Related Rule
Netherlands
Practice Relating to Rule 15. The Principle of Precautions in Attack
Section A. Constant care to spare the civilian population, civilians and civilian objects
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands states: “In the conduct of military operations, constant care shall be taken to spare the civilian population, civilians and civilian objects.” 
Netherlands, Toepassing Humanitair Oorlogsrecht, Voorschift No. 27-412/1, Koninklijke Landmacht, Ministerie van Defensie, 1993, p. V-10.
The Military Handbook (1995) of the Netherlands states: “The civilian population which does not participate in hostilities must be spared.” 
Netherlands, Handboek Militair, Ministerie van Defensie, 1995, p. 7-43, § 6.
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states: “Belligerents must take every precaution in their actions against military targets to minimize victims among non-combatants (primarily civilians).” 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0225.
In its chapter on behaviour in battle, the manual states that “the civilian population of one’s own, as well as the adversary’s, side must be spared and protected”. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0507.
The manual further states: “In combat operations, everything practically possible should be done to make sure that the objectives to be attacked are not cultural property.” 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0529.
In addition, the manual provides:
A distinction must be made between precautions when attacking and precautions against the consequences of attacks (therefore “attacks” mean combat actions as a whole). In general, the rule is that, when carrying out military operations, constant care must be taken to spare the civilian population, individual civilians and civilian objects. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0541.
According to the Government of the Netherlands, commanders have to take all the precautionary measures required by Article 57 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I when carrying out an attack. 
Netherlands, Lower House of Parliament, Memorandum in response to the report on the ratification of the Additional Protocols, 1985–1986 Session, Doc. 18 277 (R 1247), No. 6, 16 December 1985, p. 7, § 17.
In 2006, in reply to a written question from the Parliament concerning measures taken to prevent civilian casualties when attacking targets from the air, the Minister of Defence of the Netherlands stated: “In practice, Dutch fighter pilots will not commence with the attack on a target, if the possibility exists that civilians are in the vicinity of that target.” 
Netherlands, Lower House of Parliament, Statement by the Minister of Defence, Handelingen, 2005–2006 Session, 18 September 2006, Appendix No. 2149, p. 4572.
In 2007, in reply to a written question from the Parliament regarding civilian casualties in Afghanistan, the Ministers of Defence and Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands stated:
The Netherlands takes every measure to prevent civilian casualties. Every time the Dutch air force supports OEF-units, the Dutch Rules of Engagement apply. These Rules state that the crews of F-16’s, before commencing with the attack, at all times need to positively identify the designated target, identify whether unarmed civilians are in the vicinity of the target and collateral damage can be avoided. If these preconditions cannot be met, then the mission should be aborted. Until now, this has occurred a number of times. 
Netherlands, Lower House of Parliament, Statement by Ministers of Defence and Foreign Affairs, 25 June 2007, Handelingen, 2006–2007 Session, Appendix No. 1940, p. 4104.