NATO Rules of Engagement

On ROE, Self-Defence and the Use of Force during Armed Conflict


In NATO Rules of Engagement, Camilla Guldahl Cooper offers clarity on a topic prone to confusion and misunderstanding. NATO rules of engagement (ROE) are of considerable political, strategic and operational importance, yet many of its concepts lack clarity. The resulting ambiguity may be detrimental for people involved and for mission accomplishment.

Through a thorough analysis of the concept, purpose, development and use of NATO ROE, Cooper contributes to improved understanding and implementation of NATO ROE. The book covers all use of force categories and relevant law relating to the use of force during armed conflicts, including the complex concepts of hostile act and hostile intent, direct participation in hostilities, and the increasing reliance on self-defence during armed conflict.

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Camilla Guldahl Cooper, Ph.D. (Oslo, 2018), Norwegian Defence University College, is an Associate Professor of operational law. She has co-authored the Norwegian Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, and published articles and chapters on operational law.
List of Abbreviations

1 Introduction
 1.1 Background and Purpose
 1.2 nato<\sc> Rules of Engagement
 1.3 Scope
 1.4 Sources and Methodology
 1.5 The Structure of the Book

Part 1
The Point of Departure: nato<\sc> Rules of Engagement
2 Rules of Engagement: Introduction, Development and Use
 2.1 Introduction
 2.2 Analysing roe<\sc>: Definition, Scope and Form, and Legal Status
 2.3 The History of Mission-Specific Rules of Engagement
 2.4 roe<\sc> Development
 2.5 roe<\sc> as a Tool for Command and Control
 2.6 Conclusions

3 ‘Use of force’ Categories in nato roe Doctrine
 3.1 Introduction
 3.2 The Use of Force in Self-Defence
 3.3 The Use of Force in Response to an Attack or Imminent Attack by Opposing Forces
 3.4 The Use of Force to Accomplish Designated Tasks
 3.5 Attack in Response to Hostile Act and Hostile Intent as Defined by Nato<\sc>
 3.6 Attack on Forces ‘declared hostile’

Part 2
“Otherwise Lawful Use of Force”: the Law Regulating the Use of Force during Armed Conflict
4 Introduction: the Search for a Legal Basis
 4.1 The Lotus Principle, Human Rights, and the Relevance of the Relationship between the jus ad bellum and jus in bello<\i>
 4.2 The Right to Life and Prohibition on Arbitrary Deprivation of Life
 4.3 The Relationship between the jus ad bellum and the jus in bello: Related in Fact, but Not in Law
 4.4 When Does What Apply? On lex specialis<\i>
 4.5 Conclusion: Two Main Legal Bases for the Use of Force

5 The Law of Armed Conflict
 5.1 Introduction
 5.2 Who Is a Lawful Target
 5.3 What Does It Entail to Be a Lawful Target
 5.4 Identification of Lawful Targets: Precautions in Attack and the Issue of Doubt
 5.5 Carrying Out Attacks

6 Self-Defence
 6.1 Introduction
 6.2 State Self-Defence
 6.3 Personal Self-Defence
 6.4 Conclusion

Part 3
Operational ‘use of force’ Categories and their Corresponding Legal Bases: What May Legally Be Authorised?
7 Introduction to Part 3

8 The Use of Force in Self-Defence during Armed Conflict: a Legal Analysis of the Various Concepts of Self-Defence
 8.1 Overview
 8.2 The Use of Force in Personal Self-Defence by Military Forces during Armed Conflict
 8.3 Operational Concepts of Self-Defence
 8.4 Conclusions on the Relevance of Self-Defence as a Legal Basis for Use of Force during Armed Conflict Operations

9 The Use of Force by nato<\sc> Forces in Response to Attacks or Imminent Attacks by Opposing Forces

10 When May Force be Used to Accomplish Designated Tasks?

11 nato<\sc> Hostile Intent and Hostile Act roe: Applicable Law and Its Consequences
 11.1 ‘hostile act’ and ‘hostile intent’ as Operationalisation of dph<\sc>
 11.2 nato<\sc> Hostile Act and Hostile Intent roe and Customary Law
 11.3 Conclusions on the Relationship between the nato<\sc> Hostile Act and Hostile Intent roe<\sc> and dph<\sc>
 11.4 ‘Attack’

12 The Use of Force in an Attack on Forces ‘declared hostile’ and Applicable Law
 12.1 Forces ‘declared hostile’
 12.2 ‘attack’ and The Role of Targeting Procedures

Part 4
Conclusions and Proposals
13 Conclusions and Proposals
 13.1 nato roe<\sc> and the Legal Basis for the Use of Force
 13.2 The Need for a Holistic and Uniform Approach to roe<\sc>
 13.3 The Relationship between Self-Defence, loac<\sc> and roe<\sc>

Military operators, legal advisers and political advisers working with ROE or NATO; military colleges; and civilian academics interested in NATO, the law of armed conflict, and international human rights law.