Related Rule
Australia
Practice Relating to Rule 8. Definition of Military Objectives
Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) states:
525 – Military objectives are those persons and objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage. The objective must be measured by its effect on the whole military operation or campaign and the attack should not be viewed in isolation. Military advantage includes the security of friendly forces.
916 – Civilian property or objectives are defined as anything which are not military objectives. Military objectives are:
c) objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage. In case of doubt whether an object which is normally dedicated to civilian purposes is being used to make an effective contribution to military action, it shall be presumed not to be so used. 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, §§ 525 and 916c.
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) states:
5.27 The term “military objective” includes combatant members of the enemy armed forces and their military weapons, vehicles, equipment and installations. It may include other objects that have military value such as bridges, communications towers, electricity and refined oil production facilities. Objects are however, only military objectives if they come within the following definition:
“those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralisation, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage.” (Article 52 (2) G. P. I) [1977 Additional Protocol I]
5.28 These criteria require commanders and others planning, deciding on or launching attacks to exercise their discretion. In doing so they must necessarily reach their decisions on the basis of their assessment of the information from all sources which is practicably available to them at the relevant time.
5.29 The taxonomy of defining of military objectives contains a number of elements:
• The second part of the definition limits the first. Both parts must apply before an object can be considered a military objective.
• Nature refers to the type of object, for example, military transports, command and control centres or communications stations.
Location includes areas which are militarily important because they must be captured or denied to the enemy or because the enemy must be made to retreat from them. An area of land can, thus, be a military objective.
Purpose means the future intended use of an object while “use” means its present function.
• The words nature, location, purpose or use seem at first sight to allow a wide discretion, but they are subject to the qualifications later in the definition of “effective contribution to military action” and the offering of “a definite military advantage”. There does not have to be geographical proximity between “effective contribution” and “military advantage.” That means that attacks on military supply dumps in the rear or diversionary attacks, away from the area of actual military operations, can be launched.
Military action means military action generally, not a limited or specific military operation.
• The words in the circumstances ruling at the time are important. If, for example, the enemy moved a divisional headquarters into a disused textile factory, an attack on that headquarters would be permissible (even though the factory might be destroyed in the process) because of the prevailing circumstances. Once the enemy moved their headquarters away, the circumstances would change again and the protection of the factory as a civilian object would be restored.
Definite means a concrete and perceptible military advantage rather than a hypothetical and speculative one.
• The military advantage anticipated from an attack refers to the advantage anticipated from the attack considered as a whole and not only from isolated or particular parts of the attack. The advantage need not be immediate. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, §§ 5.27–5.29; see also § 6.37 regarding maritime operations.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) lists among military objectives “all persons taking a direct part in hostilities, whether military or civilian”. 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, § 527(d); see also § 916(a) (“armed forces except medical and religious personnel”).
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) states:
5.27 The term “military objective” includes combatant members of the enemy armed forces and their military weapons, vehicles, equipment and installations.
5.31 Military objectives may include a very wide range of persons, locations and objects. Some examples are:
• all persons taking a direct part in hostilities, whether military or civilian. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, §§ 5.27 and 5.31.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) gives “military equipment, units and bases” as examples of military objectives. 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, § 527(a); see also § 916(b).
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) gives “military equipment, units and bases” as examples of military objectives. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, § 5.31.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) gives “enemy armed forces and their military weapons” as examples of military objectives. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, § 5.27.
In its chapter on “Maritime Operations”, the manual states: “Merchant vessels and civil aircraft are civilian objects unless they are military objectives”. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, § 6.37.
In its chapter on “Air Operations”, the manual states: “Enemy military aircraft may be attacked and destroyed in any airspace other than neutral airspace”. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, § 8.48.
The LOAC Manual replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) identifies “facilities which support or enhance command and control, such as communications facilities” as military objectives. 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, § 527(c).
