Practice Relating to Rule 17. Choice of Means and Methods of Warfare

Note: For practice concerning precautions to be taken in the use of booby-traps, see Rule 80. For practice concerning precautions to be taken in the use of landmines, see Rules 81–82. For practice concerning precautions to be taken in the use of incendiary weapons, see Rule 84.
Additional Protocol I
Article 57(2)(a)(ii) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I provides that, with respect to attacks, the following precautions shall be taken:
Those who plan or decide upon an attack shall … take all feasible precautions in the choice of means and methods of attack with a view to avoiding, and in any event to minimizing, incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects. 
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), Geneva, 8 June 1977, Article 57(2)(a)(ii). Article 57 was adopted by 90 votes in favour, none against and 4 abstentions. CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.42, 27 May 1977, p. 211.
Second Protocol to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property
Article 7 of the 1999 Second Protocol to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property states:
Without prejudice to other precautions required by international humanitarian law in the conduct of military operations, each Party to the conflict shall:
(b) take all feasible precautions in the choice of means and methods of attack with a view to avoiding, and in any event to minimizing, incidental damage to cultural property protected under Article 4 of the Convention. 
Second Protocol for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, The Hague, 26 March 1999, Article 7.
New Delhi Draft Rules
Article 9 of the 1956 New Delhi Draft Rules states:
All possible precautions shall be taken, both in the choice of the weapons and methods to be used, and in the carrying out of an attack, to ensure that no losses or damage are caused to the civilian population in the vicinity of the objective, or to its dwellings, or that such losses or damage are at least reduced to a minimum.
In particular, in towns and other places with a large civilian population, which are not in the vicinity of military or naval operations, the attack shall be conducted with the greatest degree of precision. It must not cause losses or destruction beyond the immediate surroundings of the objective attacked. 
Draft Rules for the Limitation of the Dangers Incurred by the Civilian Population in Time of War, drafted by the International Committee of the Red Cross, September 1956, submitted to governments for their consideration on behalf of the 19th International Conference of the Red Cross, New Delhi, 28 October–7 November, Res. XIII, Article 9.
Memorandum of Understanding on the Application of IHL between Croatia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Paragraph 6 of the 1991 Memorandum of Understanding on the Application of IHL between Croatia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia requires that hostilities be conducted in accordance with Article 57 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
Memorandum of Understanding on the Application of International Humanitarian Law between Croatia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Geneva, 27 November 1991, § 6.
Agreement on the Application of IHL between the Parties to the Conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Paragraph 2.5 of the 1992 Agreement on the Application of IHL between the Parties to the Conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina requires that hostilities be conducted in accordance with Article 57 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
Agreement between Representatives of Mr. Alija Izetbegović (President of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and President of the Party of Democratic Action), Representatives of Mr. Radovan Karadžić (President of the Serbian Democratic Party), and Representative of Mr. Miljenko Brkić (President of the Croatian Democratic Community), Geneva, 22 May 1992, § 2.5.
San Remo Manual
Paragraph 46(c) of the 1994 San Remo Manual provides that those who plan, decide upon or execute an attack shall “take all feasible precautions in the choice of methods and means in order to avoid or minimize collateral casualties or damage”. 
Louise Doswald-Beck (ed.), San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea, 12 June 1994, Prepared by international lawyers and naval experts convened by the International Institute of Humanitarian Law, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1995, § 46(c).
Argentina
Argentina’s Law of War Manual (1989) states:
Those who plan or decide upon an attack shall, as far as possible, take all precautions in the choice of means and methods of attack in order to minimize the loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects which the attack may incidentally cause. 
Argentina, Leyes de Guerra, PC-08-01, Público, Edición 1989, Estado Mayor Conjunto de las Fuerzas Armadas, aprobado por Resolución No. 489/89 del Ministerio de Defensa, 23 April 1990, § 4.07(1).
Australia
Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) states: “All feasible precautions [must be taken], in the choice of means and methods of attack, to minimise collateral damage.” 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, § 556(e); see also Law of Armed Conflict, Commanders’ Guide, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 Supplement 1 – Interim Edition, 7 March 1994, § 957(b).
With respect to precision guided weapons, the manual specifies:
The existence of precision guided weapons … in a military inventory does not mean that they must necessarily be used in preference to conventional weapons even though the latter may cause collateral damage. In many cases, conventional weapons may be used to bomb legitimate military targets without violating LOAC requirements. It is a command decision as to which weapon to use; this decision will be guided by the basic principles of LOAC: military necessity, unnecessary suffering and proportionality. 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, § 834; see also Law of Armed Conflict, Commanders’ Guide, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 Supplement 1 – Interim Edition, 7 March 1994, §§ 317 and 1024.
Australia
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) states that it is the duty of Australian Defence Force commanders to take “all feasible precautions, in the choice of means and methods of attack, to minimise collateral damage”. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, § 5.61.
In its chapter on “Air Operations”, the manual states: “The LOAC principles of proportionality, military necessity and unnecessary suffering determine which targets may be attacked by military aircraft”. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict , Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, § 8.36.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
Burundi
Burundi’s Regulations on International Humanitarian Law (2007) states: “The means of combat must be chosen and utilized so as to avoid incidental damage [to civilian objects] and losses to civilians [and to] minimize the inevitable incidental damage and losses.” 
Burundi, Règlement n° 98 sur le droit international humanitaire, Ministère de la Défense Nationale et des Anciens Combattants, Projet “Moralisation” (BDI/B-05), August 2007, Part I bis, p. 16–17; see also Part I bis, p. 32.
The Regulations also states “belligerents must … choose weapons and methods which pose a minimal risk of causing collateral damage to civilians.” 
Burundi, Règlement n° 98 sur le droit international humanitaire, Ministère de la Défense Nationale et des Anciens Combattants, Projet “Moralisation” (BDI/B-05), August 2007, Part I bis, p. 33; see also Part I bis, p. 81.
Benin
Benin’s Military Manual (1995) states: “Precautions must be taken in the choice of weapons and methods of combat in order to avoid civilian losses and damage to civilian objects.” 
Benin, Le Droit de la Guerre, III fascicules, Forces Armées du Bénin, Ministère de la Défense nationale, 1995, Fascicule III, p. 11.
The manual specifies that: “The direction and the moment of an attack must be chosen so as to reduce civilian losses and damage to civilian objects as much as possible.” 
Benin, Le Droit de la Guerre, III fascicules, Forces Armées du Bénin, Ministère de la Défense nationale, 1995, Fascicule III, p. 14.
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (1992) states:
The general rule [to spare civilians and civilian objects] implies the duty to choose and to use means of combat with a view to avoiding civilian losses and damage to civilian objects or with a view to minimizing civilian losses and damage to civilian objects which are unavoidable. 
Cameroon, Droit international humanitaire et droit de la guerre, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les Forces Armées, Présidence de la République, Ministère de la Défense, Etat-major des Armées, Troisième Division, Edition 1992, p. 95.
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) states:
Precautions required by the law of armed conflict and international humanitarian law
The aim of these precautions is to minimize civilian and military losses:
- Superfluous suffering that is not justifiable for the domination of the adversary is prohibited. Generally, it is prohibited to use means or methods of warfare of a nature to cause unnecessary losses … or excessive suffering.
