Practice Relating to Rule 8. Definition of Military Objectives

Hague Convention (IX)
Article 2 of the 1907 Hague Convention (IX) allows the bombardment of “[m]ilitary works, military or naval establishments, depots of arms or war matériel, workshops or plant which could be utilized for the needs of the hostile fleet or army, and the ships of war in the harbour”. 
Hague Convention (IX) concerning Bombardment by Naval Forces in Time of War, The Hague, 18 October 1907, Article 2.
Geneva Conventions I and IV
Article 19 and Article 4 Annex I of the 1949 Geneva Convention I and Article 18 and Article 4 Annex I of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV use the term “military objectives” without, however, defining it. 
Convention (I) for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field, Geneva, 12 August 1949, Article 19 and Article 4 Annex I; Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, Geneva, 12 August 1949, Article 18 and Article 4 Annex I.
Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property
The 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property does not define a military objective, but Article 8 provides that refuges intended to shelter movable cultural property, centres containing monuments, and other immovable cultural property of very great importance may be placed under special protection, provided that they:
a) are situated at an adequate distance from any large industrial centre or from any important military objective constituting a vulnerable point, such as, for example, an aerodrome, broadcasting station, establishment engaged upon work of national defence, a port or railway station of relative importance or a main line of communication;
b) are not used for military purposes. 
Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, The Hague, 14 May 1954, Article 8.
Additional Protocol I
Article 52(2) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I provides:
In so far as objects are concerned, military objectives are limited to those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage. 
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 52(2). Article 52 was adopted by 79 votes in favour, none against and 7 abstentions. CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.41, 26 May 1977, p. 168.
Protocol II, Amended Protocol II, and Protocol III to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons
According to the identical definitions provided by Article 2(4) of the 1980 Protocol II to the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, Article 2(6) of the 1996 Amended Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, and Article 1(3) of the 1980 Protocol III to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons:
“Military objective” means, so far as objects are concerned, any object which by its nature, location, purpose or use makes an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage. 
Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby-Traps and Other Devices, to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects, Geneva, 10 October 1980, Article 2(4); Protocol on Prohibitions on the Use of Mines, Booby-Traps and Other Devices, as amended, to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects, Geneva, 3 May 1996, Article 2(6); Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Incendiary Weapons, to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects, Geneva, 10 October 1980, Article 1(3).
Second Protocol to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property
Article 1(f) of the 1999 Second Protocol to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property defines a military objective as:
An object which by its nature, location, purpose, or use makes an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralisation, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage. 
Second Protocol for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, The Hague, 26 March 1999, Article 1(f).
Lieber Code
Article 15 of the 1863 Lieber Code provides:
Military necessity admits of all direct destruction of life or limb of “armed” enemies, and of other persons whose destruction is incidentally “unavoidable” in the armed contests of the war; it allows of the capturing of every armed enemy, and every enemy of importance to the hostile government, or of peculiar danger to the captor; it allows of all destruction of property, and obstruction of the ways and channels of traffic, travel, or communication, and of all withholding of sustenance or means of life from the enemy; of the appropriation of whatever an enemy’s country affords necessary for the subsistence and safety of the army. Men who take up arms against one another in public war do not cease on this account to be moral beings, responsible to one another and to God. 
Instructions for the Government of Armies of the United States in the Field, prepared by Francis Lieber, promulgated as General Order No. 100 by President Abraham Lincoln, Washington D.C., 24 April 1863, Article 15.
Hague Rules of Air Warfare
Article 24(1) of the 1923 Hague Rules of Air Warfare provides: “Aerial bombardment is legitimate only when directed at a military objective, that is to say, an object of which the destruction or injury would constitute a distinct military advantage to the belligerent.” 
Rules concerning the Control of Wireless Telegraphy in Time of War and Air Warfare, Part II, drafted by a Commission of Jurists, The Hague, December 1922–February 1923, Article 24(1).
