Faculty: Law
Department: Law


Nwankwo, C. N.
Ama-Oji, E.


The question of “targeting” in armed conflict is receiving growing publicity. The incidental loss of civilian lives and damage to civilian property resulting from ariel bombing campaigns is at the heart of numerous political debate. World public opinion demands that governments account for the “collateral damage” caused by their armed forces. This subject is also a source of legal controversy. Analysts disagree on the question of whether or not the current rule applicable to targeting is sufficient. Some believe that the rules should be tightened in the light of increasingly sophisticated means and methods of combat. The rule applicable to targeting must be seen in the wider context of future advances in the field of International Criminal Law. Since the coming into force of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in July 2002, the possibility of prosecuting individuals for breaches of the law governing the conduct of hostilities is no longer a distant prospect. This work clarifies the normative framework through an examination of cases, taken from recent armed conflicts of international character. This dissertation circumscribes the content to which certain controversial targeting can be admitted into the category of legitimate military objectives by identifying and analysing some of the most contentious interpretation of the relevant rules in approaching the regimes applicable to targeting from the perspective of contemporary challenges. This work adopts the doctrinal method of research. It uses the analytical approach to discuss the laws of targeting and apply it to contemporary practices in armed conflict. The problem investigated in this research is that virtually all armed conflicts has been marked by controversy about the choice of targets. The fundamental objective of this research is to analyse the means and method of warfare and the laws applicable during warfare. The research also analyse the issue of military objectives which is directly linked to the principle of distinction. The research finds out that sometimes divergent interpretations of concepts such as military objectives and proportionality in attacks that arise in international armed conflicts generate the same, if not more queries in non-international armed conflicts. This dissertation recommends the essential need for the modification of the laws regulating the conduct of law so that they can meet present day realities and make them a settled principle of modern International law. Again, this dissertation recommends that a new convention be quickly constituted to address the issue of the use of drones in warfare so as to regulate the use and determine when it can be deployed in an armed conflict.