Practice Relating to Rule 36. Demilitarized Zones
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (1992), while defining demilitarized zones as zones where all military activities have ceased, states that conditions regarding demilitarized zones are established by an express agreement between the belligerents.
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) states:
Neutralized Geographical Zones: Neutral Space
A neutralized geographical zone can be established by mutual agreement between belligerents.
This refers to a demilitarized zone in which all war efforts must have ceased.
In this case, an express agreement … is signed between belligerents either in times of peace or after the opening of hostilities.
The manual also states: “[Demilitarized Zones] are those zones in which all military activities have ceased, be it by virtue of agreement between the belligerents or by virtue of international conventions.”
The manual further states under the heading “Responsibility for Acts or Omissions of which Subordinates Are Accused” that commanders may be responsible if their subordinates “profit from a truce in order to consolidate their positions … with respect to demilitarized zones”.
Cameroon’s Instructors’ Manual (1992) mentions the duty to avoid hostilities from the air over demilitarized zones and emphasizes that, while these zones cannot be made the object of an attack, it is also prohibited to launch an attack from a demilitarized zone.
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) states that in air operations “[demilitarized zones] must not be the object of bombardments, nor constitute the basis for launching attacks”.
The manual further states that “an attack against … demilitarized zones” constitutes a grave breach of IHL.