Emory International Law Review


Bradley Gershel


Assessing morality in armed conflicts raises a host of issues, not least of which is accounting for the loss of innocent life. For one, normative ethics presumes an absolute deontological proscription against harming the innocent. Yet, both just-war theory and post-war lex scripta affirm the doctrine of military necessity, which permits the loss of innocent life that is "incidentally unavoidable by the armed conflicts of the war." This qualification is informed by the doctrine of double effect ("DDE"), a product of Catholic theology that serves to legitimize an attack causing "incidental" or "unintended" civilian causalities, provided certain conditions are met.