Practice Relating to Rule 12. Definition of Indiscriminate Attacks
Section C. Attacks whose effects cannot be limited as required by international humanitarian law
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands states:
Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited. Indiscriminate attacks are attacks which can strike military objectives and civilians or civilian objects without distinction. Additional Protocol I mentions a few concrete forms of indiscriminate attacks:
- Attacks which employ means or methods the effects of which cannot be limited as required by Additional Protocol I.
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states:
[I]t is forbidden to use means and combat methods where the effects cannot be limited to combatants and military targets, and which affect civilians and civilian targets. This is defined as the use of indiscriminate means or indiscriminate attack.
In its chapter on behaviour in battle, the manual states:
Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited. This means attacks which, in their implementation, do not distinguish between military objectives and civilians. In AP I [1977 Additional Protocol I], some more specific forms of indiscriminate attack are listed:
- attacks that employ a method or means the effects of which cannot be limited as required by AP I.
Iraq’s SCUD rocket attacks on towns in Israel and Saudi Arabia during the second Gulf War (1990–91) are considered an example of indiscriminate attacks.