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Growing Edges of Just War Theory: Jus ante bellum, jus post bellum, and Imperfect Justice


This essay addresses two growing edges of the just war tradition. First, theorists have been accused of focusing narrowly on justifying war (jus ad bellum) and governing its conduct (jus in bello), neglecting wider considerations that encompass justice during the years prior to and after war. Second, calling a war “just” allegedly makes it seem “good” so that it is easier to fight a war and to bend or set aside the rules. Based on “imperfect justice,” we argue for a “justified” war theory, taking all criteria and categories seriously, including jus ante bellum and jus post bellum.