The foundational international humanitarian law rule of proportionality — that parties to an armed conflict may not attack where civilian harm would be excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage — is normally interpreted to encompass civilian physical injuries only. Attacks may cause significant mental harms also, yet current interpretations of the law lag behind science in understanding and recognizing these kinds of harms. This article analyzes legal, public health, psychology, and neuroscience research to assess the extent to which mental health harms should and could be taken into account in proportionality assessments.
International Humanitarian Law | International Law | Law
Sarah Knuckey, Alex Moorehead, Audrey McCalley & Adam Brown,
The Proportionality Rule and Mental Health Harm in War,
Necessity and Proportionality in International Peace and Security Law, Claus Kreß & Robert Lawless (Eds.), Oxford University Press
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/faculty_scholarship/4321