New Delhi Draft Rules
Article 7 of the 1956 New Delhi Draft Rules provides:
Only objectives belonging to the categories of objective which, in view of their essential characteristics, are generally acknowledged to be of military importance, may be considered as military objectives. Those categories are listed in the annex to the present rules.
However, even if they belong to one of those categories, they cannot be considered as a military objective where their total or partial destruction, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers no military advantage. 
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 7.
San Remo Manual
Paragraph 40 of the 1994 San Remo Manual adopts the same definition of military objectives as Article 52(2) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I.  
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, § 40.
Argentina
Argentina’s Law of War Manual (1989) states:
4.02 (2). … military objectives, that is, those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action or whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage.
4.19. Military objective. Military objectives, in so far as objects are concerned, are limited to those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action or whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage. 
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, §§ 4.02(2) and 4.19.
Australia
Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) states:
525 – Military objectives are those persons and objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage. The objective must be measured by its effect on the whole military operation or campaign and the attack should not be viewed in isolation. Military advantage includes the security of friendly forces.
916 – Civilian property or objectives are defined as anything which are not military objectives. Military objectives are:
c) objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage. In case of doubt whether an object which is normally dedicated to civilian purposes is being used to make an effective contribution to military action, it shall be presumed not to be so used. 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, §§ 525 and 916c.
Australia
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) states:
5.27 The term “military objective” includes combatant members of the enemy armed forces and their military weapons, vehicles, equipment and installations. It may include other objects that have military value such as bridges, communications towers, electricity and refined oil production facilities. Objects are however, only military objectives if they come within the following definition:
“those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralisation, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage.” (Article 52 (2) G. P. I) [1977 Additional Protocol I]
5.28 These criteria require commanders and others planning, deciding on or launching attacks to exercise their discretion. In doing so they must necessarily reach their decisions on the basis of their assessment of the information from all sources which is practicably available to them at the relevant time.
5.29 The taxonomy of defining of military objectives contains a number of elements:
• The second part of the definition limits the first. Both parts must apply before an object can be considered a military objective.
• Nature refers to the type of object, for example, military transports, command and control centres or communications stations.
Location includes areas which are militarily important because they must be captured or denied to the enemy or because the enemy must be made to retreat from them. An area of land can, thus, be a military objective.
Purpose means the future intended use of an object while “use” means its present function.
• The words nature, location, purpose or use seem at first sight to allow a wide discretion, but they are subject to the qualifications later in the definition of “effective contribution to military action” and the offering of “a definite military advantage”. There does not have to be geographical proximity between “effective contribution” and “military advantage.” That means that attacks on military supply dumps in the rear or diversionary attacks, away from the area of actual military operations, can be launched.
Military action means military action generally, not a limited or specific military operation.
• The words in the circumstances ruling at the time are important. If, for example, the enemy moved a divisional headquarters into a disused textile factory, an attack on that headquarters would be permissible (even though the factory might be destroyed in the process) because of the prevailing circumstances. Once the enemy moved their headquarters away, the circumstances would change again and the protection of the factory as a civilian object would be restored.
Definite means a concrete and perceptible military advantage rather than a hypothetical and speculative one.
• The military advantage anticipated from an attack refers to the advantage anticipated from the attack considered as a whole and not only from isolated or particular parts of the attack. The advantage need not be immediate. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, §§ 5.27–5.29; see also § 6.37 regarding maritime operations.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
Belgium
Belgium’s Law of War Manual (1983) states:
Considered as military objectives are:
1) Persons: combatants
2) Objects: a) objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action
and
b) whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage
3) Places: every defended position. This does not necessarily mean that it must be reinforced: it is sufficient that enemy troops go through it, or that it is protected by mine fields, or that its access is closed by artillery fire. 
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. 27.
Belgium
Belgium’s Regulations on the Tactical Use of Large Units (1994) states: “An objective is the final goal of an action. It is defined as either an area of land of tactical importance or as enemy elements that have to be destroyed or neutralized.” 