- The military and tactical context must take into account the military objectives, civilian objects, the lines of attack and defensive positions. Furthermore, the expression “if the tactical situation permits” refers to a precaution or a measure which must be taken if it is compatible with the mission. 
Cameroon, Droit des conflits armés et droit international humanitaire, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les forces de défense, Ministère de la Défense, Présidence de la République, Etat-major des Armées, 2006, p. 223, § 224.
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) states: “Commanders, planners and staff officers have … to take all feasible precautions in the choice of means and methods of attack to avoid, and in any event to minimize, collateral civilian damage.” 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 4-3, § 24(b).
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001) states in its chapter on targeting:
1. Under the LOAC commanders, planners and staff officers have the following obligations:
b. to take all feasible precautions in the choice of means and methods of attack to avoid, and in any event to minimize, collateral civilian damage. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 417.1.b.
Canada
Canada’s Use of Force Manual (2008), in a section entitled “Principles and rules governing the use of force that directly relates to the conduct of armed conflict”, states:
Proportionality. Planners and commanders must refrain from launching an attack which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated. All feasible precautions must be taken in the choice of means and methods of attack to avoid, and in any event to minimize, incidental civilian loss and damage (i.e., collateral damage). 
Canada, Use of Force for CF Operations, Canadian Forces Joint Publication, Chief of the Defence Staff, B-GJ-005-501/FP-001, August 2008, § 112.4.
Central African Republic
The Central African Republic’s Instructor’s Manual (1999) states in Volume 3 (Instruction for non-commissioned officers studying for the level 1 and 2 certificates and for future officers of the criminal police): “Precautions must be taken when choosing weapons or methods of combat to avoid civilian losses and damage to civilian objects.” 
Central African Republic, Le Droit de la Guerre, Fascicule No. 3: Formation pour l’obtention du Brevet d’Armes No. 1, du Brevet d’Armes No. 2 et le stage d’Officier de Police Judiciaire (OPJ), Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Centrafricaines, 1999, Chapter III, Section 1.
Côte d’Ivoire
Côte d’Ivoire’s Teaching Manual (2007) provides in Book II (Instruction of non-commissioned officers and officers):
I.2 Duties of the non-commissioned officer or officer
Before the action, the non-commissioned officer or officer must:
- plan the action to be undertaken to make it successful (route of attack which poses the fewest risks for non-combatants). 
Côte d’Ivoire, Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre II: Instruction du gradé et du cadre, Manuel de l’instructeur, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, p. 17; see also Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre III, Tome 1: Instruction de l’élève officier d’active de 1ère année, Manuel de l’élève, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, p. 40; Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre IV: Instruction du chef de section et du commandant de compagnie, Manuel de l’élève, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, p. 66.
In Book III, Volume 1 (Instruction of first-year trainee officers), the Teaching Manual provides:
IV.1.1. Obligations in the planning of offensive actions
In the preparation of an attack, a combatant must:
- carefully consider the tactics, weapon systems and munitions to be employed. He will take all precautions possible to avoid or at least to limit as much as possible the losses or damage inflicted on civilians or on civilian objects. 
Côte d’Ivoire, Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre III, Tome 1: Instruction de l’élève officier d’active de 1ère année, Manuel de l’élève, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, p. 48; see also Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre IV: Instruction du chef de section et du commandant de compagnie, Manuel de l’élève, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, p. 70.
Croatia
Croatia’s LOAC Compendium (1991) states: “Where there are tactically equivalent alternatives, the directions, time, objectives and targets of attack shall be chosen so as to cause the least damage to persons and objects.” 
Croatia, Compendium “Law of Armed Conflicts”, Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Defence, 1991, p. 41.
Croatia
Croatia’s Commanders’ Manual (1992) states: “To restrict civilian casualties and damages, the means of combat and weapons shall be adapted to the target.” 
Croatia, Basic Rules of the Law of Armed Conflicts – Commanders’ Manual, Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Defence, 1992, § 53; see also § 45.
Ecuador
Ecuador’s Naval Manual (1989) states:
The commander must decide, in light of all the facts known or reasonably available to him, including the need to conserve resources and complete the mission successfully, whether to adopt an alternative method of attack, if reasonably available, to reduce civilian casualties and damage. 
Ecuador, Aspectos Importantes del Derecho Internacional Marítimo que Deben Tener Presente los Comandantes de los Buques, Academia de Guerra Naval, 1989, § 8.1.2.1.
France
France’s LOAC Manual (2001) provides that those who plan or decide upon an attack shall “take all precautions which are practically possible in the choice of means and methods of attack with a view to avoiding, and in any event to minimizing, loss of civilian life”. 
France, Manuel de droit des conflits armés, Ministère de la Défense, Direction des Affaires Juridiques, Sous-Direction du droit international humanitaire et du droit européen, Bureau du droit des conflits armés, 2001, p. 89; see also Fiche didactique relative au droit des conflits armés, Directive of the Ministry of Defence, 4 January 2000, annexed to the Directive No. 147 of the Ministry of Defence of 4 January 2000, p. 2 and Fiche de Synthèse sur les Règles Applicables dans les Conflits Armés, Note No. 432/DEF/EMA/OL.2/NP, Général de Corps d’Armée Voinot (pour l’Amiral Lanxade, Chef d’Etat-major des Armées), 1992, § 5.2.
Germany
Germany’s Military Manual (1992) states: “Before engaging an objective, every responsible military leader shall … choose means and methods minimizing incidental injury and damage to civilian life and objects.” 
Germany, Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflicts – Manual, DSK VV207320067, edited by The Federal Ministry of Defence of the Federal Republic of Germany, VR II 3, August 1992, English translation of ZDv 15/2, Humanitäres Völkerrecht in bewaffneten Konflikten – Handbuch, August 1992, § 457.
Hungary
Hungary’s Military Manual (1992) states: “Where there are tactically equivalent alternatives, the directions, time, objectives and targets of attack shall be chosen so as to cause the least damage to persons and objects.” 
Hungary, A Hadijog, Jegyzet a Katonai, Föiskolák Hallgatói Részére, Magyar Honvédség Szolnoki Repülötiszti Föiskola, 1992, p. 66; see also p. 54.
Israel
Israel’s Manual on the Laws of War (1998) states: “One should plan the means of attack in a way that will prevent, or at least reduce, the injury to the civilian population.” 
Israel, Laws of War in the Battlefield, Manual, Military Advocate General Headquarters, Military School, 1998, p. 39.
Israel
Israel’s Manual on the Rules of Warfare (2006) states:
The rules of war have laid down a number of rules of engagement in a theatre of war containing civilians:
- The means of attack should be planned in such a way as to prevent or at least minimise casualties among the civilian population. 
Israel, Rules of Warfare on the Battlefield, Military Advocate-General’s Corps Command, IDF School of Military Law, Second Edition, 2006, pp. 27–28.
The Manual on the Rules of Warfare (2006) is a second edition of the Manual on the Laws of War (1998).
Italy
Italy’s LOAC Elementary Rules Manual (1997) states: “To restrict civilian casualties and damages, the means of combat and weapons shall be adapted to the target.” 
Italy, Regole elementari di diritto di guerra, SMD-G-012, Stato Maggiore della Difesa, I Reparto, Ufficio Addestramento e Regolamenti, Rome, 1991, § 53; see also § 45.
