Teaching Morality in Armed Conflict - the Israel Defence Forces Model

17 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2005 Last revised: 6 Feb 2013

See all articles by Amos N. Guiora

Amos N. Guiora

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law

Date Written: August 1, 2005


The traditional concept of war between States has been replaced by armed conflict between States and non-State actors, some State supported. The non-State actors are terrorists who do not wear uniforms, have insignias nor carry their weapons openly as the Geneva Convention requires soldiers to do.

In the contemporary battlefield, civilians are omnipresent; they are dressed like the terrorist who in clear violation of international law, uses them as human shields.

The soldier, as required by international law, must distingiush between the combatant and the non-combatant. Furthermore, international law requires the soldier to make every effort to minimize collateral damage. In addition, soldiers must also conduct themselves morally in armed conflict.

In response to these twin obligations - international law and requirements of morality in armed conflict - the Israel Defence Forces developed an eleven point code of conduct based on international law, Israeli law and an IDF code. The code of conduct is taught via an interactive video developed by the IDF School of Military Law. The video includes clips from relevant Hollywood movies, high-tech graphics and scenarios taken from real-live events.

The article examines and analyzes how an army trains and educates its soldiers and junior commanders on issues related to international law and morality.

Keywords: Morality, Military Education, Responsibility, Commander, Role Model, Military Culture, International Law, Collateral Damage, Combatants

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Guiora, Amos N., Teaching Morality in Armed Conflict - the Israel Defence Forces Model (August 1, 2005). Case Legal Studies Research Paper No. 05-24, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=783985 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.783985

Amos N. Guiora (Contact Author)

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )

383 S. University Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States
801-581-4295 (Phone)
801-581-6897 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.utah.edu/profiles/default.asp?PersonID=6581&name=Guiora,Amos..

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