Targeting Enemy Forces in the War on Terror: Preserving Civilian Immunity
96 Pages Posted: 29 May 2009 Last revised: 11 May 2010
Date Written: May 26, 2009
Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the interpretation given to it by many in the international community (e.g., UN, NGOs, media) provide perverse incentives to terrorist and insurgent groups to shield their military activities behind civilians and their property. In other words, the law governing targeting is fundamentally defective; it affords terrorist and insurgent groups strategic and tactical advantages from their own noncompliance with the law and their adversaries’ observance of it. The consequence has been increasing noncompliance with the law and growing civilian casualties. This article proposes structural changes to the law governing targeting and attitudinal changes by those who interpret it to ensure civilians receive adequate security from armed attack.
Keywords: international humanitarian law, law of war, Geneva Conventions, targeting, terrorism, human shields, Hague Regulations
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation