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Ethics, Command Responsibility and Dilemmas in Military Operations

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Chapter Summary

This chapter starts with some observations which touch briefly on the "why-question". It looks at the moral aspects of some specific problems that a commander might face, such as command responsibility, the proportional use of force, targeting, combat and the blurred distinction between combatants and non-combatants. The chapter examines the "how-question". There is a big difference between the "how-question" and the "why-question". The tragedies associated with names such as Srebrenica, Bihać, Kigali and others evoke more profound questions about the personal significance of the military profession. A subject that typically lies at the juncture of leadership, ethics and law concerns the commander's responsibility to ensure that the actions of his men are in line with the accepted norms and values. The lack of care in developing and executing humanitarian plans by the Russian commanders adds to the Court's criticism.

Keywords: Combatants; command responsibility; military profession; Russian commanders; Srebrenica



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