Practice Relating to Rule 16. Target Verification

Additional Protocol I
Article 57(2)(a) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I provides that, with respect to attacks, the following precautions shall be taken:
Those who plan or decide upon an attack shall:
i) do everything feasible to verify that the objectives to be attacked are neither civilians nor civilian objects and are not subject to special protection but are military objectives within the meaning of paragraph 2 of Article 52 and that it is not prohibited by the provisions of this Protocol to attack them. 
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), Geneva, 8 June 1977, Article 57(2)(a). Article 57 was adopted by 90 votes in favour, none against and 4 abstentions. CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.42, 27 May 1977, p. 211.
Second Protocol to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property
Article 7 of the 1999 Second Protocol to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property states:
Without prejudice to other precautions required by international humanitarian law in the conduct of military operations, each Party to the conflict shall:
a) do everything feasible to verify that the objectives to be attacked are not cultural property protected under Article 4 of the Convention. 
Second Protocol for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, The Hague, 26 March 1999, Article 7.
New Delhi Draft Rules
Article 8 of the 1956 New Delhi Draft Rules states:
The person responsible for ordering or launching an attack shall, first of all: (a) make sure that the objective, or objectives, to be attacked are military objectives within the meaning of the present rules, and are duly identified. 
Draft Rules for the Limitation of the Dangers Incurred by the Civilian Population in Time of War, drafted by the International Committee of the Red Cross, September 1956, submitted to governments for their consideration on behalf of the 19th International Conference of the Red Cross, New Delhi, 28 October–7 November, Res. XIII, Article 8.
Memorandum of Understanding on the Application of IHL between Croatia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Paragraph 6 of the 1991 Memorandum of Understanding on the Application of IHL between Croatia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia requires that hostilities be conducted in accordance with Article 57 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
Memorandum of Understanding on the Application of International Humanitarian Law between Croatia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Geneva, 27 November 1991, § 6.
Agreement on the Application of IHL between the Parties to the Conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Paragraph 2.5 of the 1992 Agreement on the Application of IHL between the Parties to the Conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina requires that hostilities be conducted in accordance with Article 57 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
Agreement between Representatives of Mr. Alija Izetbegović (President of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and President of the Party of Democratic Action), Representatives of Mr. Radovan Karadžić (President of the Serbian Democratic Party), and Representative of Mr. Miljenko Brkić (President of the Croatian Democratic Community), Geneva, 22 May 1992, § 2.5.
San Remo Manual
Paragraph 46(b) of the 1994 San Remo Manual provides: “In the light of the information available to them, those who plan, decide upon, or execute an attack shall do everything feasible to ensure that attacks are limited to military objectives.” 
Louise Doswald-Beck (ed.), San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea, 12 June 1994, Prepared by international lawyers and naval experts convened by the International Institute of Humanitarian Law, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1995, § 46(b).
Argentina
Argentina’s Law of War Manual (1989) states: “Those who plan or decide upon an attack shall, as far as possible, verify that the objectives to be attacked are not civilians, nor civilian objects, nor subject to special protection.” 
Argentina, Leyes de Guerra, PC-08-01, Público, Edición 1989, Estado Mayor Conjunto de las Fuerzas Armadas, aprobado por Resolución No. 489/89 del Ministerio de Defensa, 23 April 1990, § 4.07(1).
Australia
Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) states: “Everything feasible [must be done] to verify that objects being attacked are military objectives.” 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, § 556(d); see also Law of Armed Conflict, Commanders’ Guide, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 Supplement 1 – Interim Edition, 7 March 1994, § 957(a).
Australia
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) states that it is the duty of Australian Defence Force commanders to do “everything feasible to verify that objects being attacked are military objectives”. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, § 5.61; see also § 5.53.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
Belgium
Belgium’s Teaching Manual for Soldiers considers that an object can be attacked only when it can reasonably be considered to be a military objective and states that armed forces should not shoot first and check later. 
Belgium, Droit de la Guerre, Dossier d’Instruction pour Soldat, à l’attention des officiers instructeurs, JS3, Etat-Major Général, Forces Armées belges, undated, p. 21.
Benin
Benin’s Military Manual (1995) states: “All necessary measures must be taken to verify that the target to be destroyed is a military objective.” 
