Artillery has been a staple of siege warfare for centuries as a cheap and effective weapon against area and point targets; however, its legality under the rules of International Humanitarian Law may be changing. The recent Ante Gotovina case at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) reflects an evolving line of jurisprudence that could result in a global reassessment of the legal norms for using artillery against targets located in urban areas. Thus far, commentators have criticized the Gotovina trial judgement on the basis that the law should conform to the technical limitations of artillery, but this article proposes that if basic artillery cannot conform to the standards of accuracy required under IHL, then it should not be paired to targets in urban areas. At a minimum, if after a calculation of probable errors of the fall of shot, the margin of error lies outside of that accepted by international tribunals, then a decision to nonetheless engage the urban target may rise to the standard of recklessness and result in possible criminal liability for the commander. In a 3-2 majority decision, the ICTY Appeals Chamber overturned the Trial Chamber decision in Gotovina, but did not articulate what legal standard it applied in doing so. The result muddies the legal waters as it pertains to artillery and exposes a deep divide in the application of the law by international criminal tribunals.
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