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France
Practice Relating to Rule 1. The Principle of Distinction between Civilians and Combatants
Section A. The principle of distinction
France’s LOAC Summary Note (2001) states: “The civilian population and civilian objects must be spared and distinguished at all times from combatants and military objectives.” 
France, Fiche de Synthèse sur les Règles Applicables dans les Conflits Armés, Note No. 432/DEF/EMA/OL.2/NP, Général de Corps d’Armée Voinot (pour l’Amiral Lanxade, Chef d’Etat-major des Armées), 1992, Part I, preamble; see also Fiche didactique relative au droit des conflits armés, Directive of the Ministry of Defence, 4 January 2000, annexed to the Directive No. 147 of the Ministry of Defence of 4 January 2000, p. 4.
France’s LOAC Manual (2001) imposes the obligation “to distinguish between military objectives, which may be attacked, and civilian objects and persons, which must not be made the object of deliberate attack”. 
France, Manuel de droit des conflits armés, Ministère de la Défense, Direction des Affaires Juridiques, Sous-Direction du droit international humanitaire et du droit européen, Bureau du droit des conflits armés, 2001, p. 13.
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: “All parties must at all times make a distinction between the civilian population and military objectives in order to spare the civilian population.” 
France, Etat-major de la Force d’Action Rapide, Ordres pour l’Opération Mistral, 1995, Section 6, § 66.
In 2008, the Minister of Defence of France stated:
[France] is a party to the 1977 Additional Protocol I to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, which defines the major fundamental principles of protection of the civilian population against the effects of hostilities, in particular … the principle of discrimination … France considers this document to be a fundamental pillar of international humanitarian law and wishes it to become universal as soon as possible, in order to allow for the requirements of humanity during armed conflicts to be better respected. 
France, Response from the Minister of Defence to parliamentary written question No. 20626, Journal officiel de la République française, 6 May 2008, p. 3812.
In 2009, the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of France stated:
[O]ne of the essential principles of international humanitarian law is that a distinction must be made at all times and in all circumstances between combatants and non-combatants … There are few conflicts in which that principle is fully respected. 
France, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, “The Savaging of Humanitarian Law”, New York Times, 28 January 2009, p. 1.
In 2009, the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of France stated:
Violations of humanitarian law are ever increasing, as the current crises are unfortunately there to remind us, whether we are looking at Darfur, Somalia, Gaza, Sri Lanka or the Kivus. … The means and methods of warfare know no limitation or restraint, [such as] distinction of targets …
We must react! 
France, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, “International Humanitarian Law, an Imperative”, La Croix, 12 February 2009, p. 1.
In 2009, the President of France stated:
We cannot resign ourselves to the suffering of millions of women and men who are victims of wars …
All parties to a conflict, and in the first place States, shall strictly respect their commitment to apply the provisions of international humanitarian law. One of its main principles is the distinction between civilian and military objectives: and yet, it is the civilian population who pays, by far, the highest price in armed conflicts. This is a scandal, this is unacceptable. 
France, Address by the President of the French Republic on the 90th Anniversary of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, 4 May 2009, p. 2.