Corrective justice for the civilian victims of war: compensation and the right to life

  • Marcus Schulzke
  • Amanda Cortney Carroll
Original Article


The civilian right to life is a central concept in just war theory and international law. It plays an important role in restraining wars, as it is the basis for the principle of civilian immunity and the jus in bello principle of discrimination; yet, it is generally interpreted as only establishing a first-order duty, according to which belligerents must avoid harming civilians. In this essay, we argue that, in addition to this duty, the right to life also entails a second-order duty to compensate civilians whose right to life has been breached. We propose that states should have to pay compensatory damages to individual civilians harmed by their military actions and we discuss the standards of liability that can be used to determine when payment is owed.


civilians civilian immunity jus post bellum just war theory justice 



We would like to thank the editors of the Journal of International Relations and Development, as well as the anonymous referees, for their helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LeedsLeedsUK
  2. 2.University of LeedsLeedsUK

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