Practice Relating to Rule 36. Demilitarized Zones
Section A. Establishment of demilitarized zones
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) requires an agreement between the parties to a conflict in order to establish a demilitarized zone. According to the manual, the conditions that must normally be satisfied by a demilitarized zone are the same as those listed in Article 60(3) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I.
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001) states in its chapter on targeting:
1. It is prohibited for parties to a conflict to conduct military operations in or to attack an area that they have agreed to treat as a demilitarized zone.
2. A demilitarized zone must normally satisfy the following conditions:
a. all combatants, as well as mobile weapons and mobile military equipment, must have been evacuated;
b. no hostile use shall be made of fixed military installations or establishments;
c. no acts of hostility shall be committed by the authorities or by the population; and
d. any activity linked to the military effort must have ceased.
3. The party in control of a demilitarized zone shall mark it, so far as possible, by such signs as may be agreed upon by the adverse parties. Such signs shall be displayed where they are clearly visible, especially on the demilitarized zone’s perimeter and on highways.
4. An area loses its status as a demilitarized zone where:
a. a party commits a violation of the conditions described above;
b. a party uses the demilitarized zone for purposes related to the conduct of military operations where it has agreed not to do so; or
c. a party unilaterally revokes the status of an area as a demilitarized zone where it has agreed not to do so.