Kenya
Kenya’s LOAC Manual (1997) states: “In the choice of weapons or methods of combat, care must be taken to avoid incidental loss or damage to civilians or civilian objects.” 
Kenya, Law of Armed Conflict, Military Basic Course (ORS), 4 Précis, The School of Military Police, 1997, Précis No. 4, p. 1.
The manual specifies that:
The direction and the moment of the attack shall be chosen so as to limit civilian casualties and damage (e.g. attack of factory after normal working hours).
The precautions to be taken in targeting for particular weapons and fire units are equivalent to those to be respected in the choice of a military objective. The tactical result expected (e.g. destruction, neutralization) and the destructive power of the ammunition used (quantity, ballistic data, precision, point or area covered, possible effects on the environment) should especially be taken into account. 
Kenya, Law of Armed Conflict, Military Basic Course (ORS), 4 Précis, The School of Military Police, 1997, Précis No. 4, p. 8.
Madagascar
Madagascar’s Military Manual (1994) states: “In order to minimize civilian losses and damage to civilian objects, means of combat and weapons shall be appropriate to the objective.” 
Madagascar, Le Droit des Conflits Armés, Ministère des Forces Armées, August 1994, Fiche No. 6-O, § 24.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands requires that “precautionary measures be taken in the choice of means and methods of attack in order to ensure that collateral damage (loss of civilian life and damage to civilian objects) is reduced to the maximum extent possible”. 
Netherlands, Toepassing Humanitair Oorlogsrecht, Voorschift No. 27-412/1, Koninklijke Landmacht, Ministerie van Defensie, 1993, p. V-11.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states:
[M]eans and methods of fighting are forbidden where their execution or deployment make it impossible to limit the repercussions to combatants and military targets, so that civilians and civilian property may also be involved. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0403; see also § 0405.
In its chapter on behaviour in battle, the manual states: “All practically feasible precautionary measures must also be taken when choosing means and methods, in order to avoid collateral damage to cultural property”. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0529.
The manual further states:
When selecting objectives and preparing to attack, the attacker must:
- take practical precautionary measures in the choice of means and methods, in order to limit collateral damage (loss of life among civilians and the civilian population and damage to civilian objects), as far as possible;
At this stage, it is a matter for those who are preparing, or deciding on, an attack. It may be a divisional commander with his staff, but also the commanding officer of a patrol. There is not always any choice of methods and means before an attack. However, more choice exists with larger units and groupings than at lower level. Thought must be given to the choice of methods or techniques of attack, resources (weapons and weapon systems), timing, and whether or not to warn the civilian population. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0542; see also § 0548.
In its chapter on peace operations, the manual states: “Even a peace force does not have an unfettered choice of methods and means when the use of force is indicated.” 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 1216.
New Zealand
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) states:
Those who plan or decide upon an attack shall … take all feasible precautions in the choice of means and methods of attack with a view to avoiding, and in any event to minimizing, incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects. 
New Zealand, Interim Law of Armed Conflict Manual, DM 112, New Zealand Defence Force, Headquarters, Directorate of Legal Services, Wellington, November 1992, § 518(1).
Peru
Peru’s IHL Manual (2004) defines the terms “means of warfare” and “methods of warfare” as:
Means of warfare: The weapons and weapon systems by means of which violence is exercised against the enemy.
Methods of warfare: The tactics or strategy used in hostilities to defeat the enemy by using available information on him together with weapons, movement and surprise. 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial Nº 1394-2004-DE/CCFFAA/CDIH-FFAA, Lima, 1 December 2004, Chapter 9, Glossary of Terms.
The manual also states:
Appropriate means of warfare must be chosen and used with a view to:
(a) preventing unnecessary civilian casualties and damage to civilian property;
(b) minimizing, at any event, the number of casualties and unavoidable damage. 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial Nº 1394-2004-DE/CCFFAA/CDIH-FFAA, Lima, 1 December 2004, § 27.b.
Peru
Peru’s IHL and Human Rights Manual (2010) states:
Appropriate means of combat must be chosen in order to:
(a) Prevent unnecessary civilian casualties and damage to civilian property.
(b) Minimize, at any event, the number of civilian casualties and unavoidable damage. 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario y Derechos Humanos para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial No. 049-2010/DE/VPD, Lima, 21 May 2010, § 28(b), p. 237.
In its Glossary of Terms, the manual also states:
Means of warfare: The weapons and weapon systems by means of which violence is exercised against the enemy.
Methods of warfare: The tactics or strategy used in the conduct of hostilities to defeat the enemy by using available information on him, together with weapons, movement and surprise. 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario y Derechos Humanos para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial No. 049-2010/DE/VPD, Lima, 21 May 2010, p. 409.
Philippines
The Joint Circular on Adherence to IHL and Human Rights (1991) of the Philippines states:
The use of aerial/naval and artillery/mortar fires for interdiction and harassment especially when the fire missions are unobserved and near populated areas and when civilian casualties/material damages are likely to be incurred is strictly prohibited … Air strikes may be used under judicious circumstances. Targets shall be carefully evaluated by the close air support commander for approval by the Area Commander. During an actual engagement where the security of an AFP/PNP unit or critical installation/facility is threatened and time is of the essence, the commander of the engaged unit, on his own authority, may selectively apply available fire support means to defend his unit or position, however exercising utmost care to prevent or minimize civilian casualties/material damage. 
Philippines, Implementation Guidelines for Presidential Memorandum Order No. 393, dated 9 September 1991, Directing the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippines National Police to Reaffirm their Adherence to the Principles of Humanitarian Law and Human Rights in the Conduct of Security/Police Operations, Joint Circular Number 2-91, Department of National Defense, Department of Interior and Local Government, 1991, § 2(c).
Russian Federation
The Russian Federation’s Regulations on the Application of IHL (2001) states:
Whenever there is a choice between several means and methods of engaging the enemy by fire, or between types of fire, for getting equal results preference is given to those means and methods … that pose the least danger to the civilian population and objects. 
Russian Federation, Regulations on the Application of International Humanitarian Law by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, Moscow, 8 August 2001, § 21; see also § 29.
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) states: “Means and methods of attack must be chosen in order to minimize collateral damage to the civilian population and to civilian objects.” 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Publicación OR7-004, 2 Tomos, aprobado por el Estado Mayor del Ejército, División de Operaciones, 18 March 1996, Vol. I, § 2.3.b.(2).
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states: “Means and methods of attack must be chosen with a view to minimizing incidental loss or injury among the civilian population and collateral damage to civilian property.” 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Tomo 1, Publicación OR7–004, (Edición Segunda), Mando de Adiestramiento y Doctrina, Dirección de Doctrina, Orgánica y Materiales, 2 November 2007, § 2.3.b.(2); see also § 4.5.a.(1).(a).
Sweden
Sweden’s IHL Manual (1991) states that, after target verification, “the next step is for the attacker to select weapons and methods of attack such that unintentional civilian losses and damage to civilian property may be avoided as far as possible”. 
Sweden, International Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflict, with reference to the Swedish Total Defence System, Swedish Ministry of Defence, January 1991, Section 3.2.1.5, p. 71.
