Introductory Remarks by Kristen Boon

Article excerpt

Jus post bellum refers to the legal and political framework applicable after war. It can be loosely translated as "justice after war." The name is derived from two related concepts: jus ad bellum, which refers to the law applicable to the resort to war, and jus in bello, or the law applicable in war. The three concepts of jus ad bellum, jus in bello, and jus post bellum might be viewed as points along a timeline, representing the legal norms applicable to a just war, just means, and just peace.

One important difference between jus ad bellum and jus in bello on the one hand, and jus post bellum on the other, is that the law is fairly settled as to the prior two categories. Indeed, the UN Charter, the Hague Regulations, and the four Geneva Conventions are among the many treaty obligations that define aspects of these two bodies of obligations. Jus post bellum, in contrast, has little settled law behind it. It is an umbrella concept that is variously used with reference to the law of peace, the law of occupation, the responsibility to protect, emergency law, transitional justice, and peacebuilding. Jus post bellum contains many norms and objectives that are not settled law, but are instead under construction.

In the past decade there has been considerable interest in developing a jus post bellum because the "post conflict" phase has brought about fundamental political changes under various forms of territorial governments. (1) Because jus post bellum is so conceptually tied to jus ad bellum and jus in bello, however, it has largely been seen in the state-to-state context. For example, the law of occupation under the Fourth Geneva Convention has been a point of departure for legislative changes imposed by one state or international organization on another after conflict. …