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Military Necessity and Humanity in International Humanitarian Law: Preserving the Delicate Balance

  • Michael N. SchmittEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter examines the international humanitarian law (IHL) principles of military necessity and humanity. It argues that the two principles undergird the entire body of IHL. Therefore, each individual IHL rule represents a delicate balance fashioned by States to accommodate both their legitimate need to be able to fight effectively on the battlefield and their desire to avoid unnecessary harm to combatants and the civilian population. However, the principles do not constitute norms which apply in addition to the existing rules, whether customary or conventional in nature. To interpret them in this manner would skew the balance upon which States have agreed.

Keywords

Supra Note Armed Conflict Geneva Convention Additional Protocol Military Necessity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Abbreviations

AI

Amnesty International

CCW

Convention on Conventional Weapons

HRW

Human Rights Watch

ICC

International Criminal Court

ICJ

International Court of Justice

ICRC

International Committee of the Red Cross

ICTY

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

IED

Improvised explosive device

IHL

International humanitarian law

NGO

Non-governmental organization

US

United States of America

UN

United Nations

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Copyright information

© T.M.C. ASSER PRESS, The Hague, The Netherlands, and the authors 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.United States Naval War CollegeNewportUSA

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