chapter  14
13 Pages

Methods of land warfare

WithWilliam J Fenrick

One might well regard the traditional methods of waging land warfare as battle, devastation and siege. This chapter will begin by addressing quarter, the extent of the obligation to accept surrender. Devastation, starvation and siege will then be addressed. The chapter will conclude by addressing permissible and impermissible deception; and espionage and sabotage. Targeting issues and the weapons used in battle are addressed in other chapters.1 The discussion will be closely linked to the ICRC Customary International Humanitarian Law Study (CIHL) as Rules 46 to 69 of the Study constitute the most recent attempt at a relatively comprehensive overview of the topics addressed in the chapter. It must be observed, however, that the CIHL focused more on prohibitions than permissions, with the result that methods of warfare such as siege warfare and espionage are not fully addressed. Treaty-based roots for the laws concerning means and methods of land warfare are, for the most part, found in Hague Law provisions. The Lieber Code of 1863, which was adopted by Federal forces in the American Civil War of 1861-1865 (a non-international armed conflict but one on a massive scale), prohibits the denial of quarter,2 limits the right of one side to exercise control over the property of the other or of its nationals,3 prohibits acting in bad faith,4 explicitly permits starvation as a method of war,5 addresses espionage and sabotage,6 and permits ruses and prohibits perfidy.7