This article analyses the role and content of proportionality under contemporary international law governing the use of force, with a view to clarifying the legal framework governing the conduct of the parties to an armed conflict. In the system of jus ad bellum, protection is primarily granted to the interest of the attacked state in repelling the attack; the other competing interests are considered only to curtail the choice of the means to be employed in order to achieve that aim. Conversely, in the system of jus in bello there is by definition no prevailing interest, but instead a variety of interests and values which are entitled to equal protection of the law and must be balanced against each other. The existence of two distinct normative systems, with distinct standards of legality applicable to the same conduct, does not as a rule give rise to major problems. The legality of recourse to force is measured against the proportionality of self-defence, whereas individual actions would have to conform to the requirement of proportionality in jus in bello. However, beyond the large area in which these two standards overlap, there might be situations in which the strict application of the jus ad bellum standard makes it impossible to achieve the aims of jus in bello. In these cases, the proportionality test under jus in bello must be regarded as part of the proportionality test under jus ad bellum. States must thus take humanitarian implications into account in determining the level of security they may seek to obtain using military action.
Discusses theory of proportionality in responding to aggression in international affairs, between nation-states and in dealing with terrorists who do not recognize international law; focus on Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Liability, proportionality, and the number of aggressors -- The lesser evil obligation -- Human rights, proportionality, and the lives of soldiers -- Resolving the responsibility dilemma -- Duress and duty -- Can states be corporately liable to attack in war? -- Targeting Al Qaeda: law and morality in the us war on terror -- Adil Ahmad Haque -- Double effect and the laws of war -- Beyond the paradigm of self-defense? on revolutionary violence -- War's endings and the structure of just war theory -- Moral recovery after war: the role of hope
This article analyses the jus in bello proportionality standard under international humanitarian law to assist judge advocates and practitioners in achieving a measure of clarity as to what constitutes 'excessive' collateral damage when planning or executing an attack on a legitimate military objective when incidental harm to civilians is expected. Applying international humanitarian law, the author analyses existing US practice to evidence the need for states to adopt further institutional mechanisms and methodologies to clarify targeting principles and proportionality assessments. A subjective-objective standard for determining 'excessive' collateral damage is proposed, along with a seven-step targeting methodology that is readily applicable to the US, and all other state and non-state actors engaged in the conduct of hostilities.