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Military Justice and the Law of War

Military Justice and the Law of War


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Published by: United States Militia on Sep 18, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Considerations The ROE addresses the use of force in self-defense and the application of
force for mission accomplishment. The following factors are to be considered
when determining violations of ROE.

• The key is to measure the amount of force to fit the level of the threat.
• The soldier must use only the amount of force necessary to protect lives
and accomplish the mission.
• The force used must fit the scale of the threat in magnitude, intensity, and

Soldiers must apply a graduated escalation of force when facing civilians who
are unarmed, but also confrontational and unfriendly. In the scenario, the
civilian man is unarmed and running away. The man poses no immediate
threat to the safety of the soldier or his American comrades.


It was determined that the soldier used excessive force, despite his claiming
to have fired a “warning” shot in the dirt to the left of the fleeing man. Fault
was also found in the chain of command for not ensuring that the soldiers
understood the ROE. The soldier’s Division Commander set aside the
conviction for negligent homicide.

Recommendation No use of force is appropriate. The man did not fire any shots and this fleeing
unarmed man endangered no lives. The course of action would be to continue
chasing the man but refrain from firing the rifle.

Consequences A violation of the rules of engagement is subject to criminal prosecution
under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Prosecution may
include multiple charges and multiple counts. Violations of the ROE may be
the use of excessive force or violations of specific prohibitions under the
ROE, such as targeting protected persons or objects without military

MCI Course 8202


Study Unit 5, Lesson 2

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