Benin, Le Droit de la Guerre, III fascicules, Forces Armées du Bénin, Ministère de la Défense nationale, 1995, Fascicule III, p. 11; see also Fascicule II, p. 6.
Burundi
Burundi’s Regulations on International Humanitarian Law (2007) states that “belligerents are obliged to endeavour to verify that the envisaged object is well and truly a military objective”. 
Burundi, Règlement n° 98 sur le droit international humanitaire, Ministère de la Défense Nationale et des Anciens Combattants, Projet “Moralisation” (BDI/B-05), August 2007, Part I bis, p. 33; see also Part I bis, p. 81.
The Regulations also states: “The commander who prepares or decides [to launch] an operation must take all feasible measures to verify that the objectives to be targeted are military objectives and not civilians [or] civilian objects and do not benefit from special protection.” 
Burundi, Règlement n° 98 sur le droit international humanitaire, Ministère de la Défense Nationale et des Anciens Combattants, Projet “Moralisation” (BDI/B-05), August 2007, Part I bis, pp. 43–44; see also Part I bis, p. 120.
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (1992) requires that “those who plan or decide upon an attack do everything that is practically possible to verify that the targets to be attacked are military objectives”. 
Cameroon, Droit international humanitaire et droit de la guerre, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les Forces Armées, Présidence de la République, Ministère de la Défense, Etat-major des Armées, Troisième Division, Edition 1992, p. 82; see also p. 110 (naval warfare) and 113 (air warfare).
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) states:
Command Responsibility
It must be emphasized that [a responsibility of] command regarding the law of armed conflict and international humanitarian law is to:
- ensure respect for the principle of discrimination …
… [T]hose who decide or prepare an attack must verify that the objectives to be attacked are military objectives and that the law of armed conflict and international humanitarian law do not prohibit such an attack. 
Cameroon, Droit des conflits armés et droit international humanitaire, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les forces de défense, Ministère de la Défense, Présidence de la République, Etat-major des Armées, 2006, p. 175, § 481.
Under the heading “Regulations regarding the Means and Methods of Attack”, the manual quotes Article 57(2)(a) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I concerning the verification of military objectives. 
Cameroon, Droit des conflits armés et droit international humanitaire, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les forces de défense, Ministère de la Défense, Présidence de la République, Etat-major des Armées, 2006, p. 216, § 522.
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) states: “Commanders, planners and staff officers have … to do everything feasible to verify that the objectives to be attacked are in fact legitimate targets and are not entitled to special protection under the LOAC.” 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 4-3, § 24(a).
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001) states in its chapter on targeting:
1. Under the LOAC commanders, planners and staff officers have the following obligations:
a. to do everything feasible to verify that the objectives to be attacked are in fact legitimate targets and are not entitled to special protection under the LOAC. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 417.1.a.
Canada
Canada’s Use of Force Manual (2008), in a section entitled “Principles and rules governing the use of force that directly relates to the conduct of armed conflict”, states:
1 Distinction. As a general rule civilians and civilian objects shall not be the object of attack (acts of violence against the adversary, whether in offence or defence). Targets shall be limited strictly to military objectives.
2 All feasible precautions must be taken to verify that the target is a military objective, and not a civilian or a civilian object, and that it is not subject to any of the specialized regimes of protection which prohibit, or severely restrict, attacks on certain persons and objects. Such regimes exist for wounded, sick, prisoners of war, religious, cultural and historic objects, dams, dykes and nuclear generating stations. 
Canada, Use of Force for CF Operations, Canadian Forces Joint Publication, Chief of the Defence Staff, B-GJ-005-501/FP-001, August 2008, § 112.2.
Central African Republic
The Central African Republic’s Instructor’s Manual (1999) states in Volume 3 (Instruction for non-commissioned officers studying for the level 1 and 2 certificates and for future officers of the criminal police): “All necessary measures must therefore be taken to verify that the target to be destroyed is a military objective.” 
Central African Republic, Le Droit de la Guerre, Fascicule No. 3: Formation pour l’obtention du Brevet d’Armes No. 1, du Brevet d’Armes No. 2 et le stage d’Officier de Police Judiciaire (OPJ), Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Centrafricaines, 1999, Chapter III, Section 1.
