Justice after War

I’m no expert, but it seems to me that most discussion of Just War Theory has to do with the reasons for starting a war and how one should prosecute a war once it has begun. A new book from Catholic University Press focuses on a different problem: how the victor should behave when a war is over. Looks very interesting. The book is Justice after War: Jus Post Bellum in the 21st Century. The author is theologian David Chiwon Kwon (Seattle University). Here’s the publisher’s description:

Justice After War is aimed especially to both undergraduate and graduate students, as well as the general audience who want to understand the significance of a recent development within the just war tradition, namely, the increasing attention given to the category of jus post bellum (postwar justice and peace). While examining the interrelated challenges of moral and social norms in both political and legal domains, as well as church practices, this work proposes an innovative methodology for linking theology, ethics, and social science so that the ideal and the real can inform each other in the ethics of war and peacebuilding. The main task of this project, then, is to identify what the author views as three key themes of jus post bellum, and three practices that are essential to implementing jus post bellum immediately after a war: just policing, just punishment, and just political participation.

David Kwon endeavors to challenge the view of those who suggest that reconciliation, mainly political reconciliation, is the foremost ambition of jus post bellum. Instead, he attempts to justify the proposition that achieving just policing, just punishment, and just political participation are essential to building a just peace, a peace in which the fundamental characteristic must be human security. It thus demonstrates that human security is an oft-neglected theme in the recent discourse of moral theologians and that a more balanced understanding of jus post bellum will direct attention to the elements composing human security in a postwar context.