The Law on Asymmetric Warfare

Looking to the Future: Essays on International Law in Honor of W. Michael Reisman, Mahnoush H. Arsanjani, ed., 2010

21 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2012 Last revised: 12 Aug 2012

See all articles by Eyal Benvenisti

Eyal Benvenisti

University of Cambridge - Lauterpacht Centre for International Law

Date Written: January 1, 2010

Abstract

The traditional law of armed conflict was carefully designed to align the incentives of parties engaged in a symmetric type of warfare. But asymmetric warfare against non-state actors is fundamentally different, and therefore requires a distinct set of substantive norms as well as different modalities of enforcement. The law of asymmetric warfare must eschew the traditional distinction between jus ad bellum and jus in bello, and instead demand that the powerful actor acknowledge its normative and institutional obligations toward civilians exposed to its military might. The discretion it has under the law, inter alia, to prevent excessive harm to civilians and to decide which precautions to take before an attack must be subjected to a reliable system of scrutiny which the essay outlines.

Suggested Citation

Benvenisti, Eyal, The Law on Asymmetric Warfare (January 1, 2010). Looking to the Future: Essays on International Law in Honor of W. Michael Reisman, Mahnoush H. Arsanjani, ed., 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2123883

Eyal Benvenisti (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge - Lauterpacht Centre for International Law ( email )

10 West Road
Cambridge, CB3 9DZ
United Kingdom

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