Related Rule
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Practice Relating to Rule 15. The Principle of Precautions in Attack
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states: “In the conduct of military operations, constant care shall be taken to spare the civilian population, civilians and civilian objects.” 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 5.32.
In 1938, during a debate in the House of Commons, the UK Prime Minister listed among rules of international law applicable to warfare on land, at sea and from the air the rule that “reasonable care must be taken in attacking these military objectives so that by carelessness a civilian population in the neighbourhood is not bombed”. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Statement by the Prime Minister, Sir Neville Chamberlain, 21 June 1938, Hansard, Vol. 337, cols. 937–938.
The UK Government Strategy on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict (2010) states: “IHL requires parties to a conflict to respect and protect civilians. … They must take constant care to spare civilians and civilian objects from the effects of hostilities.” 
United Kingdom, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Government Strategy on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, March 2010, p. 4.
The UK LOAC Pamphlet (1981) states: “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).
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states in its chapter on air operations: “Precautions must be taken in air bombardment to avoid civilian death or injury and damage to civilian objects”. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 12.26(i).
With regard to internal armed conflict, the manual states:
15.22. In planning or carrying out attacks, precautions must be taken to limit attacks to military objectives and to minimize incidental loss or damage.
15.22.1. The need to take precautions can be inferred from the principle of proportionality and the principle of distinction, which require some care to be taken in the planning and execution of an attack. Attacks must be cancelled, suspended or re-planned if the rule in paragraph 15.21 [sic] cannot be complied with. The same applies in sieges. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, §§ 15.22.–15.22.1.
In 2008, in the BE (Iran) case, which concerned a claim to refugee protection of an Iranian who deserted from the Iranian army in 1999 rather than continue to lay anti-personnel mines in a populated part of Iranian Kurdistan, the England and Wales Court of Appeal stated: “International humanitarian law … requires belligerents to minimise collateral harm to civilians.” 
United Kingdom, England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division), BE (Iran) case, Judgment, 20 May 2008, § 30.
In 1991, in two reports submitted to the UN Security Council on operations in the Gulf War, the United Kingdom made assurances that the instructions issued to UK pilots were to avoid causing civilian casualties as far as possible. 
United Kingdom, Letter dated 21 January 1991 to the President of the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/22115, 21 January 1991, p. 1; Letter dated 28 January 1991 to the President of the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/22156, 28 January 1991, p. 1.
In a subsequent report, the United Kingdom reiterated that “pilots have clear instructions to minimize civilian casualties” and stated that “on a number of occasions, attacks have not been pressed home because pilots were not completely satisfied they could meet these conditions”. 
United Kingdom, Letter dated 13 February 1991 to the President of the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/22218, 13 February 1991, p. 1.
In 1991, in reply to a question in the House of Lords concerning the use of conventional weapons against nuclear facilities, chemical weapons plants and dumps, and petrochemical enterprises situated in towns or cities, the UK Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated: “International law requires that, in planning an attack on any military objective, account is taken of certain principles. These include the [principle] that civilian losses, whether of life or property, should be avoided or minimised so far as practicable.” 
United Kingdom, House of Lords, Statement by the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 4 February 1991, Hansard, Vol. 525, Written Answers, col. 37.
In 1991, during a debate in the UN Security Council concerning the Gulf War, the United Kingdom deplored civilian casualties but reiterated that coalition forces had been strictly instructed to strive to keep such casualties to a minimum. 
United Kingdom, Statement before the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/PV.2977, 14 February 1991.
In 1991, in reply to a question in the House of Lords concerning military operations during the Gulf War, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State of the Ministry of Defence wrote:
It is Allied policy … to make every possible effort to minimise civilian casualties. This is entirely in accordance with the rules of war and the Geneva Convention. The extraordinary measures that Allied air forces have taken to avoid causing civilian casualties demonstrate clearly that Allied military commanders are working strictly within this policy. 
United Kingdom, House of Lords, Statement by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, 27 February 1991, Hansard, Vol. 526, Written Answers, col. 52.
In 2003, in reply to a written question in the House of Commons, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, wrote:
Military action inevitably carries risks, but as my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has made clear in the House, our targeting and weapons selection processes are rigorous. Every effort is made to avoid civilian casualties. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 10 March 2003, Vol. 401, Written Answers, col. 37W.
