Nordic journal of international law, Vol. 81, no. 3, 2012, p. 271-293
Justice after war is becoming an increasingly pressing concern. The cases of Afghanistan, Iraq and most recently Libya illustrate the importance of as well as the difficulties involved in the efforts to manage the outcome of armed conflict in a constructive way. The jus post bellum is meant to serve as the normative framework for the efforts to stabilise the post-conflict situation. The jus post bellum also has the future peaceful and arguably democratic and human rights respecting development of the post-conflict society in view. This article aims at drawing the conceptual and substantive contours of the jus post bellum and to discuss its relationship with other parts of international law, primarily the other bodies of law making up the law of armed conflict. Depending on one’s perspective the jus post bellum can be claimed not yet to exist, to exist already or irrespective of which to be superfluous as a separate category of law. The article recognises the apparent need for a comprehensive post-conflict law to serve as a bridge between war and stable peace. What way the international community should take in order to arrive at a just and useful normative framework for building peace is far from certain, however.