Practice Relating to Rule 19. Control during the Execution of Attacks

Additional Protocol I
Article 57(2)(b) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I provides that, with respect to attacks, the following precautions shall be taken:
An attack shall be cancelled or suspended if it becomes apparent that the objective is not a military one or subject to special protection or that the attack may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated. 
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)(b). 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 provides:
Without prejudice to other precautions required by international humanitarian law in the conduct of military operations, each Party to the conflict shall:
(d) cancel or suspend an attack if it becomes apparent:
(i) that the objective is cultural property protected under Article 4 of the Convention;
(ii) that the attack may be expected to cause incidental damage to cultural property protected under Article 4 of the Convention which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated. 
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 9 of the 1956 New Delhi Draft Rules states:
All possible precautions shall be taken, both in the choice of the weapons and methods to be used, and in the carrying out of an attack, to ensure that no losses or damage are caused to the civilian population in the vicinity of the objective, or to its dwellings, or that such losses or damage are at least reduced to a minimum.
In particular, in towns and other places with a large civilian population, which are not in the vicinity of military or naval operations, the attack shall be conducted with the greatest degree of precision. It must not cause losses or destruction beyond the immediate surroundings of the objective attacked.
The person responsible for carrying out the attack must abandon or break off the operation if he perceives that the conditions set forth above cannot be respected. 
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 9.
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(d) of the 1994 San Remo Manual provides: “An attack shall be cancelled or suspended as soon as it becomes apparent that the collateral casualties or damage would be excessive.” 
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(d).
Argentina
Argentina’s Law of War Manual (1989) states:
Those who plan or decide upon an attack shall, as far as possible, … suspend or cancel an attack if it becomes apparent that the attack may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated. 
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 Commanders’ Guide (1994) provides: “An attack must be cancelled or suspended if it becomes apparent that the target is not a legitimate military objective and excessive collateral damage would occur in relation to the direct military advantage.” 
Australia, Law of Armed Conflict, Commanders’ Guide, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 Supplement 1 – Interim Edition, 7 March 1994, § 957(d).
Australia
Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) provides an example of the obligation to cancel an attack when the object is not a military objective or is subject to special protection:
For example, aircrew may be ordered to bomb what the mission planner believes to be a command and control centre. If, in the course of the mission, the command and control centre is displaying an unbriefed symbol of protection, eg Red Cross symbol, then aircrew must refrain from completing their attack. The Red Cross symbol indicates the facility is a protected installation and is immune from attack unless intelligence, or higher authority, determines that the facility has lost its protected status because the emblem is being misused. 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, § 832.
Australia
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) states that, during the execution of attacks, it is the commander’s responsibility to
cancel or suspend the attack should it become apparent that the assessment made under dot points 2 [assess the target as a valid military objective and otherwise unprotected by the LOAC] and 4 [assess collateral damage as proportional] are no longer valid. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, § 5.62.
In its chapter on “Air Operations”, the manual states:
8.35 An attack must be cancelled or suspended at any stage where it becomes apparent that the objective is not a military one, is subject to special protection, or the attack may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.
8.36 … For example, aircrew have a special and personal responsibility, under the Additional Protocols, to ensure LOAC compliance if they acquire information that was not available at the planning stage. For example, aircrew may be ordered to bomb what the mission planner believes to be a command and control centre. If, in the course of the mission, the command and control centre is displaying an unbriefed symbol of protection, eg Red Cross symbol, then aircrew must refrain from completing their attack. The Red Cross symbol indicates the facility is a protected installation and is immune from attack unless intelligence, or higher authority, determines that the facility has lost its protected status because the emblem is being misused. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, §§ 8.35–8.36.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
Belgium
According to Belgium’s Law of War Manual (1983), an attack must be cancelled “if the military advantage is inferior to the damage”. 
Belgium, Droit Pénal et Disciplinaire Militaire et Droit de la Guerre, Deuxième Partie, Droit de la Guerre, Ecole Royale Militaire, par J. Maes, Chargé de cours, Avocat-général près la Cour Militaire, D/1983/1187/029, 1983, p. 29.
Benin
Benin’s Military Manual (1995) states: “An attack shall be cancelled or suspended if it becomes apparent that the objective, aim or target is not military.” 
