The meaning of ‘ius in bello’

ASU Law Online
This article was written by guest author Jasper Doomen, Lecturer at Leiden University. A traditional way to characterize the norms that govern the laws of war is that between ‘ius ad bellum’ (the right to engage in war) and ‘ius in bello’ (the law of armed conflict, i.e., the right which applies in a state of war). These notions may seem unproblematic. They seem to simply refer to the rules that determine the circumstances under which one is absolved of any fault for belligerence, and those that stipulate how one should act once a state of war is a reality. Serious problems emerge, however, once the status of these rules is critically examined. To what does ‘ius in bello’ amount? The notion implies the possibility to judge whether the rules…
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