Darf der Staat doch Unschuldige opfern?

Gerhard Beestermöller
2008 S+F. Sicherheit und Frieden. Security and Peace  
Could shooting down a plane, killing its innocent passengers and potentially also people on the ground, ever be warranted if this were the only way to prevent a terrorist attack? This article considers an argument that compares these killings with the compulsory conscription of soldiers. If the state is permitted to send its citizens to war knowing that many will be killed in action, then it cannot be absolutely illegitimate to shoot down a plane. However, a state is only authorized to
more » ... its own citizens. On the basis of this comparison, it is therefore only legitimate for a state to shoot down a plane in such a situation if it can be certain that no foreigners will be killed in the plane or on the ground, which is highly unlikely. Furthermore, while conscription is only permitted if the state does not select citizens on the basis of their personal preferences, the likelihood of one's sitting on a plane very much does depend on personal preferences. Above all, sending soldiers to war is only justifi able if the war is legitimate. If a soldier fi ghting for a just cause is killed, he has suffered an act of injustice; a violation of his human rights has been committed by the unjust attacker. Thus, while a state might be permitted to expose its soldiers to deadly unjust violence, a state is never allowed to commit an abuse of human rights itself.
doi:10.5771/0175-274x-2008-1-38 fatcat:kt4jqthmrnfmdkkkv6sm5aqq6q