Related Rule
Netherlands
Practice Relating to Rule 8. Definition of Military Objectives
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands states:
The concept of “military objective” is defined:
They are objects which:
- by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and
- whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offer a definite military advantage.
Three elements of the definition have to be present. First, the objects have “to make an effective contribution to military action”, based on “their nature, location, purpose or use”. In addition, the attack must offer “a definite military advantage” in the circumstances ruling at the time. 
Netherlands, Toepassing Humanitair Oorlogsrecht, Voorschift No. 27-412/1, Koninklijke Landmacht, Ministerie van Defensie, 1993, pp. V-2 and V-3.
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states: “Attacks are permissible only if directed against military targets, i.e. where total or partial destruction confers clear military advantage on the combatants.” 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0225.
The manual further states:
0508. The term “military objective” is also defined. Military objectives are objects which:
- by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and
- whose total or partial destruction, capture or deactivation, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage.
0509. Under this definition, which deals with equipment and infrastructure, it must not be forgotten, first, that the armed forces constitute a military objective. This means the combatants who belong to the armed forces, and the equipment used by them (tanks, vehicles, aircraft, etc). A non-combatant, who may not take part in hostilities, but uses a weapon, also forms a military objective.
0511. The circumstances of the time are decisive as to whether an object constitutes a military objective. The definition leaves the necessary discretion to the commanding officer. The Dutch Government, in ratifying AP I [1977 Additional Protocol I], has declared in this connection that military commanders who are responsible for carrying out attacks must base their decisions on their evaluation of the information available to them at the time. The Government has also declared that a given piece of terrain may also form a military objective if it meets the above conditions.
0512. It is possible for objects to be classed, on the one hand, as military while, at the same time, they have a civilian purpose. These are known as mixed objects. Examples are a bridge, which can definitely count as a military objective while at the same time its internal structure carries the energy supply to the civilian population of the region. A television mast may not only serve a civilian purpose but perform a function in the telecommunications network of the armed forces. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, §§ 0508–0509 and 0511–0512.
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands notes that “combatants who are part of the armed forces” are military objectives “under all circumstances”. 
Netherlands, Toepassing Humanitair Oorlogsrecht, Voorschift No. 27-412/1, Koninklijke Landmacht, Ministerie van Defensie, 1993, p. V-3; see also Handboek Militair, Ministerie van Defensie, 1995, p. 7-36 (“combatants”).
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states that “the armed forces constitute a military objective”. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0509.
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands considers that positions of military units, such as artillery positions, constitute military objectives “under all circumstances”. 
Netherlands, Toepassing Humanitair Oorlogsrecht, Voorschift No. 27-412/1, Koninklijke Landmacht, Ministerie van Defensie, 1993, p. V-3.
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states:
Naturally, locations of military units also form military objectives, e.g., artillery and guided-weapon positions. Mention must also be made of military aircraft, air bases, communication and radar installations, and storage sites of military equipment. All these objects constitute military objectives, in all circumstances. Whether a road or railway line forms a military objective depends on the military situation in the field. The answer to the question whether neutralization of such an object at that time confers military advantage is decisive to the object’s classification. This applies even more strictly to objects which, by nature, are intended for civilian purposes (e.g. houses and school buildings). However, these may become military objectives by virtue of their use (e.g. as military billets and equipment as command posts). 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0510.
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands considers that materiel used by armed forces, such as tanks, vehicles, and aircraft, constitute military objectives “under all circumstances”. 
Netherlands, Toepassing Humanitair Oorlogsrecht, Voorschift No. 27-412/1, Koninklijke Landmacht, Ministerie van Defensie, 1993, p. V-3.
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands qualifies “artillery and guided-weapon positions” as military objectives. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0510.
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states that “communication and radar installations … constitute military objectives, in all circumstances”. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0510.
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands states:
Whether a road or railway constitutes a military objective depends on the military situation on the spot. The answer to the question of whether the acquisition of such an object at that moment yields a definite military advantage is decisive for the qualification of the object. 
Netherlands, Toepassing Humanitair Oorlogsrecht, Voorschift No. 27-412/1, Koninklijke Landmacht, Ministerie van Defensie, 1993, p. V-3.
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states that “the equipment used by [armed forces] (tanks, vehicles, aircraft, etc)” constitutes military objectives. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0509.
The manual further states: “Whether a road or railway line forms a military objective depends on the military situation in the field.” 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0510.
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands notes that the Government of the Netherlands has declared that “an area of land can constitute a military objective as long as it fulfils the conditions thereof”.  
Netherlands, Toepassing Humanitair Oorlogsrecht, Voorschift No. 27-412/1, Koninklijke Landmacht, Ministerie van Defensie, 1993, p. V-3.
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states that “[t]he [Dutch] Government has also declared that a given piece of terrain may also form a military objective”. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0511.
At the CDDH, the Netherlands stated that it interpreted Article 47 of the draft Additional Protocol I (now Article 52) to mean that:
A specific area of land may be a military objective if, because of its location or other reasons specified in Article 47 [now Article 52 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I], its total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage. 
Netherlands, Statement at the CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.41, 26 May 1977, p. 195.
Upon ratification of the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the Netherlands stated:
1. With regard to article 2, paragraph 4, of Protocol II: It is the understanding of the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands that a specific area of land may also be a military objective if, because of its location or other reasons specified in paragraph 4, its total or partial destruction, capture, or neutralization in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage;
4. With regard to article 1, paragraph 3, of Protocol III: It is the understanding of the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands that a specific area of land may also be a military objective if, because of its location or other reasons specified in paragraph 3, its total or partial destruction, capture, or neutralization in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage. 
Netherlands, Declaration made upon ratification of the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, 18 June 1987, §§ 1 and 4.
Upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, the Netherlands stated:
It is the understanding of the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands that a specific area of land may also be a military objective if, because of its location or other reasons specified in paragraph 2 [of Article 52 of the Protocol], its total or partial destruction, capture, or neutralization in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage. 
Netherlands, Declarations made upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, 26 June 1987, § 7.
Upon acceptance of the 1996 Amended Protocol II to the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the Netherlands stated with regard to Article 2(6) of the Amended Protocol:
The Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands takes the view that a specific area of land may also be a military objective if, because of its location or other reasons specified in paragraph six, its total or partial destruction, capture, or neutralization in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage. 
Netherlands, Declaration made upon acceptance of the 1996 Amended Protocol II to the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, 25 March 1999, § 3.
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands considers that:
Acts such as the manufacturing and transport of military materiel in the hinterland certainly do not constitute a direct participation in hostilities. In addition, it has to be borne in mind that the fact that civilians are working in, for example, a weapons factory does not convert such an industrial object into a civilian object. Such a case has to be assessed in the light of the definition of a military objective. 
Netherlands, Toepassing Humanitair Oorlogsrecht, Voorschift No. 27-412/1, Koninklijke Landmacht, Ministerie van Defensie, 1993, p. V-5.