Benin, Le Droit de la Guerre, III fascicules, Forces Armées du Bénin, Ministère de la Défense nationale, 1995, Fascicule III, p. 14.
Burundi
Burundi’s Regulations on International Humanitarian Law (2007) states that “belligerents are obliged to … suspend an attack if it becomes apparent that the target is not a military objective or that the attack will cause damage to civilians which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated”. 
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, pp. 63 and 81.
The Regulations, under the heading “The Responsibility of each Commander regarding Respect for the Law of War”, states: “In all cases, an operation must be cancelled or suspended if it becomes apparent that the target is not 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. 44; see also Part I bis, p. 120.
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (1992) states:
An attack shall be cancelled or suspended if it becomes apparent that the objective is not a military one or subject to special protection or that the attack may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated. 
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. 83.
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (2006), under the heading “Regulations regarding the Means and Methods of Attack”, states: “Suspension of an attack. An attack against an objective which initially appeared to be military in nature, but which is [subsequently found to be] non-military, must be suspended.” 
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.
The manual continues by quoting Article 57(2)(b) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I on the cancellation of attacks. 
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) provides:
An attack must be cancelled or suspended if it becomes apparent that the objective is not a legitimate target, or that the attack may be expected to cause collateral civilian damage which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 4-4, § 28; see also p. 4-3, § 18 (proportionality test) and p. 7-5, § 50 (air to land operations).
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001) states in its chapter on targeting:
413. Proportionality
2. The proportionality test is as follows: Is the attack expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof (“collateral civilian damage”), which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated? If the answer is “yes”, the attack must be cancelled or suspended. The proportionality test must be used in the selection of any target.
419. Cancellation or Suspension of an Attack
1. An attack must be cancelled or suspended if it becomes apparent that the objective is not a legitimate target, or that the attack may be expected to cause collateral civilian damage, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, §§ 413.2 and 419.
In its chapter on air warfare, the manual states:
An attack shall be cancelled or suspended if it becomes apparent that the objective is not a legitimate target or is subject to special protection, or that the attack may be expected to cause collateral civilian damage, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 716.6.
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): “Controlling execution is the final step in the command process. … Control further comprises making adjustments during an action with a view to limiting civilian losses and damage, if the mission permits.” 
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 II, Section IV.
Also in Volume 3, the manual states: “Attacks must be cancelled or suspended if it becomes apparent that the objective or target is not a military one.” 
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 2.
Colombia
Colombia’s Basic Military Manual (1995) states: “An attack shall be suspended or cancelled if it appears that it will cause superfluous damage to civilians and civilian objects regarding the expected military advantage.” 
Colombia, Derecho Internacional Humanitario – Manual Básico para las Personerías y las Fuerzas Armadas de Colombia, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, 1995, p. 47.
Côte d’Ivoire
Côte d’Ivoire’s Teaching Manual (2007) provides in Book III, Volume 1 (Instruction of first-year trainee officers):
IV.1.2. Obligations in the execution of the attack
The force leading the attack must be ready to cancel, suspend or adapt a planned attack if it becomes apparent that the objective is not a military one or is subject to special protection or that the attack may be expected to cause incidental civilian damage which would probably be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated (principle of proportionality).  
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, p. 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, p. 71.
In Book IV (Instruction of heads of division and company commanders), the Teaching Manual provides:
The proportionality test is as follows: can the attack be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated? If the answer is “yes”, the attack must be cancelled or postponed. The proportionality test must be used for the selection of every objective. 
Côte d’Ivoire, 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. 28 and 29.
Croatia
Croatia’s Commanders’ Manual (1992) states: “If in the course of an attack the target or the objective appears not to be military, the commander shall deviate or cancel the attack.” 
Croatia, Basic Rules of the Law of Armed Conflicts – Commanders’ Manual, Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Defence, 1992, § 56.
France
France’s LOAC Manual (2001) states: “The law of armed conflict obliges commanders to take precautionary measures in the preparation and execution of attacks in order to limit their effects and to make sure they have no indiscriminate effects.” 
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. 28.
(emphasis added)
Germany
Germany’s Military Manual (1992) provides: “An attack shall be suspended if it becomes apparent that the objective is not a military one or is subject to special protection or that the attack may be expected to cause excessive incidental loss of civilian life or damage.” 
