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Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law [MPEPIL]

Proportionality and Collateral Damage

Wolff Heintschel von Heinegg

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved.date: 03 August 2021

Geneva Conventions 1949 Additional Protocol 1 — Military objectives — Proportionality

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 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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