Related Rule
Netherlands
Practice Relating to Rule 7. The Principle of Distinction between Civilian Objects and Military Objectives
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands provides: “The parties to the conflict must at all times make a distinction between the civilian population and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives.” 
Netherlands, Toepassing Humanitair Oorlogsrecht, Voorschift No. 27-412/1, Koninklijke Landmacht, Ministerie van Defensie, 1993, p. V-1, § 2.
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands lists “distinction between civilian and military” as one of five “generally accepted principles of the humanitarian law of war”. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, §§ 0221 and 0223; see also § 1028.
The manual further states that “military action must take account of the distinction between combatants and military aims on the one hand, and civilians and civilian property on the other”. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0225.
In its chapter on methods and means of warfare, the manual states: “The parties to a conflict should … always discriminate between the civilian population and civilian property on the one hand, and combatants and military targets on the other.” 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0403.
In its chapter on behaviour in battle, the manual provides: “The parties to a conflict should always distinguish between the civilian population and combatants, and between civilian objects and military targets.” 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0504.
In its chapter on non-international armed conflict, the manual states: “A distinction should also be made between military objectives and civilian objects.” 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 1029.
In its chapter on peace operations, the manual states: “Central to the humanitarian law of war is the distinction that must be drawn between civilian objects and military objectives.” 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 1222.
The Netherlands’ Military Manual (1993) provides: “Operations may only be directed against military objectives.” 
Netherlands, Toepassing Humanitair Oorlogsrecht, Voorschift No. 27-412/1, Koninklijke Landmacht, Ministerie van Defensie, 1993, p. V-1, § 2; see also p. V-5; see also Netherlands, Handboek Militair, Ministerie van Defensie, 1995, pp. 7–36, 7–39 and 7–43.
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states: “Attacks must be limited strictly to military objectives.” 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0521; see also § 0504.
In its chapter on non-international armed conflict, the manual states: “Attacks must be directed against military objectives … The civilian population and civilian objects must be respected.” 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 1043; see also § 1029.
At the CDDH, the Netherlands stated that the first sentence of Article 47(2) of the draft Additional Protocol I (now Article 52(2)) “prohibits only such attacks as may be directed against non-military objectives and consequently does not deal with the question of collateral damage caused by attacks directed against military objectives”. 
Netherlands, Statement at the CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.41, 26 May 1977, p. 195.
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands provides: “Civilian objects may not become the objective of an attack. Attacks must be strictly limited to military objectives.” 
Netherlands, Toepassing Humanitair Oorlogsrecht, Voorschift No. 27-412/1, Koninklijke Landmacht, Ministerie van Defensie, 1993, p. V-5.
The Military Handbook (1995) of the Netherlands provides: “Only military objectives may be attacked.” 
Netherlands, Handboek Militair, Ministerie van Defensie, 1995, p. 7–43.
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states: “Civilian objects must not be targets of attack.” 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0521; see also § 1029 (non-international armed conflict).
In its chapter on non-international armed conflict, the manual states: “Civilian objects may not be combat targets.” 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 1032.
In its chapter on peace operations, the manual states: “Damage to infrastructure and civilian casualties must be avoided or, in any case, kept to a minimum. Damage to civilian objects must in no case be excessive in relation to the purpose to be achieved.” 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 1221.
Under the International Crimes Act (2003) of the Netherlands, “intentionally directing attacks against civilian objects, that is, objects that are not military objectives” is a crime, when committed in an international armed conflict. 
Netherlands, International Crimes Act, 2003, Article 5(5)(a).