Switzerland
Switzerland’s Regulation on Legal Bases for Conduct during an Engagement (2005) states:
12.5 Precautionary measures
165 The following precautionary measures must be taken into consideration when making decisions, when issuing orders and in particular when conducting military operations.
166 Anyone who attacks:
2 must take all required precautions when choosing the means and methods of attack with a view to limiting maximally loss, injury and damage among the civilian population and its property. 
Switzerland, Bases légales du comportement à l’engagement (BCE), Règlement 51.007/IVf, Swiss Army, issued based on Article 10 of the Ordinance for the Organization of the Federal Department for Defence, Civil Protection and Sports of 7 March 2003, entry into force on 1 July 2005, §§ 165–166(2). The German language version notes in § 166(2): “must take all feasible precautions ... with a view to minimizing loss, injury and damage among the civilian population and its property [“muss ... alle praktisch möglichen Vorsichtsmassnahmen treffen, um Verluste, Verwundete und Schädigungen an der Zivilbevölkerung und deren Eigentum auf ein Mindestmass zu beschränken”]”.
[emphasis in original]
Togo
Togo’s Military Manual (1996) states: “Precautions must be taken in the choice of weapons and methods of combat in order to avoid civilian losses and damage to civilian objects.” 
Togo, Le Droit de la Guerre, III fascicules, Etat-major Général des Forces Armées Togolaises, Ministère de la Défense nationale, 1996, Fascicule III, p. 11.
The manual specifies that: “The direction and the moment of an attack must be chosen so as to reduce civilian losses and damage to civilian objects as much as possible.” 
Togo, Le Droit de la Guerre, III fascicules, Etat-major Général des Forces Armées Togolaises, Ministère de la Défense nationale, 1996, Fascicule III, p. 14.
Ukraine
Ukraine’s IHL Manual (2004) states:
2.3.3.2. Direction and time of offensive action shall be chosen in order to minimize human casualties and destruction of civilian objects (e.g. fire damage to an enemy military plant after the end of its working hours).
2.4.4. … When choosing weapons one shall consider its capacity and peculiarities of objectives (targets) with a view to preventing excessive damage and destruction. 
Ukraine, Manual on the Application of IHL Rules, Ministry of Defence, 11 September 2004, §§ 2.3.3.2 and 2.4.4.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Pamphlet (1981) states: “In the choice of weapons or methods of combat, care must be taken to avoid incidental loss or damage to civilians or civilian objects.” 
United Kingdom, The Law of Armed Conflict, D/DAT/13/35/66, Army Code 71130 (Revised 1981), Ministry of Defence, prepared under the Direction of The Chief of the General Staff, 1981, Section 4, p. 13, § 4(b).
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states: “There is the obligation to select the means (that is, weapons) or methods of attack (that is, tactics) which will cause the least incidental damage commensurate with military success.” 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 5.32.4.
The manual further states:
With respect to attacks, the following precautions shall be taken:
(1) those who plan or decide upon an attack shall:
(b) take all feasible precautions in the choice of means and methods of attack with a view to avoiding, and in any event to minimizing, incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 5.32; see also 13.32 (maritime warfare).
United States of America
The US Air Force Pamphlet (1976) states:
Those who plan or decide upon an attack must take all feasible precautions in the choice of means and methods of attack with a view to avoiding, and in any event to minimizing, incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, and damage to civilian objects. 
United States, Air Force Pamphlet 110-31, International Law – The Conduct of Armed Conflict and Air Operations, US Department of the Air Force, 1976, § 5-3(c)(1)(b)(i)(b).
United States of America
The US Naval Handbook (1995) states:
The commander must decide, in light of all the facts known or reasonably available to him, including the need to conserve resources and complete the mission successfully, whether to adopt an alternative method of attack, if reasonably available, to reduce civilian casualties and damage. 
United States, The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations, NWP 1-14M/MCWP 5-2.1/COMDTPUB P5800.7, issued by the Department of the Navy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and Headquarters, US Marine Corps, and Department of Transportation, US Coast Guard, October 1995 (formerly NWP 9 (Rev. A)/FMFM 1-10, October 1989), § 8.1.2.1.
United States of America
The US Naval Handbook (2007) states:
[T]he commander must decide, in light of all the facts known or reasonably available to him, including the need to conserve resources and complete the mission successfully, whether to adopt an alternative method of attack, if reasonably available, to reduce civilian casualties and damage. 
United States, The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations, NWP 1-14M/MCWP 5-12.1/COMDTPUB P5800.7, issued by the Department of the Navy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and Headquarters, US Marine Corps, and Department of Homeland Security, US Coast Guard, July 2007, § 8.3.1.
Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia’s Military Manual (1988) states that a means of attack proportionate to the importance of the objective should be selected if a civilian population is in the immediate vicinity. 
Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of, Propisi o Primeri Pravila Medjunarodnog Ratnog Prava u Oruzanim Snagama SFRJ, PrU-2, Savezni Sekretarijat za Narodnu Odbranu (Pravna Uprava), 1988, § 72(2).
Denmark
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (1973), as amended in 1978, provides:
Any person who uses war instruments or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or the general rules of international law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. a fine, lenient imprisonment or up to 12 years’ imprisonment]. 
Denmark, Military Criminal Code, 1973, as amended in 1978, § 25(1).
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (2005) provides:
Any person who deliberately uses war means [“krigsmiddel”] or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or international customary law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. imprisonment up to life imprisonment]. 
Denmark, Military Criminal Code, 2005, § 36(2).
Ireland
Under Ireland’s Geneva Conventions Act (1962), as amended in 1998, any “minor breach” of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, including violations of Article 57(2)(a)(ii), is a punishable offence. 
Ireland, Geneva Conventions Act, 1962, as amended in 1998, Section 4(1) and (4).
Norway
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. 
Norway, Military Penal Code, 1902, as amended in 1981, § 108(b).
Colombia
In 2007, in the Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, the Plenary Chamber of Colombia’s Constitutional Court stated:
The precautionary principle is the cornerstone of a number of specific rules which are all considered to have attained customary status and to be applicable in internal armed conflicts … Among these rules is … the obligation of the parties to a conflict to take all feasible precautions in the choice of means and methods of warfare with a view to avoiding, and in any event to minimizing, incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, Judgment of 25 April 2007, p. 99.
[footnote in original omitted]
Germany
In 2010, in the Fuel Tankers case, the Federal Prosecutor General at Germany’s Federal Court of Justice investigated whether war crimes or other crimes under domestic law had been committed in the course of an airstrike which was ordered by a colonel (Oberst) of the German armed forces against two tankers transporting fuel for the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan stolen by the Taliban near Kunduz and which resulted in the deaths of a number of civilians. The Federal Prosecutor General stated:
Pursuant to § 170 para. 2 StPO [Penal Procedure Code], the investigation proceedings which were initiated by the order of 12 March 2010 against Colonel (Oberst) Klein and Company Sergeant Major (Hauptfeldwebel) Wilhelm due to suspected offences under the VStGB [International Crimes Code] and other offences are to be terminated as a result of the investigations conducted and based on the sources of information set out hereafter and on the reasons given in detail hereafter. 
Germany, Federal Court of Justice, Federal Prosecutor General, Fuel Tankers case, Decision, 16 April 2010, p. 1.
