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Reference : V-F-CR-F-03546-A
Date : 11/2022
Title : Explainer on heavy explosive weapons in populated areas
Duration : 00:01:57
Cameraman : various
Editor : AUDEOUD, Tristan
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : reserved users only
Copyright : ICRC
Production company : ICRC
ICRC producer :
EBELE, Juliette Maria
Description : Did you know that international humanitarian law (IHL) still doesn’t prohibit the use of heavy explosive weapons in populated areas? These weapons can be used as long as the rules on distinction, proportionality and precautions are respected. Spoiler alert: this is very difficult to achieve.
Towns and cities are densely populated places relying on highly interconnected infrastructures and services. But military targets are often intermingled with the urban mesh of education, healthcare, power, water and supply systems.
Heavy explosive weapons have a wide impact area, determined by their inaccuracy and large blast-and-fragmentation radius, that often extends way beyond the target, taking down everything around it.
So, what are explosive weapons?
Large bombs or missiles have a large explosive yield.
Traditional artillery and mortars aim inaccurately and/or are unable to strike the same point repeatedly.
Multi-barrel rocket launchers fire multiple munitions simultaneously over a large area.
Yet international humanitarian law requires belligerents to always distinguish between military and civilian objects, and prohibits attacks which may cause civilian harm that would be excessive compared to the anticipated military advantage. But the damage such weapons inflict is severe and long-term; when used against targets in populated areas, the harm, often indiscriminate and disproportionate, doesn’t end with the explosion.
This is why using heavy explosive weapons very often violates international humanitarian law and should be avoided altogether in populated areas.
The good news? Now there is a declaration for States to formally acknowledge the problem and commit to change their practices on the ground to curb the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. All States must sign.
Original language : English
English title : Explainer on heavy explosive weapons in populated areas
Colour/B&W : colour
Resolution : 1920 x 1080
Aspect ratio : 16/9
Original material/format : H264
Best material/format available : ProRes 422