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Grotius And The Origin Of The Ruler’s Right To Punish

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Chapter Summary

Both in his De iure praedae commentarius and his De iure belli ac pacis Hugo Grotius distinguishes several causes of a just war. One of them is punishment, which will be the central focus of this chapter. The chapter deals with Grotius's ideas on the origin of the right to punish and on punishment as a causa belli as being part of a constitutional theory, to be grasped from his legal and theological texts. The competence of a state, or a ruler, to fight a penal war against another state or actor on the international level, rests on the same fundaments as the competence of a state to use the sword against its own subjects. In conclusion we can say that Grotius's ideas on the origin of the ruler's right to punish as set out in De iure praedae come close to those of John Locke some decades later.

Keywords: Hugo Grotius; John Locke; ruler's right

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