Monthly Archives: August 2014

How Should States as “Trustees of Humanity” Respond to an Armed Attack? Reflections in Light of the Gaza War 2014

The recent war in Gaza poses an important challenge to the claim that countries must act as “trustees of humanity” rather than as trustees of their own citizens only, and must therefore take the interests and concerns of affected foreigners seriously into account. This claim is reflected in several aspects of international law but not, at least not sufficiently, in the laws that regulate warfare. The traditional laws on the use of force (jus ad bellum) and on the conduct of hostilities (jus in bello) impose several restrictions on states engaging with their enemies, but what informs those traditional requirements and prohibitions is the premise that states are entitled to ensure maximum safety for their citizens regardless of the costs to all the rest. Continue reading