The Federal Prosecutor General further stated:
IV. Facts
3.
Colonel (Oberst) Klein gave Company Sergeant Major (Hauptfeldwebel) Wilhelm the order to make the aircraft personnel undertake the usual so-called Weaponeering and Targeting. This involves checking the scope of the impact of the available weapons and to render it visible on the video pictures by drawing an ellipsis. The aircraft was carrying 500 pound bombs and 2,000 pound bombs. From the very beginning Colonel (Oberst) Klein excluded the use of 2,000 pound bombs because they might have affected the nearby farm building. Colonel (Oberst) Klein ordered the JTAC [Joint Terminal Attack Controller] to find out which weapons would be necessary to fight the fuel tankers and the Taliban in their surroundings. He received the information from the aircraft crew that six 500 pound bombs, which should detonate at a certain distance from the ground, would be required. Colonel (Oberst) Klein and the JTAC considered this quantity structure as completely excessive. At this point a decision on the use of weapons was not yet made.
4.
… [Subsequently, Colonel (Oberst) Klein] gave Company Sergeant Major (Hauptfeldwebel) Wilhelm the order to coordinate the use of weapons with the pilots with the objective of minimizing the weapons’ impact and to strictly limit their impact to the fuel tankers, the insurgents surrounding the tankers but under no circumstances beyond the sandbank. After discussing the proposals of the aircraft crew and the JTAC he came to the conclusion that the smallest possible impact of the weapons suitable to destroy the two fuel tankers could be achieved by dropping one 500 pound bomb on each of the two vehicles. Moreover, Colonel (Oberst) Klein decided to drop the bombs by using a delayed detonation mechanism in order to reduce their cluster effect so that the danger of killing or injuring the persons not in direct proximity of the fuel tankers was as low as possible. 
Germany, Federal Court of Justice, Federal Prosecutor General, Fuel Tankers case, Decision, 16 April 2010, pp. 22–24.
The Federal Prosecutor General further stated:
Criminal responsibility under § 211 StGB [i.e. for murder under Germany’s Penal Code]
b)
Colonel (Oberst) Klein’s actions were lawful under international law and therefore justified under domestic criminal law …
cc)
Even considering the fact that the bombing killed civilians to be protected under the international law of armed conflict, the order to attack was lawful under international law.
(5)
In addition to the obligation to respect military proportionality, the international law of armed conflict includes the obligation to use means of warfare which could affect civilians as sparingly as possible (Obligation to use the mildest means, see Art. 57 para. 2 sub-para. a (ii) AP [the 1977 Additional Protocol] I …).
Also in this respect the perpetrator’s perspective when undertaking his assessment at the time must be assumed. As stated above, this perspective was characterized by Colonel (Oberst) Klein justifiably assuming that no civilians were present. It is only added subsidiarily that if the presence of civilians had been assumed the obligation to use the mildest possible means would not have been violated. Prior to dropping the bombs, Colonel (Oberst) Klein discussed at length with the air-traffic control officer (Flugleitoffizier) and the pilots whether a milder means would suffice to achieve the objective.
Contrary to the pilots’ further reaching proposals, Colonel (Oberst) Klein decided to employ the smallest available bomb size (500 pounds) and to make use of the delayed trigger mechanism which reduces the scope of the bomb’s impact. A violation of the principle of the mildest possible means can therefore be excluded. 
Germany, Federal Court of Justice, Federal Prosecutor General, Fuel Tankers case, Decision, 16 April 2010, pp. 59–67.
Denmark
In 2008, in a joint cost benefit analysis of a possible introduction of a national moratorium on all cluster munitions, Denmark’s Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated:
[T]here are specific international legal requirements for weapons with regard to their precision [and] the possible reduction in their damaging effect …
In choosing between the use of several [lawful] weapons, the weapon used must be the one with the least adverse humanitarian consequences. 
Denmark, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, A Cost Benefit Analysis of a Possible Introduction of a National Danish Moratorium on All Cluster Munitions, 1 April 2008, p. 16.
Indonesia
On the basis of an interview with a senior officer of the armed forces, the Report on the Practice of Indonesia states that the Indonesian armed forces normally observe the precautions listed in Article 57 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
Report on the Practice of Indonesia, 1997, Interview with a senior officer of the Indonesian armed forces, Chapter 1.6.
Iraq
On the basis of a reply by Iraq’s Ministry of Defence to a questionnaire, the Report on the Practice of Iraq states that it appears from the practice of the Iraqi armed forces during the Iran-Iraq War that “each target has its own special weapon”. 
Report on the Practice of Iraq, 1998, Reply by the Iraqi Ministry of Defence to a questionnaire, July 1997, Chapter 1.5.
Islamic Republic of Iran
The Report on the Practice of the Islamic Republic of Iran states, with reference to the Iran-Iraq War: “Iran claimed that … the time of the attack was chosen in a way that the least casualties to civilians would be inflicted. In Iran’s view, low damage for Iraqi civilians was the proof of this claim.” 
Report on the Practice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1997, Chapter 1.6.
Israel
The Report on the Practice of Israel states:
During the pre-attack planning phases, the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] incorporates all feasible precautions in order to ensure, as far as possible, that incidental civilian loss, injury or damage is minimized. These measures include: detailed and continuous assessment of all available information in relation to the target; use of best available ammunition or weapon systems which enable minimizing incidental damage; and timing of the attack to minimize, as far as possible, incidental damage. 
Report on the Practice of Israel, 1997, Chapter 1.6; see also Chapter 1.3.
Israel
In 2009, in a report on Israeli operations in Gaza between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009 (the “Gaza Operation”, also known as “Operation Cast Lead”), Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs listed a number of targeting precautions required of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) commanders:
225. The document [operational order] further confirmed the importance of minimising incidental harm to civilians and civilian facilities. The operational order provided that … “any attack on a legitimate target was to be planned to minimise collateral harm to civilians and civilian objectives, including by the determination of: … the means of attack … etc.”
255. Third, the IDF gave considerable care to the choice of munitions. Wherever possible, and even though it is not strictly required under international law, the IDF conducted pinpoint surgical aerial strikes, using precision guided munitions. Several missiles were diverted moments before impact for this reason. In total, about 80 percent of the air missiles fired by Israel were precision guided.
257. Fifth, in several cases, military targets were destroyed from the ground using mechanical equipment, rather than bombed from the air, in order to minimise collateral damage. This approach enabled the orderly evacuation of civilians and kept damage to surrounding areas at a minimum, although it exposed IDF personnel to additional risk.
258. Sixth, to the extent feasible, the IDF timed attacks on targets so as to cause minimum collateral damage. For example, buildings normally occupied only during daylight hours, and military targets which were located in proximity to such buildings, were struck at night. Similarly, moving vehicles were planned to be hit when they had travelled as far away as possible from civilian bystanders. 
Israel, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Operation in Gaza 27 December 2008–18 January 2009: Factual and Legal Aspects, 29 July 2009, §§ 225, 255 and 257–258.