Belgium, L’Emploi Tactique des Grandes Unités, Règlement G 119, Ministère de la Défense Nationale, Etat-Major Général, Force Terrestre, Sections Operations et Entraînement, 1994 (édition provisoire), § 210.
Benin
Benin’s Military Manual (1995) states:
Military objectives comprise:
- Establishments, positions, buildings where armed forces or material belonging to them are situated (example: positions, barracks, stores);
- Other objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage (geographic spots of tactical importance, crests, thalwegs, mined areas). 
Benin, Le Droit de la Guerre, III fascicules, Forces Armées du Bénin, Ministère de la Défense nationale, 1995, Fascicule I, pp. 12–13.
Burundi
Burundi’s Regulations on International Humanitarian Law (2007) states that “military objectives [are] … objects which, by their nature, location, purpose or use, contribute to military action of the enemy and whose capture, destruction or neutralization offers a definite military advantage”. 
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. 16; see also pp. 9, 23, 32, 53 and 86.
The Regulations also states that “civilians who take direct part in combat become military objectives”. 
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. 53.
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (1992) states:
2.1.2 Military objective definition: Is considered a military objective:
- positions, barracks, warehouses;
- other goods whose existence or destruction contributes in some way to the military action.
3.2.1. Two categories of elements allow to define a military objective: those in relation with the military action and those in relation with the military advantage.
1- Elements necessary to the military action
A military objective can only be identified or defined by its importance to military action. Three different signs are relevant to this matter: the nature of the objective, the location of the objective and the function of the objective.
First, regarding the nature of the objective, it can be acknowledged that the military character of a good or objective can only be appreciated in relation to its value to armed forces. For example, a mortar is only valuable for combatants.
Second, regarding the location of the objective, it must be noted that the military character of a good or objective can also be defined by its location at the moment of the attack. However, it must be highlighted that it is always difficult to conduct an exact assessment, especially in large cities and forest areas, where military objectives and civilian goods are side by side.
Finally, regarding the function of the objective, it is important to indicate that a military objective is the one that is subjected to or may be subjected to attack from belligerents in order to obtain military advantage or its utilization to this end.
2- Elements enabling military advantage
In addition to the military action, the military objective is also defined with regard to the precise military advantage it provides. This is why, the capture or use of a military objective must enable, for example, putting the enemy to flight, the partial or total occupation of the enemy’s positions, the capture of a large number of prisoners, or the achievement of a partial or total military victory. 
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. 81; see also p. 17.
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) states that “military objectives [are] … objects which by virtue of their existence or destruction contribute in whatever way to military action”. 
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. 92, § 352.12; see also p. 134, § 412.12.
The manual also states:
The Elements of the Definition [of a Military Objective] (Article 52 First Protocol [1977 Additional Protocol I])
Two categories of elements define the military objective: those relating to the military action and those relating to the military advantage.
1. Elements necessary for military action
A military objective can only be defined or identified by its importance for military action.
Three aspects are relevant to this matter: the nature of the objective, the location of the objective and the function of the objective.
Firstly, regarding the nature of the objective, it must be noted that the military character of an object or an objective may only be appreciated in relation to its value for the armed forces. Thus, a mortar is only valuable for combatants.
Next, regarding the location of the objective, it must be noted that the military character of an object or objective is defined by its location at the moment of attack. It must be stressed that it is nonetheless always difficult to make an exact assessment, notably in large cities and forest areas where military objectives and civilian objects are located in close proximity to one another. It must further be noticed that the destination or use conferred upon an object can give it a military character. This is the case, for example, with schools which are transformed into military objects [objectives] [and] with objects indispensable for the survival of the [civilian] population which are used for the sole sustenance of members of the armed forces or other ends that support military action.
Lastly, regarding the function of the objective, it is important to specify that a military objective is one that is subjected or may be subjected to attacks by belligerents in order to obtain military advantages, or is used to these ends.
