Georgetown journal of international law, Vol. 47, issue 1, 2015, p. 241-277 : tabl.
Matthew J. Greer
Perhaps all war is based on deception, but throughout history, the law of war has limited the use of certain deceptive tactics. Developed long ago with a focus on honor among belligerents, the law of war’s prohibition of perfidy has failed to adapt to modern warfare. Moreover, its lack of focus on external actors, i.e., non-combatants, allows deceptive action even where it plainly contravenes the fundamental principles of the law of war. This note redefines perfidy using the core aims of the law of war: distinction, proportionality, and military necessity. The hope is that an updated perfidy definition will provide greater guidance to battlefield operators, lessen war’s death and destruction, and ultimately help bring about swift and peaceful ends to armed conflicts.