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Look Inside The Military Commander's Necessity

The Military Commander's Necessity
The Law of Armed Conflict and its Limits

  • Publication planned for: November 2019
  • availability: Not yet published - available from November 2019
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108493925


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About the Authors
  • The idea of military necessity lies at the centre of the law of armed conflict and yet it is less than fully understood. This book analyses which legal limits govern the commander's assessment of military necessity, and argues that military necessity itself is not a limitation. Military necessity calls for a highly discretionary exercise: the assessment. Yet, there is little guidance as to how this discretionary process should be exercised, apart from the notions of 'a reasonable military commander'. A reasonable assessment of 'excessive' civilian losses are presumed to be almost intuitive. Objective standards for determining excessive civilian losses are difficult to identify, particularly when that 'excessiveness' will be understood in relative terms. The perpetual question arises: are civilian losses acceptable if the war can be won? The result is a heavy burden of assessment placed on the shoulders of the military commander.

    • Offers a comprehensive contemporary analysis of the legal function of military necessity in the international humanitarian law of armed conflict, distinguishing military necessity from other legal concepts
    • Presents the legal limits to the military commander's assessment of military necessity during conduct of hostilities and makes the application of the abstract legal concept of military necessity more concrete and exemplified for armed forces
    • Discusses the balance between the commander's room for subjective manoeuvre with objective limits to their assessment of military necessity, showing how both a commander's margin of appreciation and objective legal limits are indispensable and intertwined
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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: November 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108493925
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 mm
    • availability: Not yet published - available from November 2019
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    Part I. Concept, History and Basics:
    2. Elements of military necessity
    3. Military necessity and a historical outset
    4. Assessing military necessity through a military margin of appreciation
    5. Assessing necessity and criminal responsibility
    6. Military necessity and humanitarian considerations
    Part II. Distinction as Limitation Upon Military Necessity in the Law of Armed Conflict:
    7. The principle of distinction: also a limitation upon military necessity
    8. Military objects
    9. Combatants as lawful targets
    10. Military necessity and the notion of 'lawful combatancy'
    11. Who are civilians and when do they lose their protection?
    Part III. Effectuating Distinction – Enforcing an Ultimate Balance Between Necessities of War and Considerations of Humanity:
    12. Protection of the civilian population and perceptions of military necessity
    13. Military necessity and proportionality
    14. Military necessity and the scope and nature of military advantage
    15. The commanders ultimate 'margins': assessing excessiveness and feasibility
    Part IV. The Exceptive Face of Military Necessity:
    16. Destruction and seizure of property when military necessity requires
    17. Military necessity and rules on special protection
    Part V: Conclusions:
    18. Conclusions – limitations to the commander's assessment of military necessity

  • Author

    Sigrid Redse Johansen, Norwegian Defence University College
    Sigrid Redse Johansen is Judge Advocate General of Norway. In this capacity she is both the Director General of Military Prosecutions leading the military prosecutors and advisor to the Chief of Defence in cases and matters concerning criminal law, criminal procedure and summary punishment. She was previously an associate professor and lecturer in international and operational law at the Norwegian Defence Command and Staff College, where she was responsible for teaching programmes in the Law of Armed Conflict. She has also practised as an attorney at law, acting as defence counsel for the accused in criminal cases in the district courts, courts of appeal and before the Supreme Court of Norway.

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