IHL prohibits the employment of means of warfare that result in superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering. This rule reflects an attempt to strike a balance between the competing ends of humanity and military necessity, and the protection resulting from its application, strictly speaking, focusses on the effect of weapons on combatants (as, in principle, causing suffering and injury to civilians is prohibited). Weapons which would inevitably cause serious permanent disability, as well as those that render death inevitable are affected by the prohibition. Restrictions and prohibitions on the use of specific weapons such as laser weapons, incendiary weapons and dum-dum bullets are a direct result of the application of the rule.

See Means of warfare; WeaponsConventional weapons; Conduct of hostilities; Dum-dum bulletsLaser weaponsIncendiary weaponsMinesCluster munitionsSuperfluous injury and Unnecessary Suffering;