Eight Principles for Humanitarian Intervention

Journal of Military Ethics 5 (2):93-113 (2006)


When is humanitarian intervention legitimate and how should such interventions be conducted? This article sets out eight liberal principles that underlie humanitarian intervention, some of them abstract principles of international ethics and others more concrete principles that apply specifically to humanitarian intervention. It argues that whilst these principles do not determine the legitimacy of particular interventions, they should ?incline? our judgments towards approval or disapproval. The basic principles include the liberal idea that governments are the mere agents of the people, that tyrannical governments forfeit their legal protections, that human rights entail obligations for governments, that justifiable intervention must intend the end of tyranny or anarchy, that the doctrine of double-effect should be respected, that intervention is only warranted in severe cases, that intervention be welcomed by those it is intended to save, and that ideally it is welcomed by the community of democratic states

Download options


    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,743

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library


Added to PP

180 (#67,283)

6 months
6 (#116,950)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

References found in this work

Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - New York: Basic Books.
Taking Rights Seriously.Ronald Dworkin (ed.) - 1977 - Duckworth.
Utilitarianism.John Stuart Mill - 1863 - Cleveland: Cambridge University Press.

View all 34 references / Add more references

Similar books and articles

Humanitarian Intervention: Loose Ends.Fernando R. Tesón - 2011 - Journal of Military Ethics 10 (3):192-212.
Humanitarian Intervention, Consent, and Proportionality.Jeff McMahan - 2009 - In N. Ann Davis, Richard Keshen & Jeff McMahan (eds.), Ethics and Humanity: Themes From the Philosophy of Jonathan Glover. Oxford University Press.
Humanitarian Military Intervention: Wars for the End of History?Clifford Orwin - 2006 - Social Philosophy and Policy 23 (1):196-217.
Legitimacy, Humanitarian Intervention, and International Institutions.Miles Kahler - 2011 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 10 (1):20-45.