Practice Relating to Rule 147. Reprisals against Protected Objects
Section E. Natural environment
Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) states: “Attacks against the environment by way of reprisals are prohibited.”
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) states: “Attacks against the environment by way of reprisal are prohibited.”
The manual also states “G. P. I [1977 Additional Protocol I] extends the categories of persons and objects against whom reprisals are prohibited to [include] … the natural environment”.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
In 1991, in briefing notes prepared for a debate on the Geneva Convention Amendment Bill in Australia’s House of Representatives, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade expressed the view that:
The extension in [the 1977 Additional Protocol I of the prohibition of reprisals] is to civilian, cultural and other non-military objects. It was felt that an Australian reservation on this point, while leaving the way open for us to use such reprisals, would not only allow Australia to be portrayed as barbaric but also leave such Australian objects open to attack in enemy reprisals, in return for very little military advantage. This is now a settled Australian Defence Force view.