Practice Relating to Rule 14. Proportionality in Attack
In its written statement submitted to the ICJ in the Nuclear Weapons case
in 1995, Egypt stated that the use of nuclear weapons cannot at all be legal because they “are expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated”.
The Report on the Practice of Egypt states: “Egypt is of the opinion that the principle of proportionality must be respected [at] all times and in any circumstance.”
The annual report of the Secretary-General paints a gloomy picture of the situation around the world for children in armed conflict. ISIL has been listed as violating all triggers of violence against children, a result of their appalling atrocities. In Syria, the systematic use of indiscriminate aerial weapons, such as barrel bombs, account for the overwhelming majority of civilian casualties, including children. This cannot be allowed to continue. And during hostilities in Gaza last summer, civilians, including children, bore the brunt of the suffering. At least 540 Palestinian children were killed and hospitals and schools were severely damaged or destroyed, including UN facilities. The scale of the impact on children was unprecedented and unacceptable.
These facts and all other incidents listed in the report are utterly disturbing and raise serious concern about the observance of the rules of international humanitarian law, including the [principle] of … proportionality.
Upon signature of the 1998 ICC Statute, Egypt declared:
The term “the concrete and direct overall military advantage anticipated” used in article 8, paragraph 2 (b) (iv), must be interpreted in the light of the relevant provisions of [the 1977 Additional Protocol I]. The term must also be interpreted as referring to the advantage anticipated by the perpetrator at the time when the crime was committed. No justification may be adduced for the nature of any crime which may cause incidental damage in violation of the law applicable in armed conflicts. The overall military advantage must not be used as a basis on which to justify the ultimate goal of the war or any other strategic goals. The advantage anticipated must be proportionate to the damage inflicted.
Upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, Egypt stated: “Military commanders planning or executing attacks make their decisions on the basis of their assessment of all kinds of information available to them at the time of the military operations.”