Practice Relating to Rule 7. The Principle of Distinction between Civilian Objects and Military Objectives
Iraq’s Law of the Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal (2005) identifies “[i]ntentionally directing attacks against civilian objects, including objects which do not constitute military objectives” as a serious violation of the laws and customs of war applicable in both international and non-international armed conflicts.
In 1984, in reply to criticism for alleged attacks against civilian objects during the hostilities against the Islamic Republic of Iran, the President of Iraq stated: “Our aircraft did not bomb civilian targets in Baneh during their raid of 5 June; they bombed a camp in which a large body of Iranian forces was concentrated.”
In 1983, Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs declared the readiness of Iraq “to sign a special peace treaty between Iraq and Iran, under United Nations supervision, wherein the two parties undertake not to attack towns and villages on the two sides, in spite of the continuation of the war”.
In reply to a message from the UN Secretary-General of 9 June 1984, the President of Iraq stated:
I wish to remind you, first of all, that since the armed conflict began the Iranian side has continually resorted to the bombing of our frontier towns and villages and other civilian targets and for a long time persisted in denying it even after the facts had been verified by the United Nations mission … I would also like to remind you that, in June 1983, on behalf of Iraq I took the initiative of proposing the conclusion under international auspices of an agreement between Iran and Iraq under which the two parties would refrain from bombing civilian targets … I therefore have the pleasure to inform you that the Iraqi Government accepts your proposal on condition that Iran is committed thereby, and that you make effective arrangements as soon as possible to supervise the implementation by the two parties of their commitments.