Practice Relating to Rule 7. The Principle of Distinction between Civilian Objects and Military Objectives
Section C. Attacks against civilian objects in general
In 2011, in its Humanitarian Operation Factual Analysis July 2006–May 2009, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence stated:
25. The LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] carried out attacks on civilian targets throughout Sri Lanka using human bombs, vehicle bombs, time bombs, claymore mines, different Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and armed attacks … Some of the deadliest bomb attacks include the central bus station attack in Colombo in 1987 that killed over 100 people and the truck bomb attack at the Central Bank in 1996 that killed 86 whilst wounding over 1,300. …
27. LTTE attacks on economic targets and key civilian infrastructure facilities were aimed at crippling economic activity within Sri Lanka. Its attack on the country’s Central Bank in Colombo in 1996 imperilled the entire financial system. Its attack on the country’s International Airport in July 2001, in which several passenger jets including an Airbus A-340 and an Airbus A-330 were completely destroyed and many others seriously damaged, had a devastating impact on the tourism industry for many years. The LTTE also targeted the critical Kolonnawa Oil Refinery on several occasions, the last of which was an air raid it carried out in 2007. The LTTE targeted essential transport infrastructure facilities such as the Central Bus and Train Stations in Colombo, and carried out attacks on numerous buses, trains and civilian aircraft.
The Ministry of Defence further stated: “On 18 May 2009, Sri Lanka defeated the LTTE, bringing to an end three decades of conflict and suffering.”