War Ethics

War Ethics

Why in the news War Ethics?

A number of ethical issues brought up by the recent hostilities between Israel and Hamas and Russia and Ukraine, as well as the ongoing social media articles and pictures depicting the horrors of war ethics.


The just war of ethics theory a doctrine—also call a tradition—of military ethics that seeks to guarantee the moral justifiability of wars by establishing a set of requirements that must be fulfill in order for a war to be deems just. The requirements :-

  1. jus in bello– right conduct in war.
  2. jus ad bellum– right to go to war.
  3. jus post bellum– discussing the ethics of reconstruction and settlement after a conflict.

According to the just war of ethics idea, going to war isn’t always the worst option, even if it can be dreadful when done well. War may be justified by significant obligations, unfavorable consequences, or avoidable atrocities.

Arguments against the Just Ethics War theory:

  • Every war is unfair, and no ethical philosophy can justify it. Deliberate violence must always be condemned by morality. Just war theories typically legitimize violence rather than put a stop to it.
  • The usual principles of society are so disrupted by war that morality has become meaningless.
  • The idea that “the strong do what they will, and the weak do what they must” governs the decision to wage war is based on realism and relative strength rather than ethics or morality, making the just war theory unrealistic and useless in a battle.

What ethical issues come up during a war? 

  • Limitation to Right and Wrong Sides: Trying to make sense of violence and war frequently boils down to deciding who is right and who is wrong.
  • In times of conflict, justifications based on revenge and punishment are sometimes regarded as a moral way to right a wrong.
  • People are frequently used as instruments to further the goals of conflict.

Challenges in following these ethical principles of Ethics War:

  • Non-State Actor Involvement: These players—terrorist or insurgent groups—are frequently not subject to the same ethical and legal restrictions as state actors, and their acts can frequently go against the just war doctrine.
  • Contrary to the principle of discrimination, which calls for a distinct separation between combatants and non-combatants, civilians frequently end up as unintentional victims of armed conflicts. Such principles are violated, for example, by the use of cluster bombs, weapons of mass destruction, and weapons that affect wide areas.
  • Technological Developments and the Proportionality Principle: The employment of cutting-edge military equipment, including drones and precision-guided weapons, presents issues with discrimination and proportionality. Although these technologies can be used to reduce injuries to civilians, there are worries about their misuse.
  • Limited Global Governance: International organizations, treaties, and agreements are frequently necessary for the application of just war principles. These mechanisms’ efficacy is frequently questioned.

How do we make sure these concepts are implemented in War Ethics?

  • Enhancing International Cooperation and Institutions: For example, the Geneva Conventions, which regulate the conduct of war, should be strengthened and upheld internationally. Additionally, there is a need to strengthen the ability of organizations like the UN Security Council and the International Criminal Court (ICC) to hold people and governments responsible.
  • Pushing for more stringent disarmament and arms control laws in order to reduce the use of weapons that have the potential to disproportionately damage people.
  • Investments in diplomatic and peace building initiatives, such as addressing the underlying reasons of disputes, encouraging communication, and assisting in discussions, can help reduce the likelihood of violence.
  • Code of conduct: Based on an agreement on war ethics, state armies can be subject to an enforceable code of conduct.
  • Human rights monitoring: To record and report on breaches that occur during armed conflicts, strengthen the institutions in place for monitoring human rights.


Ethical concerns must evolve as warfare’s nature does in order to meet new issues and preserve the core principles that put human dignity, justice, and peace first.