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CONCLUSION

The view that agents who significantly contribute to the commission of war-related crimes may, indeed ought to, be punished is consensually held. However, justifying it is harder than appears at first, in the light of the sheer complexity—at the bar of both conduct and fault—of those crimes. In this chapter, I have sought to show which war-related crimes warrant punishment and under what conditions. In so doing, I have attempted to address two of the main challenges encountered by the neoclassical account of killing in war. The first challenge is that war wrongdoers’ individual contributions to the macro-threats of war are so marginal when taken on their own that they seemingly do not warrant punishment. The second challenge is that, on the face of it, the neoclassical account treats combatants who kill enemy combatants in prosecution of an unjust war as murderers and thus as deserving punishment, even though most of us in fact do not claim that those combatants all belong in jail and do not behave around them as if they were gang members; nor do we so describe, and relate to, civilians who actively support an unjust war. To block those challenges, I have defended forms of punishment which fall short of imprisonment, such as punitive lustration and confiscation—though I have rejected punitive reparations. I have also conceded that amnesties are sometimes morally justified, indeed mandatory, for the sake of peace. Finally, in keeping with the cosmopolitan underpinnings of my account of war, I have defended a version of the principle of universal jurisdiction.

Throughout, I have claimed that punishing war wrongdoers is not merely justified as a matter of right: it is also a moral imperative, failure to respect which is, more deeply and at least prima facie, a failure properly to respect individuals’ human rights. It is in that sense that punishment is a key feature of a just peace simpliciter. At various junctures in this chapter, however, I have suggested that amnesties, and some processes of reconciliation, rather than or at least alongside punishment, might sometimes offer better prospects for a justifiedATC peace. I shall address reconciliation in ch. 9. Beforehand, however, we must consider the institutional conditions under which punitive justice, alongside its restitutive, reparative, and distributive counterparts, may justifiably be implemented and enforced.

 
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