UCL Faculty of Laws


Dying as a side-effect: The meaning of proportionate collateral damage

09 December 2015, 6:00 pm–7:15 pm


Event Information

Open to



Dr Kimberley Trapp (UCL Laws)


UCL Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, Bloomsbury, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT

Speaker: Professor Janina Dill (LSE)
Chair: Dr Kimberley Trapp (UCL Laws)

About this event

International Humanitarian Law permits killing civilians as an unintended side effect of attacks if the expected deaths are proportionate to the military advantage anticipated. But what does it look like when loss of human life and military advantage are ‘in balance’? Proportionality is a common concept in law, but the values at stake in war can be neither expressed in terms of each other nor translated into a common metric. This talk will discuss the results of an empirical study of Afghan civilians’ and military experts’ attitudes towards collateral damage addressing the question to what extent their assessments are consistent with the legal definition of proportionality and exploring a common standard of proportionate collateral damage.

About the speaker

Janina Dill is an Assistant Professor of Normative Theory at the Department of International Relations at the London School of Economics and a Research Fellow of the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict at the University of Oxford. She was previously Departmental Lecturer at the University of Oxford’s Department of Politics and IR and a Junior Research Fellow at its Faculty of Law. Her book ‘Legitimate Targets? Social Construction, International Law and US Bombing’ appeared earlier this year with Cambridge University Press.