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Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law [MPEPIL]

Indiscriminate Attack

Christine Bell, Julia Pfeiffer

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 17 July 2024

Armed conflict, non-international — Military assistance — Necessity — Combatants — Conduct of hostilities — Weapons

Published under the auspices of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law under the direction of Professor Anne Peters (2021–) and Professor Rüdiger Wolfrum (2004–2020). 

1 The concept of indiscriminate attack is based on two principles: first on the principle of distinction between lawful and unlawful targets that runs through international humanitarian law in general; and second on the principle of proportionality.2 The difference between indiscriminate and direct attacks against protected objectives is that in direct attacks the attacker is deliberately trying to target civilians (Civilian Population in Armed Conflict), whereas an indiscriminate attack implies that the attacker is indifferent as to whether the targets are...
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