Israel
In July 2010, in a second update of its July 2009 report on Israeli operations in Gaza between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated:
58. … IDF [Israel Defense Forces’] orders include the obligation to take all feasible precautions in order to minimize the incidental loss of civilian life or property, such as by adjusting … the means of attack …
65. … The Israeli forces employed a burst of four 120mm “Keshet” mortar rounds, fired in quick succession. The Keshet mortar contains advanced target acquisition and navigation systems and was the most precise weapon available to Israeli forces at that time. …
66. Israel acknowledges that, while the strike was effective in removing the threat to Israeli forces, it also resulted in the regrettable loss of civilian lives. Although the MAG [Military Advocate General] found that the IDF had not violated the Law of Armed Conflict with respect to this incident, as part of Israel’s efforts to minimize civilian casualties under all circumstances, the MAG reiterated the recommendation of the special command investigation to formulate more stringent definitions in military orders to govern the use of mortars in populated areas and in close proximity to sensitive facilities. The IDF Chief of General Staff has ordered the undertaking of staff work to draft the required orders. 
Israel, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Gaza Operation Investigations: Second Update, 19 July 2010, §§ 58 and 65–66.
Japan
The Report on the Practice of Japan refers to a statement made by Japan at the CDDH to the effect that “those who planned an attack by incendiary weapons were required to weigh carefully beforehand whether some other means of attack could be used in order to minimize civilian casualties”. 
Report on the Practice of Japan, 1998, Chapter 1.6, referring to Statement by Japan at the CDDH, Official Records, Vol. XVI, CDDH/IV/SR.27, 19 May 1976, p. 279, § 24.
Malaysia
According to the Report on the Practice of Malaysia, the obligation to choose means and methods of warfare with a view to avoiding or minimizing incidental loss of civilian life and damage to civilian objects forms part of Malaysian practice. 
Report on the Practice of Malaysia, 1997, Answers to additional questions on Chapter 1.6.
Netherlands
According to the Government of the Netherlands, commanders have to take all the precautionary measures required by Article 57 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I when carrying out an attack. 
Netherlands, Lower House of Parliament, Memorandum in response to the report on the ratification of the Additional Protocols, 1985–1986 Session, Doc. 18 277 (R 1247), No. 6, 16 December 1985, p. 7, § 17.
Switzerland
In 2005, Switzerland withdrew its reservations to Articles 57 and 58 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
Switzerland, Withdrawal of reservations to the 1977 Additional Protocol I, 17 June 2005.
Syrian Arab Republic
The Report on the Practice of the Syrian Arab Republic asserts that the Syrian Arab Republic considers Article 57 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I to be part of customary international law.  
Report on the Practice of the Syrian Arab Republic, 1997, Chapter 1.6.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 1991, in a report submitted to the UN Security Council on operations in the Gulf War, the United Kingdom stated: “Attacks have been directed exclusively at military objectives, using precision weapons wherever possible, particularly in areas where there may be civilians near the targets.” 
United Kingdom, Letter dated 13 February 1991 to the President of the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/22218, 13 February 1991, p. 1.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 1991, during a debate in the UN Security Council on the Gulf War, the United Kingdom stated that all targets were carefully selected and that precision weapons were used wherever possible. 
United Kingdom, Statement before the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/PV.2977, 16 February 1991.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2003, during a debate in the House of Commons, the UK Secretary of State for Defence made a statement and replied to questions by Members:
The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Geoffrey Hoon): With permission, Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a statement about military operations to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction.
I would like to draw the attention of the House to two particular points. First, that coalition forces will take every possible care to minimise civilian casualties or damage to civilian infrastructure. The coalition will use modern weapons, which are more accurate than ever, but we can never unfortunately exclude the possibility of civilian casualties, tragic though those always are. However, people should treat with caution Iraq's claims of civilian casualties. The Iraqi people are not our enemies, and we are determined to do all we can to help them build the better future that they deserve.
Secondly, I caution the House against suggestions that this campaign will be over in a very short time …
Laura Moffatt (Crawley): My right hon. Friend has outlined the progress in this campaign. We must win the campaign and not allow our armed forces to go into conflict without the correct weaponry to protect them. Could he say something about the more controversial weapons that may need to be used, such as depleted uranium heads on weapons and cluster bombs, for our constituents who may have concerns about them?
Mr. Hoon: I emphasise that a range of weapons will have to be used to prosecute this campaign successfully and achieve the successful result that my hon. Friend rightly advocates. I will not allow our forces to be prevented from using those lawful weapons that are most suitable for achieving those tasks. I assure her equally that those weapons are used only after the most careful consideration. Depleted uranium and cluster bombs have a particular military purpose. If that purpose is necessary, they will be used; if it is not, they will not be used.
Mr. Neil Gerrard (Walthamstow): The Secretary of State has said that he wants civilian casualties to be minimised and yet, when my hon. Friend the Member for Crawley (Laura Moffatt) asked about cluster bombs, he would not rule out their use. Does he not see the contradiction between his two statements? The record of the use of cluster bombs is that they do, by their very nature, cause civilian casualties. In the first Gulf war, the United States used something like 60,000 cluster bombs, containing up to 20 million bomblets, in Iraq and Kuwait. Does the Secretary of State really believe that a repetition of that sort of behaviour will not cause civilian casualties?
Mr. Hoon: I made it clear that those particular weapons have a particular purpose. They will be used to achieve that purpose if it is necessary. Their use will be limited to those circumstances. I assure my hon. Friend that they are not used in a random way; but I would be failing in my duties as Secretary of State for Defence if I did not allow our armed forces to use the most appropriate weapons to deal with the threats against them. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Statements by the Secretary of State for Defence, Hansard, 20 March 2003, Vol. 401, Debates, cols. 1087, 1091 and 1093.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2003, during a debate in the House of Commons, the UK Secretary of State for Defence, Mr Hoon, replied to a question by a Member:
Mrs. Ann Cryer (Keighley): Is my right hon. Friend aware that the World Service is reporting that cluster bombs are being used in the area around Basra? I am sure that he is aware, as I am, of the long-term consequences for the civilian population of post-war Iraq of unexploded bomblets. Will he make it clear to his American counterpart, when they discuss Iraq, that we strongly disapprove of the use of anti-personnel land mines?
Mr. Hoon: I have made it clear when dealing with such questions on previous occasions that it is necessary to allow our forces to use the most effective and appropriate weapons against the threats that they perceive. My hon. Friend may or may not be aware that 17 tanks sought to attack British forces yesterday. Every one of those tanks was destroyed, fortunately without allied losses. I would not be confident in saying to our forces that they could not use a particular weapon that protected them against those kinds of attack – I should not be doing my job properly. As I have indicated to my hon. Friend and others on previous occasions, we look carefully at the use of weapons, and use particular weapons only when it is absolutely appropriate to do so. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Statement by the Secretary of State for Defence, Hansard, 26 March 2003, Vol. 402, Debates, col. 300.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2003, during a debate in the House of Commons, the UK Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Ministry of Defence, replied to questions by a Member:
Norman Lamb (North Norfolk): If he will make a statement on use of cluster bombs by the UK.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Mr. Adam Ingram): The cluster bomb is a legal weapon that fulfils a legitimate military role that cannot be effectively performed by other means. We reserve the right to use the most suitable lawful weapon available in the proportionate manner required by international law.