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.
Hungary
Hungary’s Military Manual (1992) states: “During operations, adjustments shall be made according to the tactical situation.” 
Hungary, A Hadijog, Jegyzet a Katonai, Föiskolák Hallgatói Részére, Magyar Honvédség Szolnoki Repülötiszti Föiskola, 1992, p. 58.
Italy
Italy’s LOAC Elementary Rules Manual (1991) states: “If in the course of an attack the target or the objective appears not to be military, the commander shall deviate or cancel the attack.” 
Italy, Regole elementari di diritto di guerra, SMD-G-012, Stato Maggiore della Difesa, I Reparto, Ufficio Addestramento e Regolamenti, Rome, 1991, § 56.
Kenya
Kenya’s LOAC Manual (1997) provides: “The attack shall be deviated or cancelled if the objective or target appears not to be military.” 
Kenya, Law of Armed Conflict, Military Basic Course (ORS), 4 Précis, The School of Military Police, 1997, Précis No. 4, p. 9.
The manual further specifies that: “If the resulting loss or damage of a military operation would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage excepted, the operation must be cancelled or suspended.” 
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: “A commander must suspend or cancel an attack if, in the course of the attack, it becomes apparent that the target or objective is not a military one.” 
Madagascar, Le Droit des Conflits Armés, Ministère des Forces Armées, August 1994, Fiche No. 6-O, § 27.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands states:
Once an attack has been launched the issue of cancellation or suspension may arise. In principle, the same rules apply as to the refraining from deciding to launch an attack in the preparation phase.
The extent to which commanders and their possible staff will be held accountable to comply with these rules depends on three factors:
–Freedom of choice of means and methods.
–Availability of information.
–Available time.
The higher the level [of command] the stricter the application of these rules can be required. 
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:
If an attack has begun, it may be necessary to give orders to halt or suspend it. Essentially the same rules apply to this as to refraining from attack at the preparatory stage.
The extent to which commanding officers and their staffs, if any, may be bound by these rules depends on three specific factors:
- freedom of choice of means and methods;
- availability of intelligence;
- available time.
The higher the level, the stricter the requirement for the application of the rules. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0544.
The manual further states:
[O]rders should be given to halt or suspend an attack if it becomes clear that the objective is cultural property and that the attack can be expected to cause collateral damage to such cultural property out of proportion to the expected military advantage. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0529.
In its chapter on non-international armed conflict, the manual states: “If necessary, attacks must be cancelled, halted or suspended.” 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 1044.
New Zealand
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) states:
An attack shall be cancelled or suspended if it becomes apparent that the objective is not a military one or is subject to special protection or that the attack may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated. 
New Zealand, Interim Law of Armed Conflict Manual, DM 112, New Zealand Defence Force, Headquarters, Directorate of Legal Services, Wellington, November 1992, § 518(1).
The manual considers, however, that:
In practice, it is extremely difficult to stop an attack. The obligation does not extend below the levels of commanders who have the authority and practical possibility to do so; say a commander of a battalion group. The obligation is in any event subject to the knowledge principle … which means that its application will be rare. 
New Zealand, Interim Law of Armed Conflict Manual, DM 112, New Zealand Defence Force, Headquarters, Directorate of Legal Services, Wellington, November 1992, § 518(5).
Peru
Peru’s IHL Manual (2004) states:
There is … an obligation to suspend or cancel an attack if it becomes obvious that the target is not a military objective or is specifically protected or if the attack is likely to cause collateral damage which would be excessive in relation to the military advantage anticipated (rule of proportionality). This obligation is binding not only on those who give orders, but also on those who carry them out. 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial Nº 1394-2004-DE/CCFFAA/CDIH-FFAA, Lima, 1 December 2004, § 29.e; see also § 29.u.
The manual also states that those responsible for planning or deciding upon attacks must “cancel, suspend or adapt a planned attack if it becomes obvious that the incidental civilian damage is likely to be out of proportion to the specific gain from the attack (principle of proportionality)”. 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial Nº 1394-2004-DE/CCFFAA/CDIH-FFAA, Lima, 1 December 2004, § 29.b.(3).
