Errors and misconceptions in the 2015 Department of Defense law of war manual
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Minnesota journal of international law, Vol. 26, issue 2, 2017, p. 303-344
Jordan J. Paust
This article focuses primarily on several egregious errors and manifest misconceptions contained in portions of Part I of the 2015 Department of Defense Law of War Manual. These generally relate to the unavoidable duty of all members of the Executive branch, including members of the armed forces, to faithfully execute the law; the relationship between the law of war and other forms of international law applicable during armed conflict; applicability and the reach of human rights law during armed conflict; and the nature, reach, and content of customary international law. This article also adresses certain other errors and concerns with respect to the nature of war crimes, compensation, targetable civilians, military necessity, the test regarding weapons of a nature to cause unnecessary suffering, dum-dum bullets, herbicides, destruction of food and water, justified force in the context of Kosovo, the proper test for legitimate self-defense, and the nature of non-international armed conflicts.