International Law Studies


This article addresses complex law of armed conflict (LOAC) issues posed by a scenario with eight “situations” examined during a tabletop workshop conducted by the U.S. Naval War College’s Stockton Center for International Law. Participants included judge advocates from the United States and uniformed legal advisors from Israel, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, all of whom had extensive experience providing legal advice on targeting. Also included were academics with particular expertise in the law of armed conflict. The situations were drafted to reflect situations some of the participants had faced in international or non-international armed conflict.

The scenario involves an armed conflict between two fictional States and separate hostilities between one of those States and an organized armed group. The issues include the targeting of dual-use facilities and objects, membership in organized armed groups, direct participation by civilians, human shields, urban warfare, cyber operations, and application of the proportionality rule and the requirement to take precautions in attack. While the analysis and positions discussed do not necessarily represent the legal position of any State or individual participant, they are designed to afford readers a glimpse into how scholars and experienced practitioners, working together, might address the situations raised in the scenario.