Peru
Peru’s IHL and Human Rights Manual (2010) states: “The attack must be cancelled or suspended if it becomes clear that the objective or target is not a military one. In any case, the rule of proportionality must be respected.” 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario y Derechos Humanos para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial No. 049-2010/DE/VPD, Lima, 21 May 2010, § 30(u), p. 254.
The manual also states:
(b) Those who plan or decide upon attacks must:
(3) Cancel, interrupt or modify an attack if it is considered likely that its collateral effects would be excessive to the anticipated military advantage (principle of proportionality). 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario y Derechos Humanos para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial No. 049-2010/DE/VPD, Lima, 21 May 2010, § 30(b)(3), p. 242.
Russian Federation
The Russian Federation’s Regulations on the Application of IHL (2001) states:
No attack shall be launched if it may be expected to cause incidental losses or damage which would be excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage. It shall be cancelled or stopped as soon as it becomes obvious that collateral losses and damage will be excessive. 
Russian Federation, Regulations on the Application of International Humanitarian Law by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, Moscow, 8 August 2001, § 30.
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) states: “If in the course of an attack the objective appears not to be military, the commander shall deviate or cancel the attack.” 
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).
The manual further states:
An attack must be suspended or cancelled when, from the information available at the time of the execution of the attack, it may be expected to cause damage to civilian persons and/or objects which would be excessive in relation to the military advantage anticipated from the attack as a whole. 
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, § 2.5.c.
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states: “An attack must be cancelled or suspended if it becomes apparent that the objective or target is not a military one.” 
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, § 5.4.e.(1); see also § 7.3.a.(1).
The manual further states:
An attack must be cancelled or suspended if it becomes apparent, based on information available in the execution phase, that it is likely to lead to casualties among the civilian population or cause damage to civilian property which would be excessive in relation to the military advantage anticipated from the attack considered as a whole. 
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, § 2.5.c; see also §§ 4.3 and 4.5.a.(1).(b).
Sweden
Sweden’s IHL Manual (1991) states:
Even after a decision to attack has been made by a senior commander, the attack can be cancelled or suspended … in the following cases:
a. the objective proves not to be a military one, or to be entitled to special protection. An example of this is where military vehicles are being used as ambulances.
b. If it can be expected that the attack will cause such large unintentional civilian losses and damage that these would be excessive in relation to the anticipated and direct military advantage. In this case, the proportionality rule must thus be reapplied at a later stage. The feasibility of doing this depends to a large degree on the type of attack involved. For example, to require an assessment according to the proportionality rule from an individual aircraft pilot is probably unrealistic. 
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. 72.
Switzerland
Switzerland’s Basic Military Manual (1987) states: “If the military advantage is disproportionate to the damage, [commanding officers at the battalion or group level, and those of higher ranks,] must cancel or suspend the attack.” 
Switzerland, Lois et coutumes de la guerre (Extrait et commentaire), Règlement 51.7/II f, Armée Suisse, 1987, Article 29(2).
Switzerland
Switzerland’s Regulation on Legal Bases for Conduct during an Engagement (2005) states:
165 The following precautionary measures must be taken into consideration when making decisions, when issuing orders and in particular when conducting military operations.
167 If it becomes apparent that an attack is directed against an objective that is not military or against a protected object or that the attack causes disproportionate damage to the civilian population or its property in relation to a concrete and direct military advantage, the attack must be stopped immediately. 
Switzerland, Bases légales du comportement à l’engagement (BCE), Règlement 51.007/IVf, Swiss Army, issued based on Article 10 of the Ordinance on the Organization of the Federal Department for Defence, Civil Protection and Sports of 7 March 2003, entry into force on 1 July 2005, §§ 165 and 167. The German language version notes in § 167: “… or that the attack causes disproportionate damage to the civilian population and [“und”] its property …”.
Togo
Togo’s Military Manual (1996) states: “An attack shall be cancelled or suspended if it becomes apparent that the objective, aim or target is not military.” 
Togo, Le Droit de la Guerre, III fascicules, Etat-major Général des Forces Armées Togolaises, Ministère de la Défense nationale, 1996, Fascicule III, p. 14.