2. Elements enabling military advantage
In addition to the military action, the military objective is also defined by the relation to the precise military advantage which it procures. This is why the capture or use of a military objective must, for example, permit putting the enemy to flight, partially or totally occupying his positions, detaining large numbers of prisoners of war, or obtaining a partial or total military victory. 
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. 215, § 521.
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) states:
“Military objectives” are objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offer a definite military advantage. A specific area of land may constitute a military objective. 
Canada The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 4-1, § 8; see also Code of Conduct for CF Personnel, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 4 June 2001, Rule 1, § 4.
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001) states in its chapter on targeting:
406. Definition of legitimate targets
1. “Legitimate targets” include combatants, unlawful combatants and military objectives.
2. “Military objectives” are objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offer a definite military advantage. A specific area of land may constitute a military objective. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 406.
Canada
Canada’s Code of Conduct (2005) states:
Military objectives are those objects which make an effective contribution to military action due to their nature, location, purpose or use. Secondly, to be a military objective, the destruction or neutralization of the same must offer a definite military advantage to your operation. Thus, the characteristics of a military objective will vary depending on the type of operation and the mission assigned to the CF [Canadian Forces]. For example a bridge or a military barracks may well be a military objective in an armed conflict yet are unlikely to be so during a peace support operation. 
Canada, Code of Conduct for CF Personnel, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 2005, Rule 1, § 4.
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:
In so far as objects are concerned, military objectives are limited to those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage. 
Canada, Use of Force for CF Operations, Canadian Forces Joint Publication, Chief of the Defence Staff, B-GJ-005-501/FP-001, August 2008, § 112.1.b; see also Glossary, p. GL-3.
Central African Republic
The Central African Republic’s Instructor’s Manual (1999) states in Volume 1 (Basic and team leader instruction):
The following are considered military objectives:
- any other objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage (geographic spots of tactical importance, crests, thalwegs, mined areas). 
Central African Republic, Le Droit de la Guerre, Fascicule No. 1: Formation élémentaire toutes armés (FETA), formation commune de base (FCB), certificat d’aptitude technique No. 1 (Chef d’équipe), Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Centrafricaines, 1999, Chapter II, Section I, § 3.
Chad
Chad’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) states that military objectives include “other property which, by their nature, location, objective or use effectively contribute to the military action”. 
Chad, Droit international humanitaire, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les forces armées et de sécurité, Ministère de la Défense, Présidence de la République, Etat-major des Armées, 2006, p. 57; see also p. 58.
Colombia
Colombia’s Military Manual (1999) states:
Objects that are normally of a civilian nature can, according to the military situation, become military objectives (for example, a house, a bridge tactically used by defenders, and therefore a target for the attackers). … Military objectives are those “objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offer a definite military advantage”. 
Colombia, Derechos Humanos & Derecho Internacional Humanitario – Manual de Instrucción de la Guía de Conducta para el Soldado e Infante de Marina, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, Oficina de Derechos Humanos, Fuerzas Militares de Colombia, Santafé de Bogotá, 1999, pp. 16 and 17.
Côte d’Ivoire
Côte d’Ivoire’s Teaching Manual (2007) provides in Book I (Basic instruction):
I.2 Military objectives
- objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization offers a definite military advantage. 
Côte d’Ivoire, Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre I: Instruction de base, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, p. 18; see also Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre III, Tome 2: Instruction de l’élève officier d’active de 2ème année, Manuel de l’instructeur, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, p. 28; 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. 25.
Croatia
Croatia’s LOAC Compendium (1991) states that military targets are:
- Armed forces,
- Military installations, positions,
- Objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use contribute to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization provide a certain military advantage. 
Croatia, Compendium “Law of Armed Conflicts”, Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Defence, 1991, p. 7.
