Practice Relating to Rule 7. The Principle of Distinction between Civilian Objects and Military Objectives
Croatia’s LOAC Compendium (1991) instructs soldiers:
Always make a difference between:
a) Combatants and civilians
b) Military targets and civilians.
Croatia’s Commanders’ Manual (1992) provides: “Military targets may be attacked.”
Croatia’s Commanders’ Manual (1992) provides: “Civilian objects may not be attacked.”
Under Croatia’s Criminal Code (1997), it is a war crime to commit or order the commission of “an attack against … civilian objects”.
In 1997, a court in Croatia sentenced 39 people, both soldiers and commanders, to prison terms ranging from 5 to 20 years on charges which included attacks on civilian property, churches, schools and a dam.
In a letter to the President of the UN Security Council in 1992, Croatia expressed strong protest over attacks it alleged were carried out against the civilian population and civilian facilities in the wider area of the town of Slavonski Brod launched by Serbs from Bosnia and Herzegovina and the UN Protected Area territories in Croatia and which it considered contrary to Articles 51 and 52 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I.
Croatia’s Criminal Code (1997), as amended to 2006, states that a war crime is committed by whoever “violates the rules of international law in times of war, armed conflict or occupation and orders [or commits] an attack against … civilian … settlements”.
Under Croatia’s Criminal Code (1997), it is a war crime to commit or order the commission of “an attack against … [civilian] settlements”.
Croatia’s LOAC Compendium (1991) provides that “civilian aircraft escorted by enemy military aircraft” and “civilian aircraft that refuse to modify their routes, land or alight on water if so ordered and after warning” are proper targets in the air. The manual adds that “civilian aircraft that do not violate the airspace of a belligerent” are protected aircraft.