The principle of military necessity is, like the related principle of proportionality, an essential component of international humanitarian law.   The “principle of military necessity” permits measures which are actually necessary to accomplish a legitimate military purpose and are not otherwise prohibited by international humanitarian law. In the case of an armed conflict the only legitimate military purpose is to weaken the military capacity of the other parties to the conflict.   Military necessity generally runs counter to humanitarian exigencies. Consequently the purpose of humanitarian law is to strike a balance between military necessity and humanitarian exigencies. See also Military objectivesMilitary Advantage; Fundamental Principles of IHL; Humanity;



Suggested readings:

DRAPER Gerald I.A.D., “Military Necessity and Humanitarian Imperatives”, in RDMDG, Vol. 12/2, 1973, pp. 129-151.   DUNBAR N.C.H., “The Significance of Military Necessity in the Law of War”, in Juridical Review, Vol. 67/2, 1955, pp. 201-212.   GARDAM Judith, Necessity, Proportionality and the Use of Force by States, Cambridge, CUP, 2004, 259 pp.   HAYASHI Nobuo, “Requirements of Military Necessity in International Humanitarian Law and International Criminal Law”, in Boston University International Law Journal, Vol. 28, Issue 1, 2010, pp. 39-140.   MACCOUBREY Hilaire, “The Nature of the Modern Doctrine of Military Necessity”, in RDMDG, 1991, pp. 215-252.   MELZER Nils, “Targeted Killing or Less Harmful Means?, Israel’s High Court Judgment on Targeted Killing and the Restrictive Function of Military Necessity”, in YIHL, Vol. 9, 2009, pp. 87-116.   O’BRIEN William V., Military Necessity: The Development of the Concept of Military Necessity and its Interpretation in the Modern Law of War, Georgetown University, Thesis, 1953, 318 pp.   PROKOSCH Éric, “Arguments for Restricting Cluster Weapons: Humanitarian Protection Versus ‘Military Necessity’”, in IRRC, No. 299, March-April 1994, pp. 183-193.   RAGONE P.A., “The Applicability of Military Necessity in the Nuclear Age”, in JILP, Vol. 16/4, 1984, pp. 701-714   RAUCH Elmar, “Le concept de nécessité militaire dans le droit de la guerre”, in RDMDG, Vol. 18, 1980, pp. 205-237.   SCHMITT Michael N., “Military Necessity and Humanity in International Humanitarian Law: Preserving the Delicate Balance”, in Virginia Journal of International Law, Vol. 50, No. 4, 2010, pp. 795-839   Further readings:   COWLING M.G., “The Relationship between Military Necessity and the Principle of Superfluous Injury and Unnecessary Suffering in the Law of Armed Conflict”, in South African Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 25, 2000, pp. 131-160.   ROMANO John-Alex, “Combating Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction: Reviving the Doctrine of a State Necessity”, in The Georgetown Law Journal, Vol. 87/4, 1999, pp. 1023-1057.   VENTURINI Gabriella, Necessità e proporzionalità nell’uso della forza militare in diritto internazionale, Milano, Giuffrè, 1988, 189 pp.