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v2.1 Reference

Justice after War

Jus Post Bellum in the 21st Century

Justice After War is aimed especially to both undergraduate and graduate students, as well as the general audience who want to understand the significance of a recent development within the just war tradition, namely, the increasing attention given to the category of jus post bellum (postwar justice and peace). While examining the interrelated challenges of moral and social norms in both political and legal domains, as well as church practices, this work proposes an innovative methodology for linking theology, ethics, and social science so that the ideal and the real can inform each other in the ethics of war and peacebuilding. The main task of this project, then, is to identify what the author views as three key themes of jus post bellum, and three practices that are essential to implementing jus post bellum immediately after a war: just policing, just punishment, and just political participation.

David Kwon endeavors to challenge the view of those who suggest that reconciliation, mainly political reconciliation, is the foremost ambition of jus post bellum. Instead, he attempts to justify the proposition that achieving just policing, just punishment, and just political participation are essential to building a just peace, a peace in which the fundamental characteristic must be human security. It thus demonstrates that human security is an oft-neglected theme in the recent discourse of moral theologians and that a more balanced understanding of jus post bellum will direct attention to the elements composing human security in a postwar context.

About the Author

David Chiwon Kwon is assistant professor of theology and philosophy, Saint Mary's University of Minnesota. Kenneth R. Himes, OFM, is professor of theology, Boston College.


"The idea is as old as Augustine and Thomas Aquinas that the purpose of a just war is a just peace. In recent decades, not military victory but rather establishing peace and stability – and justice – has become the practically thorniest and most ethically challenging of foreign policy dilemmas. Think only of Iraq and Afghanistan. Few theorists of the just war, though, have offered a thorough and satisfactory account of jus post bellum. Theologian David Kwon now offers what is needed: a full and grounded theory of justice after war, one that looks historically to the best insights of the just war tradition as well as contemporaneously at efforts at creating peace in the wake of conflict and at the work of scholars and practitioners of peacebuilding and reconciliation. Kwon's argument, centering on human security and proffering three attendant practices, just policing, just punishment, and just political participation, likely will become the standard point of reference for readers considering this question. While Kwon's arguments are accessible to all, he also thinks distinctively as a Catholic theologian, looking to the Church as a player, not just a source of doctrine, in the practice of peacebuilding."—Daniel Philpott, University of Notre Dame

9780813236513 : justice-after-war-kwon
Paperback / softback
May 26, 2023
$29.95 USD

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