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) identifies “facilities which support or enhance command and control, such as communications facilities” as examples of military objectives. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, § 5.31.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) cites “transport facilities which support military operations” and “transportation systems for military supplies, transportation centres where lines of communication converge, [and] rail yards” as examples of military objectives. 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, §§ 527(b) and 527(f).
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) identifies “transport facilities which support military operations” and “transportation systems for military supplies, transportation centres where lines of communication converge, [and] rail yards” as examples of military objectives. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, § 5.31.
In its chapter on “Air Operations”, the manual states:
8.56 … If there is doubt as to the status of a civil aircraft, it should be called upon to clarify that status. If it fails to do so, or is engaged in non-civil activities, such as ferrying troops, it may be attacked …
8.57 Civil aircraft, which have been absorbed into a belligerent’s air force and are being ferried from the manufacturer to a belligerent for this purpose, may be attacked.
8.59 Civil aircraft on the ground may only be attacked in accordance with the normal rules relating to military objectives. However, since they may be used for transporting troops or supplies, their status will frequently depend upon the prevailing military situation. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, §§ 8.56–8.57 and 8.59.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) gives as an example of military objectives:
power stations [and] industry which support military operations … industrial installations producing materiel for combat forces, fuel dumps and distribution centres supplying military users, industrial installations that repair and replenish lines of communication and other economic targets the destruction, capture or neutralisation of which offers a definite military advantage. 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, §§ 527(b) and 527(f).
The manual adds: “Economic targets that indirectly but effectively support operations are also military objectives if an attack will gain a definite military advantage.” 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, § 527(g).
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) provides as an example of military objectives:
… power stations [and] industry which support military operations … industrial installations producing materiel for combat forces, fuel dumps and distribution centres supplying military users, industrial installations that repair and replenish lines of communication and other economic targets the destruction, capture or neutralisation of which offers a definite military advantage.
The manual adds: “Economic targets that indirectly but effectively support operations are also military objectives if an attack will gain a definite military advantage.” 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, § 5.31.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) includes among military objectives “areas of land which are of direct use to defending or attacking forces, eg land through which an adversary is likely to move its forces or which may be used as a forming up point preceding an attack”. 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, § 527(h); see also § 916(b) (“areas of land which armed forces use or which have military significance such as hills and bridgeheads”).
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) provides as an example of military objectives “areas of land which are of direct use to defending or attacking forces, eg land through which an adversary is likely to move its forces or which may be used as a forming up point preceding an attack”. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, § 5.31.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) states:
The presence of noncombatants in or around a military objective does not change its nature as a military objective. Noncombatants in the vicinity of a military objective must share the danger to which the military objective is exposed.
Civilians working in a store on a military air base may not necessarily be taking … a direct part [in hostilities]. However, stores, depots, supply columns and military installations are clearly military objectives which may be attacked, regardless of the presence of civilian workers.
Civilians who are not directly involved in combat but are performing military tasks are not combatants. If they are killed or injured during an attack on a legitimate military objective there is no breach of LOAC provided the death or injury is not disproportionate to the direct and concrete military advantage anticipated from the attack. The presence of civilians on or near the proposed military objective (either in a voluntary capacity or as a shield) is merely one of the factors that must be considered when planning an attack. 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, §§ 526, 532 and 550.
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) states:
5.30 The presence of non-combatants, including civilians, in or around a military objective does not change its nature as a military objective. Non-combatants in the vicinity of a military objective must share the danger to which the military objective is exposed …
5.36 … [C]ivilians working in a store on a military air base may not necessarily be taking … a direct part [in hostilities]. However, stores depots, supply columns and military installations are clearly military objectives which may be attacked, regardless of the presence of civilian workers.
5.55 Civilians who are not directly involved in combat but are performing military tasks are not combatants. If they are killed or injured during an attack on a legitimate military objective there is no breach of the LOAC provided the death or injury is not disproportionate to the direct and concrete military advantage anticipated from the attack. The presence of civilians on or near the proposed military objective (either in a voluntary capacity or as a shield) is one of the factors that must be considered when planning an attack. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, §§ 5.30, 5.36 and 5.55.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).