Ukraine
Ukraine’s IHL Manual (2004) states:
Commander (commanding officer) and staff shall constantly specify the character (status) of objects (objectives) planned for fire damage and the location of objects (areas) protected by international humanitarian law. If it becomes obvious that the targeted object is not a military objective, its targeting is cancelled and the mission of the subordinates is adjusted accordingly. 
Ukraine, Manual on the Application of IHL Rules, Ministry of Defence, 11 September 2004, § 2.3.3.3.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Pamphlet (1981) states: “If the resulting loss or damage would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage expected, the operation must be cancelled or suspended.” 
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(b).
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states: “There is the duty to cancel or suspend attacks if the incidental damage may be expected to be disproportionate to the military advantage anticipated.” 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 5.32.7.
In its chapter on maritime warfare, the manual provides that an attack shall be cancelled or suspended as soon as it becomes apparent that the collateral casualties or damage would be excessive.” 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 13.32.
With regard to internal armed conflict, the manual states:
15.22. In planning or carrying out attacks, precautions must be taken to limit attacks to military objectives and to minimize incidental loss or damage.
15.22.1. The need to take precautions can be inferred from the principle of proportionality and the principle of distinction, which require some care to be taken in the planning and execution of an attack. Attacks must be cancelled, suspended or re-planned if the rule in paragraph 15.21 [sic] cannot be complied with. The same applies in sieges. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, §§ 15.22–15.22.1.
United States of America
The US Air Force Pamphlet (1976) states:
An attack must be cancelled or suspended if it becomes apparent that the objective is not a military one, or that it is subject to special protection or that the attack may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated. 
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)(ii).
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)(b), 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).
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.
No data.
Egypt
The Report on the Practice of Egypt states that a planned attack must be suspended or terminated if it becomes clear that in spite of the precautions taken, the loss inflicted upon civilians or protected objects would be disproportionate to the foreseen military advantage. 
Report on the Practice of Egypt, 1997, Chapter 1.6.
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 states that during the Iran–Iraq War, Iraqi pilots refrained from striking listed targets that appeared to be civilian objects. These pilots were not held responsible for the apparent failure to follow their orders. 
Report on the Practice of Iraq, 1998, Reply by the Iraqi Ministry of Defence to a questionnaire, July 1997, Chapter 1.6.
Israel
The Report on the Practice of Israel states: “In principle, the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] will endeavour to suspend or cancel an attack if it becomes apparent that the objective is not of a military nature or will result in excessive incidental loss of civilian life.” 
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:
253. Certain attacks could not be planned in advance, but became imperative in real time during combat … [C]ommanders in the field are expected to carefully assess both the expected military gain and the potential of collateral injury to civilians and civilian property in the area. In making this determination, the commander considers numerous factors. In assessing military advantage, for example, the commander will take into account the degree and immediacy of the threat posed by the target to the safety and security of Israeli civilians; the contribution of the target’s destruction towards the accomplishment of the mission; and the threat to IDF [Israel Defense Forces] personnel. In assessing possible collateral damage, the commander will consider the number of civilians near the target; whether they are exposed or protected; the expected radius of the strike’s lethal effects; and whether or not the attack can be delayed or carried out effectively with a more precise or less powerful weapon in the prevailing circumstances.
256. … [T]he IDF employed various means for monitoring the presence of civilians in areas of operation, where possible, including aerial surveillance, before conducting aerial attacks. The IDF aborted or postponed attacks on Hamas personnel and targets when it appeared that civilians were at risk, at the expense of attaining military advantage. In fact, the IDF has released video footage conclusively demonstrating the diversion of missiles during the Gaza Operation. 
Israel, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Operation in Gaza 27 December 2008–18 January 2009: Factual and Legal Aspects, 29 July 2009, §§ 253 and 256.
[footnote in original omitted]
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 refers to the obligation to suspend or cancel an attack if the objective is not of a military nature. 
Report on the Practice of Jordan, 1997, Chapter 1.6.
Malaysia
According to the Report on the Practice of Malaysia, the obligation to cancel or suspend an attack under the circumstances indicated in Article 57(2)(b) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I 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.
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 1991, in a report submitted to the UN Security Council on operations in the Gulf War, the United Kingdom stated that on a number of occasions attacks had not been “pressed home” because pilots were not completely satisfied that the order to avoid damage to sites of religious or cultural significance would be met. 
