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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, 2015. All Rights Reserved.date: 29 October 2020

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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