Rules of International Humanitarian attempt to control the wars as much as possible to minimize the suffering of the civilian population. International humanitarian Law reflects this constant balance between the military necessity from the state of war and the needs for humanitarian protection.
Therefore, Humanitarian Law protects persons and property affected or liable to be affected by the conflict and Restrict the right of the parties to a conflict to use the means -in particular weapons- and methods of warfare – such as military tactics- of their choice. In this section, we will examine the basic principles of IHL that restrict the methods of warfare.
The principle of distinction between civilians and combatants
The principle of distinction prohibits all means and methods that can not make a distinction between those who do take part in hostilities -combatants, and those who do not and therefore are civilian, protected persons (article 48 IAP).
The principle of proportionality
The principle of proportionality (article 51(5) (b) IAP) states that even if there is a clear military target it is not possible to attack it if the risk of civilians, or civilian property, being harmed is larger than the expected military advantage.
The principle of precaution in attack
As part of the principle of distinction, the conflicting parties are obliged to respect the principle of precautions in attack. This principle supplements the general obligation to distinguish, at all times, between civilians and combatants, and between civilian and military objects.