State behaviour during armed conflict is increasingly exposed to judicial scrutiny. It may also be subjected to standards developed in human rights law which, at times, are inconsistent with the law of armed conflict. This article draws attention to States’ worry over this process, and to their effort to limit the application of human rights law to military operations. The article discusses this effort, as well as the extent to which it was successful in court, focusing on three operational matters: the use of force, the detention of enemy nationals for security reasons, and the investigation of deaths caused by the armed forces. It concludes that courts tend to be more attentive to States’ concerns than often perceived, and that the latter should remain patient during this ongoing process.