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The Concept of Military Objectives in International Law and Targeting Practice

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction Part I: The Concept and Definition of Military Objective 2. The concept of Military Objective 3. Nature, Location, Use and Purpose 4. Effective Contribution to Military Action 5. Definite Military Advantage 6. Methods of Achieving Military Advantage 7. Problematic Cases Part II: Operationalization of the Definition of Military Objective 8. Military Doctrine and International Law 9. Problems of Legal Interoperability in Relation to the Identification of Lawful Targets 10. Conclusion

About the Author

Agnieszka Jachec-Neale is an Associate Fellow for Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), UK. Her research explores legal and doctrinal aspects of targeting and military operational practice, and examines the application of technological advancements in modern warfare. She has over 5 years' experience working with international organisations in south eastern Europe, where specialised in monitoring domestic war crimes trials and in the enforcement of human rights standards in emerging democracies.


"The law of targeting lies at the heart of international humanitarian law and no aspect of targeting is more central than the concept of military objective. Dr. Jachec-Neale has produced a masterful study of the subject that comprehensively surveys and analyzes the problematic issues it raises while placing them in a real-world contexts. It is a work that will not only be of great value to scholars and jurists, but also prove of inestimable practical use to military legal advisers and operators responsible for planning, approving, and executing attacks consistent with international humanitarian law on the battlefield." Professor Michael N. Schmitt, Director of The Stockton Center, US Naval War College Professor of Public International Law, Exeter University Senior Fellow, NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence "This is a very important work for three reasons. First, surprisingly, it is the first monograph on the subject since the adoption of the definition of military objective in 1977. Second, the quality of the research means that both the law and the practice are thoroughly covered. Third, and most important, it takes an original approach to the relevance and use of military doctrine that has implications for the study of other areas of the law of armed conflict." Professor Francoise Hampson, University of Essex 'The subject matter without doubt deserves to be dealt with in a monograph. So far there has been no legal analysis of the definition of military objectives in a monographic work. Rather, the majority of published works either deal with particular aspects of the definition only or they address the respective issues in a cursory way. Hence, any thorough analysis of the definition will deepen the jurisprudential insight and/or contribute further important facets to the jurisprudential course. The author's results, while not necessarily shared by all, will further contribute to the continuing discussion amongst international scholars on legality of military targets insofar as objects are concerned. Her approach is based on valid and recognised methodological procedures and her arguments are often cogently convincing. It may be also stressed that she has proven a remarkable ability to understand the genuine characteristics of military operations and of military doctrine. This is far from lying outside the scope of a legal analysis because the law of armed conflict/international humanitarian law cannot be fully comprehended if these aspects are not adequately appreciated.' Professor Wolff Heintschel von Heinegg, European University Viadrina, Germany

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