Law and Philosophy

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 243–267 | Cite as

The Lesser Evil Dilemma for Sparing Civilians

  • Yitzhak BenbajiEmail author


The rule I call ‘Civilian Immunity’ – the rule that prohibits targeting civilians in war – is the heart of the accepted jus in bello code. It prohibits targeting (viz., intentionally killing) civilians in a wide variety of war circumstances. Seth Lazar's brilliant book, Sparing Civilians, attempts to defend Civilian Immunity. In this essay I show, first, that his ‘Risky-Killing based argument’ fails to provide civilians with the robust protection Sparing Civilians promises. I argue, secondly, that the moral framework that Sparing Civilians employs, a moral framework that centralizes the Deontological Clause (stating that one's intentional killing is worse than enabling others to kill), leaves the immunity of civilians against Leaders unexplained.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael

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