How Much is Too Much? An Examination of the Principle of Jus in Bello Proportionality
Israel Defense Forces Law Review, Vol. 2, 2005-2006
63 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2006
The Principle of Proportionality, codified in Protocol I Additional to the Geneva Conventions, defines as disproportionate any attack in which the incidental damage to civilians is excessive in relation to the military advantage anticipated from the attack. However, it is close to impossible to pinpoint exactly what is meant by "excessive." This writer posits that this vagueness is not a coincidence, but rather a tool, serving the purposes of attacking states. It is argued that international legal discourse blurs this definition, and this is demonstrated with reference to NATO's operations in Kosovo. It is submitted that, despite this, it would be beneficial to define this requirement more clearly, and a way in which this could be accomplished is suggested.
Keywords: International Law, Geneva additional protocol, target selection, targeting, proportionality, International humanitarian law
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