I am grateful to my colleagues Yvonne Unna and David O'Connor who read drafts of this paper and offered me incisive criticisms. My colleagues Mark Couch, Abe Zakhem, and Bill Smith also made helpful suggestions for improving my argument. I must acknowledge Kirsten Schultz's generous comments. My conversations with David Benfield were instrumental in sharpening my ideas. I must also convey my gratitude to Chris Herrera who generously provided me with detailed comments and challenging arguments. Finally, I am grateful to the editors and reviewers of this journal for their suggestions for improvement.
The Innocent in the Just War Thinking of Vitoria and Suárez: A Challenge Even for Secular Just War Theorists and International Law
Article first published online: 24 FEB 2013
© 2013 The Author. Ratio Juris © 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Volume 26, Issue 1, pages 47–64, March 2013
How to Cite
Medina, V. (2013), The Innocent in the Just War Thinking of Vitoria and Suárez: A Challenge Even for Secular Just War Theorists and International Law. Ratio Juris, 26: 47–64. doi: 10.1111/raju.12002
- Issue published online: 24 FEB 2013
- Article first published online: 24 FEB 2013
Vitoria and Suárez defend the categorical immunity of the innocent not to be intentionally killed. But they allow for inflicting collective punishment on the innocent and the noninnocent alike during and after a just war. So they allow for deliberately harming them. Inflicting harm on the innocent can often result in their death. Hence, holding both claims seems incoherent. First, the objections against using the term “innocent” are explained. Second, their views on just war are explored. And third, by appealing to Aquinas' double-effect reasoning, it is shown how they try to avoid the above-mentioned incoherence. Still, their appeal might be insufficient to palliate the tension between the above-mentioned claims. If just wars are possible, the deliberate harming of the innocent is reasonably unavoidable for defeating and punishing those who wage them. Hence, defenders of just wars, whether from a religious or a secular perspective, must live with such a tension.