Côte d’Ivoire
Côte d’Ivoire’s Teaching Manual (2007) provides in Book III, Volume 1 (Instruction of first-year trainee officers):
IV.1.1. Obligations in the planning of offensive actions
In the preparation of an attack, a combatant must:
- do everything in his power to verify that the target is a military objective. If there is doubt, he must abstain from attacking. The principle of distinction must guide the reflection.
IV.1.3. Respect for objects subject to a special protection
Combatants must do everything in their power to verify that the objects to be attacked are not protected under IHL. In other words, they must not be cultural property, works containing dangerous forces, hospitals, protected zones or localities, nor prisoner-of-war camps. 
Côte d’Ivoire, Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre III, Tome 1: Instruction de l’élève officier d’active de 1ère année, Manuel de l’élève, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, pp. 48 and 49; see also Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre IV: Instruction du chef de section et du commandant de compagnie, Manuel de l’élève, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, pp. 70–71.
Croatia
Croatia’s LOAC Compendium (1991) imposes a duty to “verify the military character of objectives and targets”. 
Croatia, Compendium “Law of Armed Conflicts”, Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Defence, 1991, p. 43.
Croatia
Croatia’s Commanders’ Manual (1992) states: “The military character of the objective shall be verified by reconnaissance and target identification.” 
Croatia, Basic Rules of the Law of Armed Conflicts – Commanders’ Manual, Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Defence, 1992, § 50; see also § 66.
Ecuador
Ecuador’s Naval Manual (1989) states: “All reasonable precautions must be taken to ensure that only military objectives are targeted.” 
Ecuador, Aspectos Importantes del Derecho Internacional Marítimo que Deben Tener Presente los Comandantes de los Buques, Academia de Guerra Naval, 1989, § 8.1.
France
France’s LOAC Manual (2001) provides that those who plan or decide upon an attack must “verify that the objectives to be attacked are neither civilians nor civilian objects”. 
France, Manuel de droit des conflits armés, Ministère de la Défense, Direction des Affaires Juridiques, Sous-Direction du droit international humanitaire et du droit européen, Bureau du droit des conflits armés, 2001, p. 98.
Germany
Germany’s Military Manual (1992) states: “Before engaging an objective, every responsible military leader shall verify the military nature of the objective to be attacked.” 
Germany, Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflicts – Manual, DSK VV207320067, edited by The Federal Ministry of Defence of the Federal Republic of Germany, VR II 3, August 1992, English translation of ZDv 15/2, Humanitäres Völkerrecht in bewaffneten Konflikten – Handbuch, August 1992, § 457.
Greece
The Hellenic Navy’s International Law Manual (1995) provides: “In the course of planning and developing of military operations, all available data and evidence should be taken into account to ensure that selected targets are clearly of a military character.” 
Greece, International Law Manual, Hellenic Navy General Staff, Directorate A2, Division IV, 1995, Chapter 7, Part I, § 2(a).
Hungary
Hungary’s Military Manual (1992) imposes a duty to “verify the military character of objectives and targets”. 
Hungary, A Hadijog, Jegyzet a Katonai, Föiskolák Hallgatói Részére, Magyar Honvédség Szolnoki Repülötiszti Föiskola, 1992, p. 69.
Israel
Israel’s Manual on the Laws of War (1998) states: “In any attack it is imperative to verify that the attack will be directed against a specific military target.” 
Israel, Laws of War in the Battlefield, Manual, Military Advocate General Headquarters, Military School, 1998, p. 37.
Israel
Israel’s Manual on the Rules of Warfare (2006) states:
In any attack, it is a duty to ensure that:
- The attack is directed against specific military targets. 
Israel, Rules of Warfare on the Battlefield, Military Advocate-General’s Corps Command, IDF School of Military Law, Second Edition, 2006, p. 26.
The Manual on the Rules of Warfare (2006) is a second edition of the Manual on the Laws of War (1998).
Italy
Italy’s LOAC Elementary Rules Manual (1991) states: “The military character of the objective shall be verified by reconnaissance and target identification.” 
Italy, Regole elementari di diritto di guerra, SMD-G-012, Stato Maggiore della Difesa, I Reparto, Ufficio Addestramento e Regolamenti, Rome, 1991, § 52; see also § 66.
