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Crimes involving disproportionate means and methods of warfare under the statute of the International Criminal Court

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Chapter Summary

This chapter provides a short background to the emergence of the concept of proportionality and the form it now takes in the rules of international humanitarian law (IHL). It presents a detailed analysis of the material elements and mens rea of the crimes derived from the general prohibition on the use of disproportionate means and methods of combat in the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). In relation to this question of mens rea, the chapter focuses on the crime of disproportionate attacks involving civilians, civilian objects and the environment. Modern IHL limits the effects of warfare for both civilians and combatants. The concept of proportionality, along with restraints derived from humanity and chivalry, plays a pivotal role in this process. The Statute of the ICC confers jurisdiction on the Court for war crimes.

Keywords: disproportionate warfare; International Criminal Court (ICC); international humanitarian law (IHL); mens rea; war crimes



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