generates – as its converse – an expansion of unjustified claims for the recognition of the absolute character of certain context-dependent rights of civilians. I view these considerations as significant reasons for regarding the principle of non-combatant immunity as both universally valid as well as applicable only within a strictly delimited scope.

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