A Critical Appraisal of the Air and Missile Warfare Manual

16 Pages Posted: 19 May 2012

See all articles by Jordan J. Paust

Jordan J. Paust

University of Houston Law Center

Date Written: May 18, 2012


The purpose of this writing is to offer a critical appraisal of the Manual on International Law Applicable to Air and Missile Warfare. Although the Manual was adopted by consensus after “extensive consultations” among a notable group of experts over a five-year period and allegedly “restates current applicable law,” there are a number of provisions that do not reflect current international law (including especially the laws of war), are highly problematic and, if actually implemented, could result in war crime responsibility. Additionally, there are a number of provisions that are too limiting in their reach or focus or inattentive to developments in the laws of war and the law of self-defense, especially concerning the general immunity of civilians and civilian objects from attack, the prohibition of unnecessary and indiscriminate targetings, the binding reach of the laws of war to United Nations forces, and the prohibition of all terroristic targetings. It is hoped that the Manual will be substantially revised to avoid such problems.

Keywords: Air and Missile Warfare Manual, aircraft, AMWM, attack, belligerent, civilians, combatant, direct participation, DPH, Geneva Protocol, International armed conflict, Kriegsraison, law of war, military objective, proportionality, self-defense, terrorism, weapons

Suggested Citation

Paust, Jordan J., A Critical Appraisal of the Air and Missile Warfare Manual (May 18, 2012). 47 Texas International Law Journal 277 (2012), U of Houston Law Center No. 2012-A-11, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2062568

Jordan J. Paust (Contact Author)

University of Houston Law Center ( email )

4604 Calhoun Road
Houston, TX 77204-6060
United States

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