Kenya
Kenya’s LOAC Manual (1997) states: “Everything feasible must be done to verify that the assigned target is a military objective.” 
Kenya, Law of Armed Conflict, Military Basic Course (ORS), 4 Précis, The School of Military Police, 1997, Précis No. 4, p. 1.
Madagascar
Madagascar’s Military Manual (1994) states: “The military character of an objective or target must be verified by reconnaissance and target identification.” 
Madagascar, Le Droit des Conflits Armés, Ministère des Forces Armées, August 1994, Fiche No. 6-O, § 23.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands states: “During the selection of targets and the preparation of attacks, it must be verified that the objectives to be attacked are neither civilians nor civilian objects but are military objectives.” 
Netherlands, Toepassing Humanitair Oorlogsrecht, Voorschift No. 27-412/1, Koninklijke Landmacht, Ministerie van Defensie, 1993, p. V-11.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states:
When selecting objectives and preparing to attack, the attacker must:
- make sure that the objectives to be attacked are not civilians, the civilian population or civilian objects, but military objectives. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0542; see also § 0548.
New Zealand
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) states: “Those who plan or decide upon an attack shall do everything feasible to verify that the objectives to be attacked are neither civilians nor civilian objects and are not subject to special protection but are military objectives.” 
New Zealand, Interim Law of Armed Conflict Manual, DM 112, New Zealand Defence Force, Headquarters, Directorate of Legal Services, Wellington, November 1992, § 518(1).
Nigeria
Nigeria’s Military Manual (1994) states: “In the conduct of their attack, members of the armed forces shall only direct their attack at military objectives which must have been identified as such, clearly designated and assigned.” 
Nigeria, International Humanitarian Law (IHL), Directorate of Legal Services, Nigerian Army, 1994, p. 43, § 14.
The manual further states: “The military character of the objectives and targets must be verified and precaution taken not to attack non-military objectives like merchant ships, civilian aircraft etc.” 
Nigeria, International Humanitarian Law (IHL), Directorate of Legal Services, Nigerian Army, 1994, p. 45, § 16(a).
Peru
Peru’s IHL and Human Rights Manual (2010) states that commanders “must verify the military nature of an objective or a target through reconnaissance and identification”. 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario y Derechos Humanos para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial No. 049-2010/DE/VPD, Lima, 21 May 2010, § 52, p. 434.
Philippines
The Joint Circular on Adherence to IHL and Human Rights (1991) of the Philippines states: “Preparation fires may be delivered only against confirmed hostile positions prior to an attack or offensive action subject to the approval/direction of the brigade/equivalent level commander.” 
Philippines, Implementation Guidelines for Presidential Memorandum Order No. 393, dated 9 September 1991, Directing the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippines National Police to Reaffirm their Adherence to the Principles of Humanitarian Law and Human Rights in the Conduct of Security/Police Operations, Joint Circular Number 2-91, Department of National Defense, Department of Interior and Local Government, 1991, § 2(c)(3).
Philippines
The Philippines’ AFP Standing Rules of Engagement (2005) states:
8. General Rules for the Correct Use of Force towards Mission Accomplishment
f. Positive Identification (PID) of targets is required prior to engagement. PID is a reasonable certainty that the object of attack is verified and confirmed as a legitimate military target in accordance with this SROE [Standing Rules of Engagement]. 
Philippines, AFP Standing Rules of Engagement, Armed Forces of the Philippines, General Headquarters, Office of the Chief of Staff, 1 December 2005, § 8(f).
Philippines
The Philippine Army Soldier’s Handbook on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (2006) provides:
During an engagement:
6. Double-check your target. Don’t be too hasty and careless in firing at anyone whom you think is a combatant. There are times when it is too late to know that the supposed combatant is just carrying an airgun or a farm tool. Sometimes, friendly troops also become victims of friendly fires. This is also true to field artillery units. 
Philippines, Philippine Army Soldier’s Handbook on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, A Practical Guide for Internal Security Operations, 2006, p. 60, § 6.