Norman Lamb: I thank the Minister for that answer, but may I ask him to confirm the extent of the use of cluster munitions, including ground-launch munitions, in Iraq? Given the absolute importance of protecting the civilian population from the deadly aftermath of the use of those weapons, can the Minister confirm that he will implement the proposals of Landmine Action and others concerning the user’s paying for the clear-up of the aftermath of the use of such weapons and providing full information to the civilian population so as to avoid any risk to that population?
Mr. Ingram: There is another imperative in the use of weapons, which is of course to try to minimise casualties among our own troops. That is the purpose of having the range of ammunition and equipment that is available to our troops in the Gulf. I would hope that the hon. Gentleman shares that objective, including the use of cluster bombs.
We have a very good record on clear-up, and we will always seek to proceed on that basis. Wherever we have been involved in conflicts involving the use of weapons, we have sought to clear up after ourselves. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Statements by the Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Ministry of Defence, Hansard, 31 March 2003, Vol. 402, Debates, col. 657.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2003, in reply to a written question in the House of Commons, the UK Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Ministry of Defence, wrote:
We have no means of ascertaining the numbers of military or civilian lives lost during the conflict in Iraq to date, although we make every effort to keep any impact upon the Iraqi civilian population to an absolute minimum. All our military planning is conducted in full accordance with our obligations under international law to employ the minimum necessary use of force to achieve military effect, and to avoid injury to non-combatants or civilian infrastructure. Practically, this is achieved through a combination of an extremely careful targeting process and highly accurate precision guided weapons. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Ministry of Defence, Hansard, 2 April 2003, Vol. 402, Written Answers, col. 738W.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2003, during a debate in the House of Commons, the UK Secretary of State for Defence made a statement and replied to questions by Members:
The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Geoffrey Hoon): With permission, Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a further statement about military action in Iraq and the efforts that we are making to help the Iraqi people to rebuild their country.
Throughout this campaign, the coalition has sought to use minimum force to achieve our military objectives. We have never sought to inflict unnecessary suffering on Iraqi civilians, or, indeed, on members of the Iraqi armed forces. We have consistently encouraged members of the Iraqi armed forces to end their increasingly futile resistance and return to their homes and families …
We took great care in the planning of recent operations in Basra: the aim was to remove remnants of the regime while minimising the risk to civilians and to our armed forces …
Mr. Elfyn Llwyd (Meirionnydd Nant Conwy): The Secretary of State referred to the use of minimum force and the need to minimise Iraqi civilian casualties. Does not the continued use of cluster bombs make that more difficult, and in due course will it not make the huge task of reconstruction much more difficult and dangerous?
Mr. Hoon: As I have said on previous occasions when that issue has arisen, the use of all weapons involves striking a balance. All weapons are capable of damaging the civilian population as well as those against whom they are targeted. It is necessary to strike a balance between not only the risk to civilians, but equally the protection of coalition forces. In relation to the use of cluster bombs, I am confident that the right balance has been struck.
Glenda Jackson (Hampstead and Highgate): If we do indeed owe a duty of care to the Iraqi people, how is it possible that we can still contemplate the use of cluster bombs, as it is well known that the greatest number of deaths and injuries are experienced by civilians from the hundreds of unexploded bomblets that lie around on the ground? What steps are being taken to ensure that civilians may not enter the areas where those bombs have been used before the bomblets can be removed or exploded?
Mr. Hoon: I have dealt with the general question on a number of occasions, so I will not repeat that again, but, on the specific point, careful note has been taken of where and when cluster bombs have been used and, as I have indicated to the House before, the people who most often risk their lives in dealing with the small failure rate of those weapons are members of Britain’s armed forces. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Statements by the Secretary of State for Defence, Hansard, 7 April 2003, Vol. 403, Debates, cols. 21–33.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2003, in reply to a written question in the House of Commons asking whether he would “make it his policy not to use cluster bombs in urban or populated areas in Iraq”, the UK Secretary of State for Defence wrote:
Cluster bombs are only used strictly in accordance with international law. This includes the principles of distinction and proportionality as well as precautionary measures to be taken in planning and conducting an attack, as contained in the First Additional Protocol of 1977 to the Geneva Conventions of 1949. The targeting process takes account of these principles in matching the type of weapon used to the target to be attacked. There will be circumstances when it would be considered more appropriate to use other munitions than cluster bombs. These circumstances are more likely to arise in urban or populated areas as cluster bombs engage targets that cover an area. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Secretary of State for Defence, Hansard, 14 April 2003, Vol. 403, Written Answers, col. 571W.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2003, in reply to a written question in the House of Commons, the UK Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Ministry of Defence, wrote:
We take our obligations under International Law and the Laws of Armed Conflict to avoid collateral damage and excessive military casualties very seriously. Any loss of life, particularly civilian, is deeply regrettable, but in a military operation the size of Operation Telic it is also unavoidable. Through very strict rules of engagement, the use of precision munitions and the tactical methods employed to liberate Iraq’s major cities, we are satisfied that the coalition did everything possible to avoid unnecessary casualties. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Ministry of Defence, Hansard, 1 September 2003, Vol. 409, Written Answers, col. 905W.
United States of America
In 1991, during a news briefing concerning the Gulf War, the US Secretary of Defense stated:
Iraq, on the other hand, has chosen to launch a highly inaccurate weapon – the SCUD missile – at major population centers, with no certainty about where the SCUDs will land. In contrast, we have carefully chosen our targets and we’ve bombed them with precision. 
United States, News Briefing by the US Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, 23 January 1991, annexed to Letter dated 25 January 1991 to the President of the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/22168, 29 January 1991, p. 3.
United States of America
In 1992, in its final report to Congress on the conduct of the Gulf War, the US Department of Defense stated:
Coalition forces took several steps to minimize the risk of injury to noncombatants. To the degree possible and consistent with allowable risk to aircraft and aircrews, aircraft and munitions were selected so that attacks on targets within populated areas would provide the greatest possible accuracy and the least risk to civilian objects and the civilian population … One reason for the maneuver plan adopted for the ground campaign was that it avoided populated areas, where Coalition and Iraqi civilian casualties and damage to civilian objects necessarily would have been high. This was a factor in deciding against an amphibious assault into Kuwait City … Iraqi units remaining in Kuwait City would cause the Coalition to engage in military operations in urban terrain, a form of fighting that is costly to attacker, defender, innocent civilians, and civilian objects. The decision was made to permit Iraqi forces to leave Kuwait City and engage them in the unpopulated area to the north. 
United States, Department of Defense, Final Report to Congress on the Conduct of the Persian Gulf War, 10 April 1992, Appendix O, The Role of the Law of War, ILM, Vol. 31, 1992, pp. 622 and 643.
United States of America
In 1993, in its report to Congress on the protection of natural and cultural resources during times of war, the US Department of Defense stated:
A number of steps can be taken by an attacker in order to minimize collateral damage to natural resources or cultural property. Many of these come in the design and development of weapons, weapon systems, and target intelligence, target acquisition, or weapons delivery systems. Each of these systems is enhanced by the quality of training provided [to] personnel responsible for their operation. U.S. efforts to develop, acquire, and utilize weapon systems such as the F-117 aircraft, the laser-guided bomb, and the Tomahawk missile are illustrative of the degree to which the armed services have sought precision in their military operations in order to minimize collateral damage … To the degree possible and consistent with allowable risks to aircraft and aircrews, [during the Gulf War] aircraft and munitions were selected so that attacks on targets in proximity to cultural objects would provide the greatest possible accuracy and the least risk of collateral damage to the cultural property. 
