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Targeting Enemy Forces in the War on Terror: Preserving Civilian Immunity

PDF · Richard D. Rosen · Jul-11-2012 · 42 VAND. J. TRANSNAT'L L. 683 (2009)

Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the interpretation given to it by many in the international community (e.g., UN, NGOs, media) provide perverse incentives to terrorist and insurgent groups to shield their military activities behind civilians and their property.  In other words, the law governing targeting is fundamentally defective; it allows terrorist and insurgent groups to gain strategic and tactical advantages through their own noncompliance with the law and their adversaries’ observance of it.  The consequence has been increasing noncompliance with the law and growing civilian casualties.  This Article proposes structural changes to the law governing targeting and attitudinal changes by those who interpret it to ensure that civilians receive adequate security from armed attack.




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