Research Handbook on International Conflict and Security Law
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Research Handbook on International Conflict and Security Law

Jus ad Bellum, Jus in Bello and Jus post Bellum

Edited by Nigel White and Christian Henderson

This innovative Research Handbook brings together leading international law scholars from around the world to discuss and highlight the contemporary debate regarding issues of conflict prevention and the legality of resorting to the use of armed force through to those arising during an armed conflict and in the phase between conflict and peace.
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Chapter 19: Reparation and compensation

Jus ad Bellum, Jus in Bello and Jus post Bellum

Natalino Ronzitti


There is no formal definition of jus post bellum. Generally it can be said that jus post bellum is the body of law that applies when hostilities end after peace has been restored through a peace treaty or a general armistice. The transition from war to peace is often blurred and a distinctive border is difficult to identify. Often the situation is neither peace nor war, rendering it difficult to determine the correct law to be applied. In a number of instances there is no formal cessation of hostilities and the very existence of a situation of armed conflict is denied. Be that as it may, it is expedient to say that jus post bellum applies when peace is restored or, at least, hostilities are terminated. If jus post bellum relies on a legal process, the relevant norms may be determined, the violation of which entails the responsibility of States. Two sets of norms come into consideration: those related to jus ad bellum and those related to jus in bello. In relation to the first category, the rules governing State responsibility are those related to the violation of the prohibition of the use of force in international relations, in particular those prohibiting waging an aggressive war. These are enshrined in Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter and in the customary norm prohibiting aggression. For the second category, the law to be considered is that contained in the Hague Convention No. IV of 1907 and in Protocol I of 1977, additional to the Four Geneva Conventions, which states that a belligerent is responsible for the conduct of its armed forces.

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