In 2003, during a debate in the House of Commons, the UK Prime Minister replied to questions by Members:
Mrs. Alice Mahon (Halifax): It is widely reported in today’s newspapers that the United States intends to use a new bomb that will melt the Iraqi communications systems. Will this bomb also melt the equipment that is used in hospitals and that runs the water and electricity supplies in Baghdad? Will the Prime Minister assure us that it does not melt people?
The Prime Minister: In any military conflict, we will operate in accordance with international law. Any weapons or munitions that are used will be in accordance with international law. I assure my hon. Friend that we will do everything that we can to minimise civilian casualties and, indeed, to maximise the possibilities of a swift and successful conclusion to any conflict.
Mr. Martin Caton (Gower): International humanitarian law prohibits military attack that fails to discriminate between combatants and non-combatants or that disproportionately impacts on civilians. Can my right hon. Friend assure me that, in the war on Iraq that the House sanctioned last night, we will not be employing cluster bombs and that electricity, transport and water infrastructure will not be targeted?
The Prime Minister: I simply say in relation to any weapons or munitions that we use that we will use only those that are in accordance with international law and with the Geneva convention. That is the responsibility of the Government and is the commitment of this Government and has been of other British Governments in the past. We will do everything that we can to minimise civilian casualties. The reason why, in respect of any military action that we take, we get legal advice not merely on the military action itself but on the targeting is to make sure that that happens. Of course, I understand that, if there is conflict, there will be civilian casualties. That, I am afraid, is in the nature of any conflict, but we will do our best to minimise them. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Statements by the Prime Minister, Hansard, 19 March 2003, Vol. 401, Debates, cols. 933–934.
In 2003, during a debate in the House of Commons, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated:
I have seen in Afghanistan some of the damage that can be done by the weapons deployed in conflict situations. It is important that we support the good work being done by various NGOs in trying to ensure that there is a proper clean-up of the results of conflict. As my hon. Friend will know, the Ottawa agreement does not make the use of cluster bombs unlawful. At this stage, I cannot say what the intentions are in respect of those weapons. However, when it comes to targeting, we are determined that the coalition forces will do everything possible to ensure that they avoid civilian casualties, and to avoid creating circumstances that will cause civilian casualties in the aftermath of a conflict. We are very conscious of the matter, and we will seek to deal with it. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Statement by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 19 March 2003, Vol. 401, Debates, col. 945.
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.
Jim Knight (South Dorset): Will my right hon. Friend clarify what principles the UK military will use for their targeting and whether those principles will be shared by the United States and other allies?
Mr. Hoon: It is absolutely the case that we operate in a coalition with the same principles of international law governing the targeting. I have already set out some of those principles to the House. It is important to avoid where we can civilian casualties, while recognising the risk that there will obviously be civilian harm, but working through the details of the targeting programme to minimise those risks wherever possible. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Statements by the Secretary of State for Defence, Hansard, 20 March 2003, Vol. 401, Debates, cols. 1087–1100.
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. Deputy Speaker, I would like to make a statement about military action in Iraq.
It is less than 24 hours since these operations were launched. They are making steady progress. Our objectives remain as set out in the document placed in the Library of the House yesterday: to remove the Iraqi regime and its weapons of mass destruction. We have no quarrel with the Iraqi people and will continue to take every precaution to reduce the risk of civilian casualties …
Mr. Gerald Kaufman (Manchester, Gorton): Can my right hon. Friend confirm that, in so far as it is compatible with the attainment of military objectives, it is our policy to maintain as intact as possible the public utilities infrastructure in Iraq to avoid causing unnecessary hardship to the Iraqi population and so that, when hostilities are concluded, it will be easier to rebuild the lives of the people of Iraq?
Mr. Hoon: I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for making an excellent point, one that I sought to emphasise yesterday. I recognise that when they hear the number of munitions involved in bombing campaigns, many right hon. and hon. Members immediately think of the type of bombing campaign conducted in the second world war, in which utilities were targeted. This will be a very different type of campaign, aimed at regime targets in and around Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq. Certainly, in our preparation of the campaign, we have had clear regard to the need to rebuild Iraq thereafter. I give my right hon. Friend the assurance that, wherever possible, we will avoid striking any target that is of long-term benefit to the people of Iraq.
