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Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law [MPEPIL]

Military Necessity

Yoram Dinstein†

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 22 May 2024

Necessity — Armed conflict — Geneva Conventions 1949 — Military necessity — Weapons — Military matters

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 Military necessity has been authoritatively defined by an American Military Tribunal in the 1948 Hostage Case (part of the ‘Subsequent Proceedings’ at Nuremberg) as follows: Military necessity permits a belligerent, subject to the laws of war, to apply any amount and kind of force to compel the complete submission of the enemy with the least possible expenditure of time, life, and money. (At 1253) 2 In the final analysis, the law of international armed conflict is a product of reconciliation between demands of military necessity and humanitarian considerations....
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