The Burden of Autonomy, Non-combatant Immunity and Humanitarian Intervention

Ethical Perspectives 12 (3):341-355 (2005)
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Michael Walzer argues that except in cases involving genocide or mass slaughter, humanitarian intervention is unjustifiable because “citizens get the government they deserve, or, at least, the government for which they are ‘fit.’”Yet, if people are autonomous and deserve the government that rules over them, then it would seem that they are responsible for the government’s actions, including their nation’s wars of aggression.That line of thought undermines the doctrine of noncombatant immunity, which is perhaps the most important of Walzer’s jus in bello principles. In this way, the concept of self-determination frustrates Walzer’s attempts to keep jus ad bellum and jus in bello considerations separate.
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