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Questions tagged [rules-of-war]

Questions about international conventions regulating warfare.

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5 answers
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Is it common to win a war with a strictly defensive posture? [closed]

Ukraine has strong restrictions on the use of the military equipment provided by "the West", notably the fact that they must be only used as a defensive measure. Russia's targets are varied ...
WoJ's user avatar
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11 votes
3 answers
1k views

Examples of military operations that Israel could have followed after October 7?

Many of those who have little tolerance for Hamas, or even agree that it should be dismantled, still disagree with the way Israel is doing it. While the shortcomings/evils of the Israeli actions in ...
Morisco's user avatar
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18 votes
5 answers
6k views

What is exactly the issue with Russia using North Korean missiles?

Reading Ukraine is 'test site' for N. Korean missiles -S. Korea The United States and its allies on Wednesday condemned what they described as Russia's firing of North Korean missiles at Ukraine, ...
Mocas's user avatar
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6 votes
4 answers
2k views

Are there laws about conflating civilians and fighters in a conflict?

Breaking the Silence is an Israeli NGO "of veteran soldiers who have served in the Israeli military". They say in this X thread that the killing by mistake of three Israeli hostages on the ...
Erwan's user avatar
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9 votes
6 answers
11k views

Why isn't bombing cities under any circumstance a war crime? Same applies to launching attacks from cities

While there are rules in place, I think within the Geneva Conventions, regarding the protection of civilian infrastructure, the legal interpretation and application can vary. Deliberately targeting ...
Mocas's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
201 views

Does international law hold an Army accountable for killings done by other groups during a military attack?

Consider a situation where a country is partially occupied by another. An army unit strikes across a border town of the occupying force. Their military objective is to destroy an enemy defensive unit, ...
sfxedit's user avatar
  • 9,497
28 votes
6 answers
8k views

How easy would it be to distinguish between Hamas fighters and non combatants?

I remember this discussion that it was practically impossible to distinguish between Taliban fighters and non-combatant civilians because they were not organized like a traditional army - the groups ...
wi2ard's user avatar
  • 389
9 votes
3 answers
416 views

What methods do experts use to determine if civilian casualties in a conflict are excessive (or not)?

I read (recently) for example that: Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) [...] stressed that such ...
got trolled too much this week's user avatar
-1 votes
2 answers
4k views

Why do obvious humanitarian issues need to be voted on by members of the United Nations Security Council?

According to the UN website, UN has the following functions and powers: to maintain international peace and security in accordance with the principles and purposes of the United Nations; to determine ...
C.F.G's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
1k views

How can Israeli compliance with the Geneva Conventions be tracked in Gaza in the coming weeks?

Article 51 of Protocol I to the Geneva Convention, (protocol to which Israel is not a signatory) puts the following constraints on attacks in civilian areas: Article 51 — Protection of the civilian ...
Italian Philosophers 4 Monica's user avatar
13 votes
9 answers
5k views

Is there any historical evidence of conventional (non-guerilla) warfare techniques defeating hybrid guerilla warfare cost-efficiently?

Pardon my lack of warfare jargon. Modernization of warfare in the last 3-4 centuries including the use of mobile artillery, tanks, mortars, etc., and relative/approximating implementation of the ...
lousycoder's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
4k views

According to each of Russia and Ukraine, are Russia and Ukraine officially at war with each other?

My understanding is that while both countries are "obviously" at war, neither country has officially declared war on each other. So, according to each of (1) Russia and (2) Ukraine, are they ...
user103496's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
328 views

Is there a process for certifying that a signatory to Geneva conventions is a bad-faith signatory?

Geneva conventions create a different (greater) set of obligations, by signatory states, towards the other signatory states than they do towards the non-signatory ones. This creates an incentive for ...
wrod's user avatar
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4 votes
3 answers
455 views

How effective are lawyers and NGOs (like Soldiers Mothers, Peaceplea and Conscript's School) in securing the rights of the mobilized in Russia?

After the start of the first mobilizations in Russia, a couple of organisations were created to help mobilized people to either escape military service or acquire them non-combat roles: https://...
Apoliticalboy's user avatar
29 votes
3 answers
8k views

Based on International law, to what extent can Ukraine take aggressive military action within the territory of Russia?

I wonder, based on international law, if Ukraine takes aggressive military action in the territory of Russia, such as occupying some cities of Russia (I am not considering Donbas, Luhansk and Crimea ...
No One's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
265 views

Would it be possible for NATO to intercept russian cruise missiles over the Ukraine from NATO airspace, and avoid becoming a party of the war? [closed]

In media reports and discussions, the impossibility of a no-fly zone was discussed since the current (2022) war in Ukraine started. Basically, a no-fly zone would entail NATO jets shooting down ...
Dohn Joe's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
1k views

The legality of bombing an embassy

During the bombing of Serbia, the Chinese embassy was bombed by US forces using five GPS-guided bombs. Although the US claimed that it was an accident, many believed that it was because the US aimed ...
Faito Dayo's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
1k views

What is "proportionate response" in international relations?

