This article focuses on both the meaning and implementation of precautionary measures. It begins by discussing the treaty-based implementation of precautions, with a particular focus on the use of warnings as precautionary measure. It then briefly considers how expanding the conception of precautionary measures beyond the treaty-based obligations would enhance civilian risk mitigation and contribute to achieving the humanitarian objectives of the law of armed conflict (LOAC). Finally, this article explains why precautions are in fact such a vital risk-mitigating tool from a pragmatic operational perspective by focusing on how commanders committed to the LOAC balance of necessity versus humanity will instinctively gravitate to, and embrace, the logic of the precautions principle during the execution of combat operations.
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