Practice Relating to Rule 7. The Principle of Distinction between Civilian Objects and Military Objectives
Section B. Attacks against military objectives
France’s LOAC Manual (2001) provides:
The principle of discrimination, also known as the principle of precaution, requires belligerents to distinguish military objectives that may be attacked, from civilian objects and populations that must not be the object of any wilful voluntary attack.
France’s Code of Defence (2004), as amended in 2008, states: “A combatant shall only direct attacks against military objectives.”
The instructions given to the French armed forces for the conduct of Opération Mistral, simulating a military operation under the right of self-defence or a mandate of the UN Security Council, state: “Attacks may only be directed against military objectives.”
Upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, France stated: “The Government of the French Republic considers that the first sentence of paragraph 2 of Article 52 does not deal with the question of collateral damage resulting from attacks directed against military objectives.”