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) states: “The military character of the objective shall be verified by reconnaissance and target identification.” 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Publicación OR7-004, 2 Tomos, aprobado por el Estado Mayor del Ejército, División de Operaciones, 18 March 1996, Vol. I, § 10.8.e.(2); see also §§ 10.8.f.(1) and 2.3.b.(1).
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states that “those who plan or order an attack must do everything feasible to verify that the objectives that they are targeting are not civilians, civilian property or persons or objects subject to special protection”. 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Tomo 1, Publicación OR7–004, (Edición Segunda), Mando de Adiestramiento y Doctrina, Dirección de Doctrina, Orgánica y Materiales, 2 November 2007, § 4.3; see also §§ 2.3.b.(1) and 4.5.a.(1).(a).
Sweden
Sweden’s IHL Manual (1991) states: “The responsible commander shall verify that the attack is really directed against a military objective and not against [a] civilian population or civilian objects.”  
Sweden, International Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflict, with reference to the Swedish Total Defence System, Swedish Ministry of Defence, January 1991, Section 3.2.1.5, p. 70.
Switzerland
Switzerland’s Basic Military Manual (1987) states: “Only specific and duly identified military objectives may be attacked.” 
Switzerland, Lois et coutumes de la guerre (Extrait et commentaire), Règlement 51.7/II f, Armée Suisse, 1987, Article 28.
Switzerland
Switzerland’s Regulation on Legal Bases for Conduct during an Engagement (2005) states:
12.5 Precautionary measures
165 The following precautionary measures must be taken into consideration when making decisions, when issuing orders and in particular when conducting military operations.
166 Anyone who attacks:
1 must make sure that the objectives of the attack are neither civilians nor civilian objects. 
Switzerland, Bases légales du comportement à l’engagement (BCE), Règlement 51.007/IVf, Swiss Army, issued based on Article 10 of the Ordinance for the Organization of the Federal Department for Defence, Civil Protection and Sports of March 2003, entry into force on 1 July 2005, §§ 165–166(1). The German language version notes in § 166(1): “must do everything feasible … [“hat alles praktisch Mögliche zu tun …”]”.
[emphasis in original]
Togo
Togo’s Military Manual (1996) states: “All necessary measures must be taken to verify that the target to be destroyed is a military objective.” 
Togo, Le Droit de la Guerre, III fascicules, Etat-major Général des Forces Armées Togolaises, Ministère de la Défense nationale, 1996, Fascicule III, p. 11; see also Fascicule II, p. 6.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Pamphlet (1981) states: “Everything feasible must be done to verify that the target is a military objective.” 
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(a).
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states: “There is a legal obligation to do everything feasible to verify that the proposed target is not protected from attack and that it is a military objective.” 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 5.32.2.
In its chapter on maritime warfare, the manual provides:
With respect to attacks, the following precautions shall be taken:
a. those who plan, decide upon or execute an attack must take all feasible measures to gather information which will assist in determining whether or not objects which are not military objectives are present in an area of attack;
b. in the light of the information available to them, those who plan, decide upon or execute an attack shall do everything feasible to ensure that attacks are limited to military objectives. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 13.32.
United States of America
The US Rules of Engagement for the Vietnam War (1971) stated:
All possible means will be employed to limit the risk to the lives and property of friendly forces and civilians. In this respect, a target must be clearly identified as hostile prior to making a decision to place fire on it. 
United States, Rules of Engagement for the Employment of Firepower in the Republic of Viet-Nam, US Military Assistance Command Viet-Nam, Directive No. 525-13, May 1971, unclassified contents reprinted in Eleanor C. McDowell, Digest of United States Practice in International Law, 1975, US Department of State Publication 8865, Washington, D.C., 1976, pp. 814–815, § 6(a).
United States of America
The US Air Force Pamphlet (1976) states:
Those who plan or decide upon an attack must do everything feasible to verify that the objectives to be attacked are neither civilians nor civilian objects and not subject to special protection but are military objectives and that it is permissible to attack them. 
United States, Air Force Pamphlet 110-31, International Law – The Conduct of Armed Conflict and Air Operations, US Department of the Air Force, 1976, § 5-3(c)(1)(b)(i)(a).
United States of America
The US Naval Handbook (1995) states: “All reasonable precautions must be taken to ensure that only military objectives are targeted.” 
