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Shooting to KillThe Ethics of Police and Military Use of Lethal Force$
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Seumas Miller

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190626136

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190626136.001.0001

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Humanitarian Armed Intervention

Humanitarian Armed Intervention

(p.212) 8 Humanitarian Armed Intervention
Shooting to Kill

Seumas Miller

Oxford University Press

In this chapter it is argued that humanitarian armed intervention in relation to large-scale human rights violations is in some cases morally justified (e.g., the Rwanda genocide), and that intervention is best understood as a collective moral responsibility. Moreover, collective moral responsibility is to be understood as the joint moral responsibility of individual human actors. Here two notions are utilized: multilayered structures of joint actions and joint institutional mechanisms. It is further argued that humanitarian armed intervention can, at least in principle, be morally justified in the case where there is large-scale violation of (basic) positive rights (e.g., subsistence rights). This is the case, even if it is held that a single individual would not be morally justified in using lethal force against someone violating his or her (basic) positive rights. The critical difference is the scale of the rights violations.

Keywords:   humanitarian armed intervention, collective moral responsibility, joint omissions, positive rights, layered structures of joint action, joint institutional mechanisms, Rwanda genocide

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