United Kingdom, Letter dated 13 February 1991 to the President of the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/22218, 13 February 1991, p. 1.
United States of America
The Report on US Practice notes that “during the 12-day bombardment campaign of 1972, the crews of B-52 heavy bombers took a number of steps to minimize civilian casualties in the heavily-populated Hanoi and Haiphong areas”.  
Report on US Practice, 1997, Chapter 1.6.
A published account of these events states:
The instructions to the RNs [radar navigators] were that if they were not 100 percent sure of their aiming point, “then don’t drop; bring the bombs back” … We had been briefed not to make any evasive maneuvers on the bomb run so that the radar navigator would be positive he was aiming at the right target. If he was not absolutely sure he had the right target, we were to withhold our bombs and then jettison them into the ocean on our way back to Guam. We did not want to hit anything but military targets. Precision bombing was the object of our mission. The crews were briefed this way and they followed their instructions. 
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. 46–47, 50 and 59–64.
United States of America
In 1991, during a news briefing concerning the Gulf War, the US Secretary of Defense stated: “The pilots of the allied air forces have operated in accordance with clear instructions to launch weapons only when they are certain they’ve selected the right targets under correct conditions.” 
United States, News Briefing by the US Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, 23 January 1991, annexed to Letter dated 25 January 1991 to the President of the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/22168, 29 January 1991, p. 3.
United States of America
In 1992, in its final report to Congress on the conduct of the Gulf War, the US Department of Defense stated:
Where required, attacking aircraft were accompanied by support mission aircraft to minimize attacking aircraft aircrew distraction from their assigned mission. Aircrews attacking targets in populated areas were directed not to expend their munitions if they lacked positive identification of their targets. When this occurred, aircrews dropped their bombs on alternate targets or returned to base with their weapons. 
United States, Department of Defense, Final Report to Congress on the Conduct of the Persian Gulf War, 10 April 1992, Appendix O, The Role of the Law of War, ILM, Vol. 31, 1992, p. 622.
United States of America
In 1993, in its report to Congress on the protection of natural and cultural resources during times of war, the US Department of Defense stated: “Aircrews attacking targets in proximity to cultural property were directed not to expend their munitions if they lacked positive identification of their targets.” 
United States, Department of Defense, Report to Congress on International Policies and Procedures Regarding the Protection of Natural and Cultural Resources During Times of War, 19 January 1993, p. 205.
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 Organisation
During the NATO air campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999, NATO stated that when pilots could not be certain of hitting a certain target with accuracy, they were instructed not even to attempt to do so, in order to avoid collateral damage. 
NATO, Press Conference, 27 March 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 who 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.
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)(b) of the draft Additional Protocol I, which stated:
Those who launch an attack shall, if possible, cancel or suspend it if it becomes apparent that the objective is not a military one or that incidental losses in civilian lives and damage to civilian objects would be disproportionate to the direct and substantial advantage anticipated.
All governments concerned replied favourably. 
ICRC, The International Committee’s Action in the Middle East, IRRC, No. 152, 1973, pp. 584–585.
ICRC
In a statement following NATO’s air strikes against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999, the ICRC recalled:
According to international humanitarian law, the parties to the conflict must take every feasible precaution when carrying out attacks. This includes aborting missions if it becomes clear that the objective is not military in nature or that the attack may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life that would be excessive in relation to the military advantage anticipated. 
ICRC, Statement: The Balkan conflict and respect for international humanitarian law, 26 April 1999, IRRC, No. 834, 1999, p. 410.
Amnesty International
In its report issued in 2000 on the NATO bombings of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Amnesty International concluded that “civilian deaths could have been significantly reduced if NATO forces had fully adhered to the laws of war. NATO did not always meet its legal obligations in selecting targets and in choosing means and methods of attack.” For instance, the report stated, in certain attacks, “including the Grdelica railroad bridge, the automobile bridge in Lužane, and Varvarin bridge, NATO forces failed to suspend their attack after it was evident that they had struck civilians, in contravention of Article 57(2)(b) of [the 1977 Additional] Protocol I”. 
Amnesty International, NATO/Federal Republic of Yugoslavia: “Collateral Damage” or Unlawful Killings? Violations of the Laws of War by NATO during Operation Allied Force, AI Index EUR 70/18/00, London, June 2000, p. 25.