United States, The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations, NWP 1-14M/MCWP 5-2.1/COMDTPUB P5800.7, issued by the Department of the Navy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and Headquarters, US Marine Corps, and Department of Transportation, US Coast Guard, October 1995 (formerly NWP 9 (Rev. A)/FMFM 1-10, October 1989), § 8.1.
United States of America
The US Naval Handbook (2007) states that “all reasonable precautions must be taken to ensure that only military objectives are targeted”. 
United States, The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations, NWP 1-14M/MCWP 5-12.1/COMDTPUB P5800.7, issued by the Department of the Navy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and Headquarters, US Marine Corps, and Department of Homeland Security, US Coast Guard, July 2007, § 8.1.
Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia’s Military Manual (1988) states: “It is permitted to directly attack and bombard only military objectives. Before undertaking an attack, it is necessary to determine whether the objective to be attacked is identified as a military objective.” 
Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of, Propisi o Primeri Pravila Medjunarodnog Ratnog Prava u Oruzanim Snagama SFRJ, PrU-2, Savezni Sekretarijat za Narodnu Odbranu (Pravna Uprava), 1988, § 72(1).
Denmark
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (1973), as amended in 1978, provides:
Any person who uses war instruments or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or the general rules of international law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. a fine, lenient imprisonment or up to 12 years’ imprisonment]. 
Denmark, Military Criminal Code, 1973, as amended in 1978, § 25(1).
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (2005) provides:
Any person who deliberately uses war means [“krigsmiddel”] or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or international customary law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. imprisonment up to life imprisonment]. 
Denmark, Military Criminal Code, 2005, § 36(2).
Ireland
Under Ireland’s Geneva Conventions Act (1962), as amended in 1998, any “minor breach” of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, including violations of Article 57(2)(a)(i), is a punishable offence. 
Ireland, Geneva Conventions Act, 1962, as amended in 1998, Section 4(1) and (4).
Norway
Norway’s Military Penal Code (1902), as amended in 1981, provides:
Anyone who contravenes or is accessory to the contravention of provisions relating to the protection of persons or property laid down in … the two additional protocols to [the 1949 Geneva] Conventions … is liable to imprisonment. 
Norway, Military Penal Code, 1902, as amended in 1981, § 108(b).
Colombia
In 2007, in the Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, the Plenary Chamber of Colombia’s Constitutional Court stated:
The precautionary principle is the cornerstone of a number of specific rules which are all considered to have attained customary status and to be applicable in internal armed conflicts … Among these rules is … the obligation of the parties to a conflict to do everything feasible to verify that targets are military objectives. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, Judgment of 25 April 2007, p. 99.
[footnote in original omitted]
Spain
In 2010, in the Couso case, which concerned the killing of a Spanish journalist in Baghdad on 8 April 2003 by troops of the United States of America, the Criminal Chamber of Spain’s Supreme Court referred to norms of IHL relevant to the case under review, including Article 57(2)(a)(i) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
Spain, Supreme Court, Couso case, Judgment, 13 July 2010, Section II(II), Sexto, § 2, p. 15.
Egypt
The Report on the Practice of Egypt considers target verification to be an absolute obligation. 
Report on the Practice of Egypt, 1997, Chapter 1.6.
Germany
In 2006, in a report produced in response to a request by the Parliamentary Control Panel (parliamentary body controlling intelligence services) regarding incidents relating to the Iraq war and the fight against international terrorism, Germany’s Federal Government stated:
2. Activities of the BND [Bundesnachrichtendienst – Foreign Intelligence Service] in connection with the Iraq war
e) Surrounding conditions and mission of the SET [Sonder-Einsatz-Team – Special Task Team, in Baghdad from February 2003]
Part of the mission of the SET was further:
- Generally, the collection of information in order to allow the Federal Government to gain an independent picture of the situation.
- Collection of GPS data, in order to prevent attacks against civilian installations protected under the international law of war (schools, hospitals, diplomatic institutions).
f) Mission of the SET
In the beginning, the focus of reporting from Baghdad was the identification and attribution of the embassies in Baghdad. The BND headquarters transferred this information to US authorities in order to prevent attacks on installations protected under the international law of war.
g) Development of the cooperation with US authorities
The US side placed requests for information concerning broadly diversified issues. Some of them were answered, also by using reports from the SET.
