Practice Relating to Rule 14. Proportionality in Attack
Section C. Information required for judging proportionality in attack
South Africa’s LOAC Teaching Manual (2008) states:
How to Determine Proper Targets
Once the target is confirmed as a military objective, it must be asked whether the destruction of the objective might result in incidental death of or injury to non-combatants, or collateral damage to protected property that is excessive to the direct and concrete military advantage to be gained.
All the facts, as well as surrounding circumstances, must be considered thoroughly. The standard by which military commanders must take these targeting decisions is based on their assessment of the information reasonably available to them at the time, rather than what is determined in hindsight.
The following pieces of intelligence are needed by commanders to ensure respect for the LOAC [law of armed conflict]:
- Concentrations of civilians.
- Civilian surroundings of military objectives.
- Nature of built up areas.
- Existence and nature of important and protected civilian objects.
- Nature of the natural environment.
[emphasis in original]