Mrs. Alice Mahon (Halifax): The Secretary of State knows that the American Government will do anything to avoid their citizens going back in body bags, and I hope that our Government would take the same view. However, does the fact that B-52s have left RAF Fairford mean that “operation shock and awe” is going to take place? If it does, how will we avoid killing civilians in such a massive dropping of ordnance on urban areas?
Mr. Hoon: As I told the House yesterday, inevitably there are risks to civilians, but the efforts taken by the UK, the United States and elsewhere to target the campaign accurately against regime targets continue. Although I cannot give a guarantee that civilians will not be affected, I can assure my hon. Friend that there is no ambition whatever to target civilians. Our quarrel is with the regime in Iraq and our targets are designed accordingly. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Statements by the Secretary of State for Defence, Hansard, 21 March 2003, Vol. 401, Debates, cols. 1209–1219.
In 2003, during a debate in the UN Security Council, the UK representative stated:
Coalition action is therefore now under way to enforce Security Council decisions on complete Iraqi disarmament. This action is being undertaken in a manner that is directed only at the regime that is responsible for this failure to respect the United Nations. We are doing everything possible to minimize the effect on civilians, to leave infrastructure intact and to ensure that the necessary humanitarian assistance reaches the Iraqi people as quickly as possible. 
United Kingdom, Statement before the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/PV.4726 Resumption 1, 27 March 2003, p. 23.
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 Iraqis killed or injured during the coalition’s military action, although we make every effort to keep any impact upon the Iraqi civilian population to an absolute minimum …
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland takes its responsibilities toward the Iraqi people extremely seriously. Coalition forces are taking the utmost care to minimise the impact of the conflict on civilians and to provide humanitarian assistance where appropriate. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Ministry of Defence, Hansard, 1 April 2003, Vol. 402, Written Answers, cols. 651W–653W.
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.
In 2003, during a debate in the House of Commons, the UK Secretary of State for Defence made a statement and replied to a question by a Member:
The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Geoffrey Hoon): With permission, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I should like to make a further statement about military action in Iraq.
Coalition forces have taken the utmost care over the targeting of the air campaign. Every effort has been made to minimise the risk of any civilian casualties or damage to the civilian infrastructure …
Helen Jackson (Sheffield, Hillsborough): There were graphic television images yesterday of the impact of a cluster bomb that was dropped, I believe, on the town of Hillah, south of Baghdad. Will my right hon. Friend assure the House that cluster bombs will not be dropped on the streets and urban areas of Basra, especially as I applaud the Government’s intention to win the hearts and minds of the local population?
Mr. Hoon: I also saw some graphic images, but I hope that my hon. Friend and others will suspend their belief – certainly when those graphic images are the product of Iraqi minders taking television crews to particular locations … However, I do not doubt that there are occasions when cluster bombs and other munitions can cause civilian casualties. I regret those casualties: they are a consequence of conflict, and we try to minimise them, if at all possible. I can certainly tell the House that so far it has not been necessary to use cluster bombs in and around Basra. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Statements by the Secretary of State for Defence, Hansard, 3 April 2003, Vol. 402, Debates, cols. 1070–1079.
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.
In 2003, in reply to a written question in the House of Commons, the UK Secretary of State for Defence wrote:
We are fully aware of the significance of the holy sites in Najaf and Karbala. The coalition is taking every precaution to respect and avoid damage to them.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is fully committed to the protection of cultural property in times of armed conflict. The Government takes very seriously its obligations to act in conformity with international law, the UN Charter and international humanitarian law. In all our military planning, very careful attention is applied to ensure that we minimise the risk of damage to all civilian sites.
The targeting process during current operations is conducted in accordance with all obligations under international law, including Additional Protocol 1 of the Geneva Conventions, and the Targeting Directive to United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland forces stationed in the Gulf contains explicit guidance on their obligations under international and domestic law. For reasons of force protection, I cannot comment on the specifics of our targeting policy, and I am therefore withholding that information under Exemption 1 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information (Defence, security and international relations). 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Secretary of State for Defence, Hansard, 8 April 2003, Vol. 403, Written Answers, col. 140W.
In 2003, in reply to a written question in the House of Commons asking whether there would be “an inquiry into the numbers of deaths of journalists during the current campaign in Iraq”, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence wrote:
All reports of coalition action resulting in the deaths of civilians are investigated. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland works with coalition partners to verify the facts of such reported incidents. The profession of civilian casualties is not a concern when investigating such incidents.
