Practice Relating to Rule 1. The Principle of Distinction between Civilians and Combatants
Section A. The principle of distinction
Norway’s Military Penal Code (1902), as amended in 1981, provides:
Anyone who contravenes or is accessory to the contravention of provisions relating to the protection of persons or property laid down in … the two additional protocols to [the 1949 Geneva] Conventions … is liable to imprisonment.
In 2009, in a statement on “Cluster Munitions and the Oslo Process” at a NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Norway’s Deputy Minister of Defence (State Secretary) stated:
[A]ll States in all conflicts and operations have an obligation under international humanitarian law to separate between civilians on the one hand and combatants on the other, the first being entitled to protection and respect in situations of armed conflict. This is one of the most fundamental principles of the Law of Armed Conflict or International Humanitarian Law.
In 2009, in a statement at the Second Review Conference of the Ottawa Convention on Anti-Personnel Mines, Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs stated: “The principle of distinction is a cornerstone of all international humanitarian law instruments.”