On 24 June, the Reformed Church in the Dutch city of Apeldoorn held a conference on “Just peace, just war?” The organisers of the conference had invited Ted van Baarda, Nigel Biggar (United Kingdom) and Marco Hofheinz (Germany) to speak to an audience which was well-informed on just war theory and the role of church leaders therein.

One of the key issues which emerged was the extent to which Christian officers have their own responsibility, both the level of the ius ad bellum as well as the ius in bello.

apeldoorn

In his presentation, Ted van Baarda focussed on the criterion of the right intent; he reminded the audience that the right intent is not only pertinent to ius ad bellum, but also to the ius in bello. He illustrated the point by discussing in detail the scene from the film Saving Private Ryan, where a soldier attempts to rescue a little girl from a ruined house – to what extent did the soldier demonstrate right intent?