Those can thematically be classed as follows:
- Reports dealt with installations protected under the international law of war or with humanitarian concerns (embassies and consulates, synagogue/Torah scrolls, possible location of a missing US pilot). Some of these reports contained geographical coordinates.
Implementing the fundamental political position of the Federal Government, the following constraints for the exchange of information with the US side were given orally:
1. No support to the offensive strategic aerial warfare …
2. No transfer of information of direct relevance to the tactical air and land warfare of the coalition troops …
3. Support to the coalition troops in avoiding attacks on objects protected under the international law of war. 
Germany, Federal Government, Report in response to request by Parliamentary Control Panel (2006), 23 February 2006, pp. 5, 12, 13–14, 18 and 19–21.
Indonesia
On the basis of an interview with a senior officer of the armed forces, the Report on the Practice of Indonesia states that the Indonesian armed forces normally observe the precautions listed in Article 57 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
Report on the Practice of Indonesia, 1997, Interview with a senior officer of the Indonesian armed forces, Chapter 1.6.
Iraq
On the basis of a reply by Iraq’s Ministry of Defence to a questionnaire, the Report on the Practice of Iraq lists, among the precautions required in attack, the duty to ascertain the purely military nature of a target before taking any action against it. 
Report on the Practice of Iraq, 1998, Reply by the Iraqi Ministry of Defence to a questionnaire, July 1997, Chapter 1.6.
Islamic Republic of Iran
The Report on the Practice of the Islamic Republic of Iran notes, with respect to the Iran-Iraq War: “Iranian authorities claimed that they did take all feasible precautions to verify that the objectives to be attacked were neither civilians nor civilian objects.” 
Report on the Practice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1997, Chapter 1.6.
Israel
The Report on the Practice of Israel states: “In principle, the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] recognizes a general obligation to verify the military nature of a target during pre-attack planning phases.” 
Report on the Practice of Israel, 1997, Answers to additional questions on Chapter 1.6.
Israel
In 2009, in a report on Israeli operations in Gaza between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009 (the “Gaza Operation”, also known as “Operation Cast Lead”), Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated:
[W]hen possible, the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] used (in real time) updated and precise intelligence available regarding target identification and the risk of incidental civilian harm. When necessary, it also cross checked intelligence sources before commencing attacks, even in cases in which delaying fire entailed additional risk to both Israeli civilians and IDF forces. 
Israel, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Operation in Gaza 27 December 2008–18 January 2009: Factual and Legal Aspects, 29 July 2009, § 254.
Jordan
The Report on the Practice of Jordan notes that a booklet on the law of armed conflict prepared by the ICRC is used by military commanders. The booklet gives a list of principles to apply in military action, among which is the obligation to verify the military nature of an objective prior to the attack. 
Report on the Practice of Jordan, 1997, Answers to additional questions on Chapter 1.6.
Malaysia
According to the Report on the Practice of Malaysia, the obligation to verify that targets are indeed military objectives forms part of Malaysian practice. 
Report on the Practice of Malaysia, 1997, Answers to additional questions on Chapter 1.6.
Netherlands
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.
Switzerland
In 2005, Switzerland withdrew its reservations to Articles 57 and 58 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
Switzerland, Withdrawal of reservations to the 1977 Additional Protocol I, 17 June 2005.
Syrian Arab Republic
The Report on the Practice of the Syrian Arab Republic asserts that the Syrian Arab Republic considers Article 57 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I to be part of customary international law. 
Report on the Practice of the Syrian Arab Republic, 1997, Chapter 1.6.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In a report submitted to the UN Security Council on operations in the Gulf War, the United Kingdom asserted that UK commanders were briefed on the “locations and significance of sites of religious and cultural importance in Iraq” and that operations would take this information into account. 
United Kingdom, Letter dated 21 January 1991 to the President of the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/22115, 21 January 1991, p. 1; see also Letter dated 13 February 1991 to the President of the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/22218, 13 February 1991, p. 1.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
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.
