The Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations
From Foes to Bedfellows: Reconciling
by Jean-Marc Coicaud and Jibecke Jönsson
his article aims to show how and why justice is, and should be, an integral part
of security, and why this relationship is important to address, especially in the
international context. It does so, first, by arguing that the current model of
international security, by disconnecting the quest for security from the pursuit of
justice, is self-defeating. As long as the contribution that justice can make to security
is overlooked, international order, let alone international security, will not be
achieved. Second, the article looks more closely at why and how justice is key to
security. Taking justice seriously in the context of international security is particularly
challenging because of the national bent, which states impose upon international
Third, the article points to a few measures that could help to better embed
security and justice at the international level. In this regard, while suggestions are
made for how international policymakers are to advance the idea of an international
rule of law, it is also pointed out how this development is to be paralleled by
continuous efforts to foster certain attitudes and values within people and societies
of the international community. Finally, questioning if today’s culture and decision-
makers are actually prone to truly dovetail justice and security, the article concludes
with some words of cautious optimism.
IMITS OF THE
Security is not simply a primary right, but it is the primary right of persons from
which all others derive, and on which all others depend.
It is the primary right that,
at least ideally, serves to protect the human right to life in a peaceful society.
of benefiting from security and peace, the very existence of persons is impeded—
their ability to subsist, develop, and flourish. In other words, “[l]asting peace is a
prerequisite for the exercise of all human rights and duties.”
Consider the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights. In its first article, it states that “[a]ll human beings are
born free and equal […]” and they “should act towards one another in a spirit of
brotherhood.” It is from the very outset acknowledged that the most fundamental of
human rights is conditioned by the relations that humans have to other humans.
heads the United Nations University (UNU) Office in New York. Previously,
he served as a speechwriter for former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, as well as a
senior academic officer in the Peace and Governance Program of the UNU in Tokyo. He is well
published in the fields of comparative politics, political theory, and international relations.