I have seen in quite a few answers here, and in general on the internet about the theory of "proportionate response" - in context of activities that nations do against other nations. I'd ...
whoisit's user avatar
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5 votes
4 answers
468 views

Will Ukraine jeopardize its position as a country waging a war of self-defense if it attacks deep inside Russian territory? [closed]

The U.S. and some European countries have not provided Ukraine with long-range weapons capable of striking inside Russian borders. The official reason for the hesitancy is to prevent any further ...
Geo's user avatar
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4 votes
3 answers
368 views

Prisoner of war exchange against their will

In some conflicts exchanges of prisoners of war happen during the conflict, and this acts as an additional incentive for taking prisoners instead of killing enemy troops. However, in certain cases ...
Peteris's user avatar
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7 votes
3 answers
1k views

Is it ever legal for an army to target civilians?

I'm just the average Joe here with no knowledge of wars or politics, so please bear with my simple question. I've been watching the news in Ukraine and there's something I cannot understand. I see day-...
Joe DiNottra's user avatar
1 vote
5 answers
574 views

Can a country declare all its mercenaries as its soldiers?

Ukraine hopes to save foreign soldiers sentenced to death, says lawmaker Britain has condemned the sentencing of the fighters as an "egregious breach" of the Geneva Convention, under which ...
Allure's user avatar
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18 votes
2 answers
4k views

Does the Geneva Convention with respect to prisoners of war apply to mercenaries?

There are people of different nationalities fighting as part of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the current ongoing conflict. If they are captured, would the Geneva Convention's principles on giving ...
Schwarz Kugelblitz's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
403 views

What are the safeguards, set by the US military, to reduce the risk of committing war crimes?

I am talking here about war crimes committed by individuals or units (i.e., not representing a deliberate government/military policy), such as, e.g., the My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam war. One ...
Morisco's user avatar
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-4 votes
4 answers
639 views

What arguments do Russia-critics offer to support their view that Russia is committing genocide?

Following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, many critics of Russia have argued that this war is a genocide against the Ukranian people. I don't feel the need to provide any evidence for this, but ...
Dukie's user avatar
  • 351
4 votes
3 answers
870 views

Are military units marching in military parades considered military or civilian targets?

Russian Federation is widely expected to conduct its annual military parade on May 9th. The parade traditionally takes places on the Red Square with many "military units" marching over a ...
wrod's user avatar
  • 9,502
-1 votes
2 answers
781 views

Why doesn't Russia assassinate Zelenskyy with a rocket? [closed]

Remember Dzhokhar Dudaev? He led the Chechens during their first uprising against Russia in die 90s and was assassinated by Russia in 1996 who used a rocket to kill him in the streets of Grozny. ...
Orsinus's user avatar
  • 761
6 votes
3 answers
327 views

Mechanism and legal status of arms transfers to Ukraine

I've read news reports that Russia threatens to attack US or NATO vehicles with armaments on Ukrainian territory. This surprised me on two counts, first that NATO vehicles would be making that part of ...
o.m.'s user avatar
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26 votes
6 answers
4k views

Why are Stinger (surface to air missiles) and Javelin (anti-tank missiles) not considered escalatory in war theater of Ukraine? [duplicate]

This is purely about military doctrine. Much effort has been made to avoid using US-made fighter planes in the Ukrainian theater because that would be seen as "escalation" and lead Russia ...
Kiers's user avatar
  • 383
4 votes
4 answers
776 views

Minimizing civilian casualties during the siege of Mariupol?

What are the best practices of minimizing civilian casualties in cities under siege, as applied to the siege of Mariupol? I am looking for best practices from the perspective of world civilians, ...
Timur Shtatland's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
262 views

What are the established methods/procedures to estimate the costs of an armed conflict?

There have always been eye-catching headlines about conflicts regarding their cost, e.g. The war in Iraq has cost USA x billion USD The US presence in Afghanistan has cost the exchequer y billion USD ...
ksinkar's user avatar
  • 1,259
-4 votes
3 answers
173 views

What is the meaning of the term "Genocide" as opposed to "Crimes against Humanity"? [closed]

Genocide as a term came into being relatively after World War 2. There used to be a term earlier called Crimes against Humanity which used to be used to describe similar events. This use of this term ...
ksinkar's user avatar
  • 1,259
5 votes
0 answers
193 views

How does UK MP Bob Seely's 2018 paper "Definition of Contemporary Russian Conflict" hold up in 2022 in Ukraine? (Seely's seven elements)

After seeing his discussion in the BBC's 2022-03-11 video Is Russia setting the stage to use chemical weapons in Ukraine? - BBC Newsnight (my transcription with help of closed captions): The trouble ...
uhoh's user avatar
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3 votes
4 answers
2k views

What is the purpose of the siege of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol by the Russian invaders?

