Related Rule
South Africa
Practice Relating to Rule 1. The Principle of Distinction between Civilians and Combatants
In its consideration of the legality of the attack by the South African defence forces on the SWAPO base/refugee camp at Kassinga in Angola in 1978, the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission stated: “International humanitarian law stipulates that a distinction must at all times be made between persons taking part in hostilities and civilians.” 
South Africa, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, 1998, Vol. 2, pp. 52–55, §§ 44–45.
South Africa’s LOAC Manual (1996) requires soldiers in combat to “fight only enemy combatants”. 
South Africa, Presentation on the South African Approach to International Humanitarian Law, Appendix A, Chapter 4: International Humanitarian Law (The Law of Armed Conflict), National Defence Force, 1996, § 25(a). This manual is also included in Chapter 4 of the Draft Civic Education Manual of 1997.
South Africa’s Revised Civic Education Manual (2004) requires soldiers in combat to “[f]ight only enemy combatants”. 
South Africa, Revised Civic Education Manual, South African National Defence Force, 2004, Chapter 4, § 48(a).
South Africa’s LOAC Manual (1996) states: “The general rule is that civilians and civilian property may not be the subject, or the sole object, of a military attack.” The manual adds that “making the civilian population or individual civilians the object of attack” constitutes a grave breach. 
South Africa, Presentation on the South African Approach to International Humanitarian Law, Appendix A, Chapter 4: International Humanitarian Law (The Law of Armed Conflict), National Defence Force, 1996, §§ 28(a) and 37(a).
South Africa’s Revised Civic Education Manual (2004) states: “The general rule is that civilians … may not be the subject, or the sole object, of a military attack.” 
South Africa, Revised Civic Education Manual, South African National Defence Force, 2004, Chapter 4, § 50(a).
The manual also provides that “[a]ny attack directed primarily against the civilian population or individual persons” constitutes a grave breach of the law of armed conflict and a war crime. 
South Africa, Revised Civic Education Manual, South African National Defence Force, 2004, Chapter 4, § 57.
South Africa’s ICC Act (2002) reproduces the war crimes listed in the 1998 ICC Statute, including in both international and non-international armed conflicts: “intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities”. 
South Africa, ICC Act, 2002, Schedule 1, Part 3, §§ (b)(i) and (e)(i).