The legitimation of violence : a critical history of the laws of war
by Chris af Jochnick and Roger Normand
Laws of war and 21st century conflict
New York [etc.] : International Debate Education Association, 2012
Tiré d'un article publié dans : Harvard international law journal, Vol. 35, Winter 1994
There is a critical unspoken assumption that gives rhetorical power to the idea of a legal war - specifically, that a legal war is more humane than an illegal war. A legal war connotes a war that is proper and just, rather than a war that merely complies with a set of technical guidelines. That the Gulf War is considered to be the most legalistic war ever fought adds to its image as a just and relatively humane war. This Article challenges the notion that the laws of war serve to restrain or "humanize" war. Examination of the historical development of these laws reveals that despite noble rhetoric to the contrary, the laws of war have been formulated deliberately to privilege military necessity at the cost of humanitarian values. As a result, the laws of war have facilitated rather than restrained wartime violence. Through law, violence has been legitimated.