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Just war

"Just war" is a term to characterise a war as being permissible according to a set of moral or legal rules. The rules applied may be ethical, religious, or formal (such as international law). The rules classically cover the justification for the war (Jus Ad Bellum) and the conduct of the participants in the war (Jus In Bello).

Just war theory has ancient roots. Cicero discussed this idea and its applications. St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas later codified a set of rules for a just war, which today still encompass the points commonly debated, with some modifications.

In modern language, these rules hold that to be just, a war must meet the following criteria before the use of force:

Once war has begun, just war theory also directs how combatants are to act:

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