Another silly season post: The Law of War and The Lord of the Rings
by Sarah Joseph
So this is a “storify”, basically a collated bunch of tweets from the night of 21/12 (not the end of the world as we know it) upon watching those war-loving men, elves, hobbits, orcs, wizards, goblins, trolls and dwarves in The Return of the King. Following is a discussion of the applicability of the Laws of War to Middle Earth … and a little bit more.
Actually, there is a doctrine known as Kriegsraison that does adopt an “anything goes” approach to war. And the Jacksonian school of US foreign policy seems to adopt the same theory with a twist: Americans can do as they like. Both theories are legally wrong.
@AndrewRiddle36 the environmental harms clearly infringe Additional Protocol I
Jus in bello is the law of armed conflict ie what one is allowed and not allowed to do in an armed conflict (eg said catapulting of severed heads is not allowed). Jus ad bellum regulates the actual use of force. I was presuming here that Mordor was in fact the initial aggressor. But things are often more complex, as noted by latenight journalist Andrew Riddle.
@profsarahj You can’t be sure of that. The origins of the conflict take place offscreen.
Hmm. Maybe “the world of men” concocted this war because (a) they really like fighting due to maturity issues and delusions of grandeur, and (b) this is effectively a trade war as hinted by the perceptive Mr Whalan. Clearly Middle Earth has no World Trade Organisation for the peaceful (if sometimes unsatisfactory) resolution of trade disputes.
@profsarahj What about the use of giant elephants as vehicles of war?
So there you have it. Gandalf, Frodo and the evil (and pompous) elves fled genocide charges at the International Criminal Tribunal for Middle Earth. Note that it’s no defence to argue that the orcs themselves were war criminals (eg catapulting severed heads etc).
This hereditary king thing is a breach of Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights. #LOTR
A quick segue here into international human rights law. There is probably an exception for modern day constitutional monarchies but not some dude turning up, claiming absolute power just coz he’s the son of Arathorn…. and finally a word on the bizarre tactics in this war.
Why didn’t Sauron just station an immoveable platoon at the Crack of Doom? #idiot#LOTR stupid eye!