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Expert Judgments on Proportionality in War

When: Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at 12:00 - 14:00

Professor Raanan Sulitzeanu-Kenan, ‘Proportionality Judgments in War

A particularly dreadful and morally reprehensible consequence of war is the harm caused to civilians. The protection provided international humanitarian law relies on two fundamental principles: (a) Civilians ought never to be intentionally targeted; and (b) Although civilians may be harmed as a side effect of legitimate attacks on military targets, the harm they suffer must not be disproportionate. It is widely accepted that implementation of the proportionality principle provides reliable policy guidance as to whether military attacks involving potential collateral harm to civilians may, or may not be carried out. These assumptions, however, have never been empirically tested. This paper presents the results of three experiments, involving an international sample of academic experts in in-bello proportionality (N=289), a bi-national sample of military officers (N=234), and a representative sample of the US population (N=960), which shed light on the reliability of proportionality judgments.

Professor Raanan Sulitzeanu-Kenan, PhD (Oxon) directs the Federmann School of Public Policy at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He is an original researcher in behavioral and experimental politics ( ).  Pieter Vanhuysse will chair the lecture