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Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law [MPEPIL]

Proportionality and Collateral Damage

Wolff Heintschel von Heinegg

Subject(s):
Geneva Conventions 1949 Additional Protocol 1 — Military objectives — Proportionality

Published under the auspices of the Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law under the direction of Rüdiger Wolfrum.

1 Other than in law enforcement operations, there is no general principle of proportionality applicable to the conduct of hostilities during an international or non-international armed conflict. The rules and principles of international humanitarian law themselves are the product of balancing humanity and military necessity . There are, however, some rules that explicitly require the parties to an armed conflict to apply a specific proportionality test, such as the prohibition of unnecessary suffering and superfluous injury, although the relationship between the...
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