Practice Relating to Rule 85. The Use of Incendiary Weapons against Combatants
Section A. The use of incendiary weapons in general
In 1973, in response to Resolution 2932 A (XXVII) in which the UN General Assembly asked States to comment on the report of the UN Secretary-General on napalm and other incendiary weapons and all aspects of their possible use, Norway stated that a prohibition on production, development and stockpiling of incendiary weapons would be extremely complicated to implement, since production of incendiary weapons was easy. Consequently, it preferred a total prohibition of the use of some or all incendiary weapons.
Norway submitted a “Draft Protocol Relative to the Prohibition of the Use of Incendiary Weapons” to the Ad Hoc Committee on Conventional Weapons established by the CDDH which read, inter alia, as follows:
Article 1 – Field of application
The present Protocol shall apply in the situations referred to in articles 2 and 3 common to the Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949 for the Protection of War Victims… .
Article 3 – General prohibition
With the further limitations spelled out in the present Protocol and subject to the provisions of [the Additional Protocol I], incendiary weapons may only be used against objects that are military objectives in the sense of article 47, paragraph 2 of the said Protocol, including in close support of friendly forces.
The use of incendiary weapons against personnel is prohibited.
Nevertheless, the presence of combatants or civilians within or in the immediate vicinity of legitimate targets as described in this article does not render such targets immune from attacks with incendiary weapons …
Article 5 – Precaution in attack
Any use of incendiary weapons is subject to article 50 of [the Additional Protocol I].
In addition, it is prohibited to launch an attack with incendiary weapons except when:
(a) the location of the target is known and properly recognized, and
(b) all feasible precaution is taken to limit the incendiary effects to the specific military objectives and to avoid incidental injury or incidental loss of lives.
Article 6 – Protection against environmental effects
Before deciding upon the launching of attack with incendiary weapons, special care must be taken to ensure that environmental effects as described in article 48 bis
of [the Additional Protocol I] will be avoided.