Practice Relating to Rule 36. Demilitarized Zones
Sweden’s IHL Manual (1991) refers to Article 60 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I as embodying “new provisions” on demilitarized zones. It stresses that, unlike non-defended localities, demilitarized zones cannot be established merely through a unilateral declaration; an agreement between the parties, made either before or during a conflict, is necessary. The manual adds:
Article 60 does not only imply prohibition of the setting-up of fixed defence establishments within [a demilitarized area] … [I]t is also prohibited to undertake military operations within the zone – always provided that the parties do not decide otherwise. A demilitarised zone shall not be open to occupation by the adversary, as in the case with non-defended localities.
The manual recalls that “the conditions required for a [demilitarized] area are the same as for non-defended localities”, with the only difference that the condition relating to activity supporting military operations “has been extended to apply to any activity connected with the military”.