On 26 November 2018, the ICRC and the University of Laval invite leading experts for an interactive panel discussion to launch their recent report on 'The Principle of Proportionality in the Rules Governing the Conduct of Hostilities under International Humanitarian Law'.
In today's armed conflicts, fighting increasingly takes place in populated areas where incidental harm is likely to occur due to the co-location and intermingling of lawful targets and protected persons and objects. In these situations, the principle of proportionality is becoming ever more crucial. It prohibits attacks which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.
The existence of the principle of proportionality is undisputed and applied daily by military commanders. Yet, its key concepts have been subject to intense debate: What constitutes the 'concrete and direct military advantage' of an attack? Which types of incidental harm have to be considered? And when is the expected incidental harm excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage?
Bringing together military, academic, and humanitarian experts, the interactive panel discussion – moderated by ICRC Director of Law and Policy, Dr. Helen Durham – will present diverse views on how this cornerstone principle of international humanitarian law is understood and applied in practice.
Simultaneously to the launch event in Geneva, the ICRC's Delegation in Israel and the Occupied Territories, together with the Minerva Centre for Human Rights, will host an event in Tel Aviv, Israel.