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Weighing Lives in War$
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Jens David Ohlin, Larry May, and Claire Finkelstein

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198796176

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198796176.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 January 2022

The Dispensable Lives of Soldiers

The Dispensable Lives of Soldiers

(p.17) 1 The Dispensable Lives of Soldiers
Weighing Lives in War

Gabriella Blum

Oxford University Press

This chapter challenges the status-based distinction of the laws of war, calling instead for revised targeting doctrines that would place further limits on the killing of enemy soldiers. The chapter argues that the changing nature of wars and militaries casts doubts on the necessity of killing all enemy combatants indiscriminately. The chapter proposes two amendments. The first is a reinterpretation of the principle of distinction, suggesting that the status-based classification be complemented by a test of threat. The second is a reinterpretation of the principle of military necessity, introducing a least-harmful-means test, under which, whenever feasible, an alternative of capture or disabling of the enemy would be preferred to killing.

Keywords:   combatants, principle of distinction, status-based targeting, military necessity, least-harmful-means test

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