Very careful attention is applied to ensure that in the coalition’s campaign the risk of damage to civilian populations and infrastructure is minimised. However, military action is never without risk, and lawful actions against military targets may result in harm to civilians. Any civilian casualties resulting from military action are deeply regretted.
The active battlefield is not a benign environment and coalition forces cannot be held responsible for, or guarantee the safety of, journalists who enter such a location independently. This is one of the reasons why we have embedded war correspondents whose activities can be properly co-ordinated with our own forces. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, Hansard, 14 April 2003, Vol. 403, Written Answers, col. 571W.
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.
In 2003, during a debate in the House of Lords, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence stated:
My Lords, every effort is made to minimise the impact of military operations on the Iraqi civilian population, and we deeply regret all civilian casualties. Since 1st May 2003, we have investigated every civilian fatality allegedly caused by UK military personnel, sometimes resulting in a formal investigation by the Special Investigation Branch.
We treat claims for compensation in respect of civilians who have allegedly been killed or injured by UK forces since 1st May on their merits, in accordance with English law. We have no liability to pay compensation in respect of Iraqis killed or injured during combat operations. 
United Kingdom, House of Lords, Statement by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, Hansard, 17 December 2003, Vol. 655, Debates, col. 1143.
In 2006, in a written answer to a question concerning “the implications under the Geneva Conventions of the targeting by Israel of civilian facilities and infrastructure in Gaza”, the UK Minister of State for the Middle East, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated:
We are opposed to the targeting of civilian facilities and call upon Israel to respect international law and, in particular, the requirement of proportionality and the duty to take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian casualties. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Minister of State for the Middle East, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 10 July 2006, Vol. 448, Written Answers, col. 1522W.
In 2007, in its response to a report by the House of Commons Defence Committee on UK operations in Afghanistan, the UK Government stated:
We are grateful to the Committee for highlighting the extensive effort made by our Forces to minimise civilian casualties. The loss of innocent lives is a tragedy and ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] and coalition forces seek at all times to avoid civilian casualties. Our targeting process, weapons selection, doctrine, training and rules of engagement are all designed with this as a priority. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons Defence Committee, UK operations in Afghanistan: Government Response to the Committee’s Thirteenth Report of Session 2006–07, HC 1024, 12 October 2007, p.4.
In 2009, in response to a question in the House of Commons, the UK Secretary of State for Defence wrote: “We deeply regret any incidents where civilians are killed as a result of actions by international forces. Procedures are in place, and being constantly updated in the light of experience, both to minimise the risk of these casualties occurring and to investigate any incidents that do happen.” 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written Statement by the Secretary of State for Defence, Hansard, 23 February 2009, Vol. 488, Written Statements, col. 18W.
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) 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).
The manual further states: “‘Feasible’ means that which is practicable or practically possible, taking into account all circumstances ruling at the time, including humanitarian and military considerations.” 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 5.32, footnote 191.
Upon signature of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, the United Kingdom stated: “The word ‘feasible’ means that which is practicable or practically possible, taking into account all circumstances at the time including those relevant to the success of military operations.” 
United Kingdom, Declarations made upon signature of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, 12 December 1977, § b.
Upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, the United Kingdom stated that it understood the term “feasible” as used in the Protocol to mean “that which is practicable or practically possible, taking into account all circumstances ruling at the time, including humanitarian and military considerations”. 
United Kingdom, Reservations and declarations made upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, 28 January 1998, § b.
The United Kingdom further stated that the obligation mentioned in Article 57(2)(b) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I only applied to “those who have the authority and practical possibility to cancel or suspend the attack”. 
United Kingdom, Reservations and declarations made upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, 28 January 1998, § o.
At the CDDH, the United Kingdom stated:
Military commanders and others responsible for planning, initiating or executing attacks necessarily had to reach decisions on the basis of their assessment of the information from all sources which was available to them at the relevant time. 
United Kingdom, Statement at the CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.41, 26 May 1977, p. 164, § 121.
Upon signing the 1977 Additional Protocol I, the United Kingdom stated:
Military commanders and others responsible for planning, deciding upon or executing attacks necessarily have to reach decisions on the basis of their assessment of the information from all sources which is available to them at the relevant time. 
United Kingdom, Declarations made upon signature of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, 12 December 1977, § d.
The United Kingdom repeated this statement upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
United Kingdom, Reservations and declarations made upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, 28 January 1998, § c.