Selen Şen: Institutionalizing Peace in International Relations (Bilgi University, Istanbul)

Today, in the lecture of Comparative Politics Mohammad Jafar Amir Mahallati who is currently Presidential Scholar in Islamic Studies at the Religion Department of Oberlin College, gave me an impression about the concept of peace and peacemaking by institutionalize the concept of peace.

Three elements of peace are really important for understanding how religion plays an important role to provide “Durable Peace”. These concepts are the “ethics of war”, “ethics of forgiveness” and “ethics of friendship”.

Firstly, the ethics of war which is limiting the scope of war institutionalized by the three rubrics: “jus ad bellum”, “jus in bello”, and “post bellum” at the international relations.

Jus ad bellum means the causes and goals of war, you need to be proportionate to other party, you need to have right authority, and also right intention.

Jus in bello means conduct of war, it includes the Prisoners of War (POW) which means that the Soldier must wear uniform or put a band on his arm to indicate that he is a soldier otherwise, the hostile party can attack the civilians. Therefore, All these rules of POW actually imply the institutionalization of the ethics of war.

When we look at the Post bellum means treatment of occupied lands. It is like a guideline for ethics after the war. The other institutionalization of ethics of war is United Nations Hague Tribunal For War Crimes and Nobel Peace Prize.

Secondly, ethics of apology and forgiveness are the concepts which become trend phenomenon todays. In the Lecture we focused on the examples of the States apologize from the historical violations of the others. For instance, we dealt with the Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe apologize: “We must not let our children, grandchildren, and even further generations to come, who have nothing to do with the war, be predestined to apologize. Even so, we Japanese, across generations, must squarely face history. We have a responsibility to inherit the past, in all humbleness, and pass it on to the future.” [1] This example explains that the concept of ethics of apology and forgiveness became popular discourse and institutionalized in the international relations.

Finally, ethics of friendship is the other significant concept of the international relations. The word friendship at the political bases includes tolerance and credibility among the states. It is mostly provided and institutionalized by the International Organizations such as United Nations or Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) or States compromise among each other.

Aristotle emphasizes the importance of ethics of friendship by saying: “when men are friends they have no need of justice, while when they’re just they need friendship as well.” Although that’s not means justice is not important, friendship is more important than justice.

Selen Şen

Istanbul Bilgi University, European Union Department