United States, Department of Defense, Report to Congress on International Policies and Procedures Regarding the Protection of Natural and Cultural Resources During Times of War, 19 January 1993, pp. 203 and 205.
United States of America
In March 2010, in a speech given at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law, the US State Department’s Legal Adviser stated:
Recently, a number of legal objections have been raised against U.S. targeting practices. …
Second, some have challenged the very use of advanced weapons systems, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, for lethal operations. But the rules that govern targeting do not turn on the type of weapon system used, and there is no prohibition under the laws of war on the use of technologically advanced weapons systems in armed conflict – such as pilotless aircraft or so-called smart bombs – so long as they are employed in conformity with applicable laws of war. Indeed, using such advanced technologies can ensure both that the best intelligence is available for planning operations and that civilian casualties are minimized in carrying out such operations.
Third, some have argued that the use of lethal force against specific individuals fails to provide adequate process and thus constitutes unlawful extrajudicial killing. But a state that is engaged in an armed conflict or in legitimate self-defense is not required to provide targets with legal process before the state may use lethal force. Our procedures and practices for identifying lawful targets are extremely robust, and advanced technologies have helped to make our targeting even more precise. In my experience, the principles of distinction and proportionality that the United States applies are not just recited at meetings. They are implemented rigorously throughout the planning and execution of lethal operations to ensure that such operations are conducted in accordance with all applicable law. 
United States, “The Obama Administration and International Law”, Speech given by the Legal Adviser of the US Department of State at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law, Washington DC, 25 March 2010.
[emphasis in original]
Zimbabwe
The Report on the Practice of Zimbabwe states that the provisions of Article 57 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I would be regarded as customary by Zimbabwe because of its adoption of the Geneva Conventions Amendment Act which incorporates the 1977 Additional Protocol I into Zimbabwe’s law and practice. 
Report on the Practice of Zimbabwe, 1998, Chapter 1.6.
No data.
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
During the air campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999, NATO expressly stated that it looked specifically at the weapon to be used against a specific target:
Once we’ve done that [target identification] we then look at the sort of weapons that we use. We try and make sure that we use a specific weapon which is specialised and is the best possible weapon to use against that specific target. 
NATO, Press Conference by NATO Spokesperson Jamie Shea and Air Commodore David Wilby, Brussels, 3 April 1999, p. 11.
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
With respect to the air campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999, the Secretary-General of NATO declared that “international law and public opinion” required the use of precision weapons. 
Vago Muradian, Robertson: “Europe Must Spend More Wisely to Achieve Gains”, Defense Daily, 8 December 1999, p. 6, cited in Stuart W. Belt, Missiles over Kosovo: Emergence, Lex Lata, of a Customary Norm Requiring the Use of Precision Munition in Urban Areas, Naval Law Review, Vol. 47, 2000, p. 165.
No data.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
In its judgment in the Kupreškić case in 2000, the ICTY Trial Chamber stated that Article 57 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I was now part of customary international law, not only because it specified and fleshed out general pre-existing norms, but also because it did not appear to be contested by any State, including those who had not ratified the Protocol. 
ICTY, Kupreškić case, Judgment, 14 January 2000, § 524.
With reference to the Martens Clause, the Trial Chamber held:
The prescriptions of … [Article 57 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I] (and of the corresponding customary rules) must be interpreted so as to construe as narrowly as possible the discretionary power to attack belligerents and, by the same token, so as to expand the protection accorded to civilians. 
ICTY, Kupreškić case, Judgment, 14 January 2000, § 525.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
In its final report to the ICTY Prosecutor in 2000, the Committee Established to Review the NATO Bombing Campaign Against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia stated:
The military worth of the target would need to be considered in relation to the circumstances prevailing at the time. If there is a choice of weapons or methods of attack available, a commander should select those which are most likely to avoid, or at least minimize, incidental damage. In doing so, however, he is entitled to take account of factors such as stocks of different weapons and likely future demands, the timeliness of attack and risks to his own forces. In determining whether or not the mens rea requirement [intention or recklessness, for the offence of unlawful attack under Article 3 of the 1993 ICTY Statute] has been met, it should be borne in mind that commanders deciding on an attack have duties:
b) to take all practicable precautions in the choice of methods and means of warfare with a view to avoiding or, in any event to minimizing, incidental civilian casualties or civilian property damage. 
ICTY, Final Report to the Prosecutor by the Committee Established to Review the NATO Bombing Campaign Against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, The Hague, 14 June 2000, §§ 21 and 28.
European Court of Human Rights
In its judgment in Ergi v. Turkey in 1998, the European Court of Human Rights held:
The responsibility of the State is not confined to circumstances where there is significant evidence that misdirected fire from agents of the State has killed a civilian. It may also be engaged where they fail to take all feasible precautions in the choice of means and methods of a security operation mounted against an opposing group with a view to avoiding and, in any event, to minimising, incidental loss of civilian life. 
European Court of Human Rights, Ergi v. Turkey, Judgment, 28 July 1998, § 79; see also § 80.
ICRC
To fulfil its task of disseminating IHL, the ICRC has delegates around the world teaching armed and security forces the following rules:
The means of combat shall be chosen and used so as to:
a) avoid civilian casualties and damage;
b) minimize in any event unavoidable casualties and damage.
The direction and the moment of the attack shall be chosen so as to limit civilian casualties and damage (e.g. attack of factory after normal working hours).
Targets for particular weapons and fire units shall be determined and assigned with the same precautions as to military objectives, specially taking into account the tactical result expected (e.g. destruction, neutralization) and the destructive power of the ammunition used (quantity, ballistic data, precision, point or area covering, possible effects on the environment). 
Frédéric de Mulinen, Handbook on the Law of War for Armed Forces, ICRC, Geneva, 1987, §§ 393, 432 and 433.
ICRC
In an appeal launched in October 1973, the ICRC urged all the belligerents in the conflict in the Middle East (Egypt, Iraq, Israel and the Syrian Arab Republic) to observe forthwith, in particular, the provisions of, inter alia, Article 50(2) of the draft Additional Protocol I, which stated: “All necessary precautions shall be taken in the choice of weapons and methods of attack so as not to cause losses in civilian lives and damage to civilian objects in the immediate vicinity of military objectives to be attacked.” All governments concerned replied favourably. 
ICRC, The International Committee’s Action in the Middle East, IRRC, No. 152, 1973, pp. 584–585.
Human Rights Watch
In 1994, in a letter to the Government of Yemen, Human Rights Watch stated: “The rules of war also require that you take all feasible precautions in the choice of tactics and weapons with a view to avoiding or minimizing such civilian losses.” 
Human Rights Watch, Letter to the Government of Yemen, New York, 19 May 1994.
Front Patriotique Rwandais (FPR)
On the basis of replies by army officers to a questionnaire, the Report on the Practice of Rwanda refers to the practice of the FPR of avoiding, on occasion, the use of heavy weaponry during the fighting in Kigali in order to spare homes. 
Report on the Practice of Rwanda, 1997, Replies by Rwandan army officers to a questionnaire, Chapter 1.6.