Practice Relating to Rule 71. Weapons That Are by Nature Indiscriminate
Germany’s Soldiers’ Manual (1991) provides: “It is prohibited to use means or methods of warfare which are intended or of a nature … to strike military targets and civilian persons or civilian objects indiscriminately.”
Germany’s IHL Manual (1996) states: “It is prohibited, in particular, to employ means or methods of warfare, which are intended to or of a nature … to strike military targets and civilian persons or civilian objects indiscriminately.”
Germany’s Soldiers’ Manual (2006) states: “It is prohibited to use means or methods which are intended or of a nature, … to damage military objectives and civilian persons or civilian objects without distinction.”
In 2009, in reply to a Minor Interpellation in the Bundestag (Lower House of Parliament) entitled “Investigation of serious violations of international humanitarian law in the recent Gaza war”, Germany’s Federal Government wrote:
16. How does the Federal Government assess the use of artillery ammunition, fin-stabilized ammunition, shrapnel shells and other imprecise weapons in the densely populated residential areas in Gaza, documented by Amnesty International, under international law?
The Federal Government has no reliable information on the use of such ammunition. The use of means of warfare which cannot be directed against a specific military objective, so-called indiscriminate attacks, would be prohibited … This would depend not only on the type of ammunition but also on the circumstances of their use.