Monday, December 1, 2014

Ohlin: Justice after War

Jens David Ohlin (Cornell Univ. - Law) has posted Justice after War (in Oxford Handbook of the Ethics of War, Helen Frowe & Seth Lazar eds., forthcoming). Here's the abstract:
After the conclusion of hostilities, whether formal armed conflict or not, parties must be held to account for their behavior. This sentiment is almost universally shared, regardless of one’s moral or ethical framework, though the specifics of this accounting are deeply controversial and contested. In Part 2 of this brief commentary, I offer a normative foundation for justice after war that appeals to the anti-impunity norm. I conclude that criminal trials, as opposed to non-penal mechanisms, best vindicate the anti-impunity norm. In light of this conclusion, Part 3 asks how we should achieve justice after war: who should be put on trial (leaders or foot soldiers), who should prosecute them (national or international courts), which crimes they should be charged with (domestic or international crimes), which procedures should govern the trials, and how (and why) they should be punished.