United States of America
The Report on US Practice refers to an instance recorded during the Vietnam War in the early 1970s when a possible storage facility for air defence missiles, which would normally have been a high-priority target, was removed from the target list because it was “in a heavily populated area on the edge of Hanoi and the intelligence which indicated that it might be a storage facility was somewhat speculative”. 
Report on US Practice, 1997, Chapter 1.6, referring to James R. McCarthy and George B. Allison, Linebacker II: A View From the Rock, US Air Force Southeast Asia Monograph Series, Volume VI, Monograph 8, 1979, pp. 97–98.
Zimbabwe
The Report on the Practice of Zimbabwe states that the provisions of Article 57 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I would be regarded as customary by Zimbabwe because of its adoption of the Geneva Conventions Amendment Act which incorporates the 1977 Additional Protocol I into Zimbabwe’s law and practice. 
Report on the Practice of Zimbabwe, 1998, Chapter 1.6.
No data.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
During the air campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999, NATO stated on various occasions that the targets attacked were exclusively military. According to NATO, the targets were carefully selected and continuously assessed to avoid collateral damage. 
NATO, Press Conferences of 25 and 26 March 1999, 3 and 9 April 1999, 15 and 21 May 1999.
No data.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
In its judgment in the Kupreškić case in 2000, the ICTY Trial Chamber stated that Article 57 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I was now part of customary international law, not only because it specified and fleshed out general pre-existing norms, but also because it did not appear to be contested by any State, including those that had not ratified the Protocol. 
ICTY, Kupreškić case, Judgment, 14 January 2000, § 524.
With reference to the Martens Clause, the Trial Chamber held:
The prescriptions of … [Article 57 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I] (and of the corresponding customary rules) must be interpreted so as to construe as narrowly as possible the discretionary power to attack belligerents and, by the same token, so as to expand the protection accorded to civilians. 
ICTY, Kupreškić case, Judgment, 14 January 2000, § 525.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
In its final report to the ICTY Prosecutor in 2000, the Committee Established to Review the NATO Bombing Campaign Against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia stated:
In determining whether or not the mens rea requirement [intention or recklessness, for the offence of unlawful attack under Article 3 of the 1993 ICTY Statute] has been met, it should be borne in mind that commanders deciding on an attack have duties:
a) to do everything practicable to verify that the objectives to be attacked are military objectives. 
ICTY, Final Report to the Prosecutor by the Committee Established to Review the NATO Bombing Campaign Against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, The Hague, 14 June 2000, § 28.
Regarding the 15,000 feet minimum flying altitude adopted by NATO for part of the campaign, the Committee stated: “NATO air commanders have a duty to take practicable measures to distinguish military objectives from civilians and civilian objectives.” 
ICTY, Final Report to the Prosecutor by the Committee Established to Review the NATO Bombing Campaign Against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, The Hague, 14 June 2000, § 56.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
In its judgment in the Galić case in 2003, the ICTY Trial Chamber stated:
The practical application of the principle of distinction requires that those who plan or launch an attack take all feasible precautions to verify that the objectives attacked are neither civilians nor civilian objects, so as to spare civilians as much as possible. 
ICTY, Galić case, Judgment, 5 December 2003, § 58.
ICRC
To fulfil its task of disseminating IHL, the ICRC has delegates around the world teaching armed and security forces the following rules:
The attack may only be directed at a specific military objective. The military objective must be identified as such and clearly designated and assigned. The attack shall be limited to the assigned military objective. The precautions to be taken in targeting are equivalent to those to be respected in the choice of a military objective.
In combat action the military character of the objectives and targets must be verified. 
Frédéric de Mulinen, Handbook on the Law of War for Armed Forces, ICRC, Geneva, 1987, §§ 428, 434 and 454.
ICRC
In an appeal issued in October 1973, the ICRC urged all the belligerents in the conflict in the Middle East (Egypt, Iraq, Israel and the Syrian Arab Republic) to observe forthwith, in particular, the provisions of, inter alia, Article 50(1)(a) of the draft Additional Protocol I, which stated in part: “Those who plan or decide upon an attack shall ensure that the objectives to be attacked are duly identified as military objectives.” (Proposal I). All governments concerned replied favourably. 
ICRC, The International Committee’s Action in the Middle East, IRRC, No. 152, 1973, pp. 584–585.
No data.