chapter  3
10 Pages

Stable grounds for the non- intervention norm

In the first part of this chapter, I shift the grounding for the non-intervention rule to a new foundation. My claim is that the purpose of the non-intervention rule is to secure the international and domestic benefits provided by capable and responsible states. Along the way, I will explain what I mean by “capable and responsible” in contrast to states which are either incapable, irresponsible, or perhaps both. Weak but responsible states lack capability but are willing to accept foreign assistance; wicked states possess capability but not responsibility, so they use their capability for objectionable ends. Failing and failed states usually have neither capability nor responsibility. States can also be partially capable and responsible. Leaders may attempt to govern responsibly, but lack the capability to do it. States like this can sometimes remediate their incapacity by asking for outside assistance, but there may be some problems that remain beyond the capability of the state to solve immediately. This does not necessarily mean the state cannot be called responsible. For example, harmful traditional practices such as honor killing in Jordan and widow immolation in India persist and are accepted and glorified by some parts of the population, in spite of these states’ legal efforts to eliminate the practices; states’ attempts at enforcement may be resented and actively resisted.1 It is important to note that while responsibility and capacity are often correlated, there are some cases when states will be partially capable. In the second part of the chapter, I suggest that the threshold criteria for just cause, particularly in the case of AHI, should be revised to include all the atrocity crimes2 (crimes against humanity and war crimes) specified in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. In the third section of this chapter, I will answer some likely objections to my views on non-intervention and on just cause. This chapter deals only with the just cause category of jus ad bellum; I will elaborate on the other categories of restraint in Chapter 4. I would like to state from the outset that satisfaction of the just cause criterion alone is not sufficient evidence that the actual resort to military force is justifiable, acceptable, or desirable. In my view, resort to war can only be called just if the other jus ad bellum

restraints – last resort, proportionality, likelihood of success, right intention, and legitimate authority – are satisfied as well. Just cause is a necessary but insufficient condition for us to consider when we evaluate the justice of a particular case of resort to military force. A more comprehensive and complex approach is required in order for just war theory to fulfill its main function, “organizing the debate.”3