Recent years have seen a growing interest in questions about justice after war (jus post bellum), fuelled in large part by moral questions about coalition operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. As a result, it has become common to argue that jus post bellum is a third strand of Just War thinking. This article evaluates this position. It argues that that there are broadly two ways of understanding moral requirements after war: a minimalist position which holds that moral principles derived largely from jus ad bellum and jus in bello concerns should constrain what victors are entitled to do after war and a maximalist position which holds that victors acquire additional responsibilities that are grounded more in liberalism and international law than in Just War thinking. Finding problems with both approaches, the article argues that it is premature to include jus post bellum as a third element of Just War thinking and concludes by setting out six principles to guide future thinking in this area.
* Thanks to Roland Bleiker, Matt McDonald, Cian O’Driscoll, Richard Shapcott, Fernando Tesón, Paul D. Williams and especially Sara E. Davies for helpful comments and suggestions.