Practice Relating to Rule 14. Proportionality in Attack
The Philippines’ Joint Circular on Adherence to IHL and Human Rights (1991) states: “When the use of armed force is inevitable, strict controls must be exercised to insure that only reasonable force necessary for mission accomplishment shall be taken.”
The Philippines’ Air Power Manual (2000) provides:
1-6.3. The 1949 Geneva Convention includes the doctrine of proportionality – a concept which provides foundation for LOAC. It states that nations are to refrain from attacks that may be expected to cause corresponding damage which is excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated. It deals with the relationship between people likely to be affected by war and its military objectives. It also embodies the protection of the various classes of people affected by the hostilities.
1-6.4. However, LOAC should not serve as an obstacle in the conduct of operations. In fact, the law recognizes the belief that the destruction of vital targets, especially if it shortens the conflict, has its long term humane effects. The chief unifying principle always applies – that the importance of the military mission (military necessity) determines, as a matter of balanced judgment (proportionality), the extent of permissible collateral or incidental injury to [an] otherwise protected person or object.
1-6.5. In addition to the conventions, Additional Protocols are incorporated which deal with people and their claim to protection under defined circumstances, such as medical and religious personnel. Additional Protocol One includes international conflicts and wars of national liberation. In effect, it defines the protection of the civilian population in times of international conflict.
1-6.6. Additional Protocol Two defines two things: limitations in the conduct of operations and principles relating to the protection of civilians in a non-international conflict. Thus, every combatant should understand the consequences of this Protocol.
The Philippines’ AFP Standing Rules of Engagement (2005) states:
8. General Rules for the Correct Use of Force towards Mission Accomplishment
b. The use of force to accomplish authorized missions should be reasonable in intensity, duration and magnitude.
9. General Rules for Self-Defense
b. Action in Self-Defense
1) Means of Self-Defense. All necessary means available and all appropriate actions may be used in self-defense. The following guidelines apply for individual and unit self-defense:
a) Attempt to De-escalate the Situation. When time and circumstances permit, the hostile force should be warned and given the opportunity to withdraw or cease the threatening actions.
b) Use of Proportionate Force … may include non-lethal weapons to control the situation … [T]he engagement should not exceed that which is required to decisively counter the hostile act or demonstrated hostile intent and to ensure the continued protection of AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] forces or other protected personnel or property.