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AOAV’s recommendations to the UK’s MOD in relation to air-strikes and casualty recording

Action on Armed Violence has formulated a brief list of recommendations in relation to the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) use of air-power and the subsequent threat to civilian life from such use.

AOAV recommends:

  • That the MOD establishes a dedicated civilian harm assessment cell – to which people with key skills be assigned. Such a cell might offer a clear point of engagement for pilots and analysts wishing to raise possible issues of concern.
  • That the MOD improves its assessment and investigative capacities in order to properly evaluate allegations of civilian harm. Wherever possible this should include a proper review of local claims and associated field investigations by others; communication with victims and witnesses; and on site investigations of suspected harm incidents.
  • That the MOD reviews its methodology of assessing non-combatant harm. At present, MOD Operations personnel are temporarily reassigned from other tasks (e.g. targeting) to conduct civilian harm assessments. The UK should follow the example of CENTCOM in having a dedicated civilian harm assessment team. 
  • That the MOD reviews the statistical modelling used in its own Collateral Damage Estimates for urban actions.
  • That the MOD reassess the use of precision munitions. Targeting a high population area with a precise weapons risks similar harm to non-precision weapons. The MOD should review its present munitions suite in relation to urban warfare.
  • That the MOD provides compensation or solatia payments for victims / families affected by UK military actions in which civilian harm is conceded.
  • That the MOD provides locational detail in its publicly reported strike logs. This will assist external agencies in evaluating potential harm from British strikes and discounting events where the UK had no role.