The Non-combatant Casualty Cut-off Value: Assessment of a Novel Targeting Technique in Operation Inherent Resolve

in International Criminal Law Review
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A tension exists between treaty protections afforded to civilians in non-international armed conflicts from becoming objects of attacks and the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction to punish commanders who recklessly cause such casualties. Yet, media and human rights organizations’ criticism that the non-combatant casualty cut-off value (NCV) constitutes a war crime cannot survive rational examination of the mens rea requirement in the Rome Statute. Coalition commanders and targeteers must ensure the NCV is neither presumptively nor conclusively applied in target engagement, whilst taking constant care to focus proportionality assessments to spare civilians.