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Collateral Damage: A Dangerous Omission In The Law Of Armed Conflicts

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Chapter Summary

This chapter provides a brief commentary on the concept of 'collateral damage' in the context of the Law of Armed Conflict and recommend that 'collateral damage' be criminalized and designated an international crime. The term 'collateral damage' refers to the killing of persons, who are civilians or non-combatants. The Law of Armed Conflict draws a distinction between legitimate and illegitimate targets via the notion of a threat. According to Ronald Munson, as a general rule, four conditions must be satisfied before the doctrine of double effect is applied. First, it must be objectively demonstrated that the action that results in a collateral damage itself is morally indifferent or morally good. Second, the bad effect is the means by which the good effect is achieved. Third, the motive is the achievement of the good effect only and, fourth, the good effect is at least equivalent in importance to the bad effect.

Keywords: collateral damage; international crime; Law of Armed Conflicts



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