Chapter 16 “On Civilian Harm”: Key Factors. Causing or Mitigating Harm
This chapter is part of our book 'On Civilian Harm'. The chapter explores the key factors that either contribute to increased or mitigated civilian harm. These involve military weaponeering decisions, the location of hostilities, protection rules already in place, and innovative means by which some armed actors have sought to minimise the negative effects of their actions on civilians.
Having considered in previous chapters both those who do harm (the perpetrators) and those who are harmed and in what way (the victims), we now turn to the final element of any civilian harm event: key factors that either contribute to causing or mitigating harm. Armed actors – be they part of state armed forces, non-state armed groups or otherwise involved in hostilities – make a range of decisions during the course of conflict that affect the eventual impact of their actions on civilians. Those decisions and other external factors, such as weaponry and target choices, the area and method of operations, can either exacerbate or mitigate harm to civilians. The objective of this chapter is to study these key factors and identify both concerns and opportunities with regard to civilian harm reduction.
About this report
Date of publication:
Aug 26, 2021
Welmoet Wels, Wilbert van der Zeijden, Erin Bijl