What are the geopolitical, military and humanitarian objectives that will be achieved following a successful siege of the civilian population of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol by the Russian military ...
Timur Shtatland's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
1k views

According to the Geneva Conventions, when can a Prisoner Of War give an interview on camera?

There's been some debate online about footage of POWs talking to the camera to say more than name, rank, and serial number, but has there been any serious academic writing on the limits of the "...
electron.rotoscope's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
922 views

Is it illegal for Russia to kill Ukrainian President Zelenskyy?

There are some actions in war that are designated as war crimes, such as targeting civilians, torture, and systematic sexual violence or enslavement. Some of these actions hinge on the definition of &...
TheEnvironmentalist's user avatar
42 votes
5 answers
7k views

Is it politically acceptable to incentivize soldiers of another country to desert?

If the USA (or another western country) wants to help Ukraine without sending troops, one thing it can do is to convince Russian soldiers in Ukraine to desert the Russian army, for example, by ...
Erel Segal-Halevi's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
355 views

How much bite does the Mutual Defense Clause of the Treaty of the European Union (TEU) have?

As mentioned in other answers regarding the 2022 Ukraine conflict, there is a defense clause for the existing EU countries. I looked and found §42.7 TEU, If a Member State is the victim of armed ...
AnoE's user avatar
  • 534
44 votes
6 answers
8k views

Isn't sending weapons to Ukraine an escalation?

As the title asks, isn't sending weapons to Ukraine an escalation in the war? Perhaps, due to this not being a 'declared war' or an 'invasion' (from the Russian pov), so sending weapons to Ukraine isn'...
AyamGorengPedes's user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
137 views

Is the Red Cross involved yet in checking up on prisoners of war in Ukraine?

Is the Red Cross involved yet in checking up on prisoners of war in Ukraine? I don't see it mentioned here or here.
Keith McClary's user avatar
14 votes
2 answers
2k views

Is Putin a valid military target in this war? What about Moscow based senior political and governmental figures with roles related to the war effort?

Putin apparently believes the head of state of Ukraine is a valid target, suitable to be dispatched by any means. Or at least that seems to be a reasonable interpretation of some reports. Doesn't ...
Stilez's user avatar
  • 7,228
-2 votes
1 answer
309 views

Right to declare a war in modern time

While browsing random articles I found an interesting fact - that USA never formally declared a war in Vietnam. After googling a bit more it turned out that since WW2 USA never formally declared a war ...
Maksim Khaitovich's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
430 views

Did Qassim Suleimani have any kind of diplomatic status while he was in Iraq?

If so, what would be the direct consequences?
Sascha's user avatar
  • 195
7 votes
0 answers
228 views

Are prisoners of war paid by their captors today?

The Third Geneva Convention calls for all POWs to receive a monthly allowance from their captors, separate from anything they may be paid for working while imprisoned, “to enable prisoners to improve ...
Lee C.'s user avatar
  • 307
19 votes
4 answers
3k views

Under what law can the U.S. arrest International Criminal Court (ICC) judges over war crimes probe?

US threatens to arrest ICC judges over war crimes probe (Deutsche Welle) Is there any such law that would allow the U.S. impinge on another nation's sovereignty in order to prevent ICC judges from ...
Sayaman's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
1k views

Does Russia need to treat the captured Ukranian sailors as POWs?

Some of the Ukranian sailors that were captured/arrested on their way to the Sea of Azov in November 2018 have been shown on Russian state TV with recorded statements. Ukraine demands that they are ...
DK2AX's user avatar
  • 1,341
5 votes
4 answers
698 views

What are the steps towards officially recognizing a Cold War?

The Guardian argues about so called "Cold War 2.0": Warnings of a return to cold war politics have been a staple of European debate for three years, but in recent weeks many western diplomats, ...
Alexei's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
557 views

Legality of attacking an occupier by third-party forces within partially-occupied state

Suppose state A is (illegally, militarily) occupying some of the territory of state B (denote the occupied part B1 and the unoccupied part B2). Suppose also that state B is allied with state C, and ...
einpoklum's user avatar
  • 8,895
2 votes
1 answer
307 views

Skripal vs. Castro poisonings, international law

Theresa May says the March 4 attack on Sergei Skripal is a "flagrant breach of international law and the chemical weapons convention." Would the (alleged) (attempted) Castro poisoning breach the ...
Keith McClary's user avatar
-1 votes
2 answers
3k views

Why don't leaders of countries fight instead of armies in a war?

When there is a war between two countries the military of each country fights against each other. But why don't the two leaders of both countries fight against each other and settle the issue. I ...
chamal's user avatar
  • 157