Ecuador
Ecuador’s Naval Manual (1989) states:
Military objectives are combatants and those objects which, by their nature, location, purpose or use, effectively contribute to the enemy’s war-fighting or war-sustaining capability and whose total or partial destruction, capture, or neutralization would constitute a definite military advantage to the attacker under the circumstances at the time of the attack. Military advantage may involve a variety of considerations, including the security of the attacking forces. 
Ecuador, Aspectos Importantes del Derecho Internacional Marítimo que Deben Tener Presente los Comandantes de los Buques, Academia de Guerra Naval, 1989, § 8.1.1.
France
France’s LOAC Teaching Note (2000) states:
Military objectives are those military units and objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offer a definite military advantage. 
France, Fiche didactique relative au droit des conflits armés, Directive of the Ministry of Defence, 4 January 2000, annexed to the Directive No. 147 of the Ministry of Defence of 4 January 2000, p. 2.
France
France’s LOAC Manual (2001) states:
Regarding objects, military objectives are limited to those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offer a definite military advantage. 
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. 90.
Germany
Germany’s Military Manual (1992) states:
Military objectives are armed forces – including paratroops in descent (…) but no crew members parachuting from an aircraft in distress … – and objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offer a definite military advantage. 
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, § 442.
Hungary
Hungary’s Military Manual (1992) states that military objectives are:
- Armed forces
- Military establishments, positions
- Objects that by their nature, location, purpose [or] use, contribute to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture [or] neutralization offers a definite military advantage. 
Hungary, A Hadijog, Jegyzet a Katonai, Föiskolák Hallgatói Részére, Magyar Honvédség Szolnoki Repülötiszti Föiskola, 1992, p. 18.
Indonesia
Indonesia’s Directive on Human Rights in Irian Jaya and Maluku (1995) provides: “Only property which contributes to the objectives of rebels (‘GPK’) may be attacked.” 
Indonesia, Directive concerning Human Rights, issued by the Commander of the Regional Military Command of Irian Jaya and Maluku, 1995, § 9(a).
Ireland
Ireland’s Basic LOAC Guide (2005) states:
Military objectives are “those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage”. 
Ireland, Basic Guide to the Law of Armed Conflict, TP/TRG/01-2005, Director of Defence Forces Training, Department of Defence, July 2005, p. 4.
Israel
Israel’s Manual on the Rules of Warfare (2006) states: “A military target is any target that, if attacked, would damage the military competence/fitness of the other side.” 
Israel, Rules of Warfare on the Battlefield, Military Advocate-General’s Corps Command, IDF School of Military Law, Second Edition, 2006, p. 23.
The manual further states:
A military target for attack is a target that, through its nature, content or use would make an effective contribution to the military actions of the other side, and the neutralisation thereof would give the attacker a clear military advantage. A soldier is an obvious military target, while a little girl playing on the swings in the playground is certainly not. A clear military target is, for example, an enemy position and a clear civilian target is a playground. However, in between these two extremes lie a whole spectrum of examples that are less clear-cut. For example, a factory that produces steel and that is used to built tanks, and a factory that produces the raw materials used in the production of gunpowder. Discussions regarding the distinction between military and non-military targets, and how far it might [be] possible to stretch the limits are very extensive in the modern era. These questions intensified during World War II, when air forces were involved in the extensive bombing of infrastructure. In that war the definition of a military target became overextended and were also applied to telecommunications centres, steel factories, power stations, strategic installations and more. 
Israel, Rules of Warfare on the Battlefield, Military Advocate-General’s Corps Command, IDF School of Military Law, Second Edition, 2006, pp. 23–24.
The Manual on the Rules of Warfare (2006) is a second edition of the Manual on the Laws of War (1998).
Italy
Italy’s IHL Manual (1991) states:
Direct attacks are permitted against enemy objectives whose total or partial destruction offers a definite military advantage, and, in particular, against Armed Forces and military camps, the works and military establishments, the works and the equipment for defence, deposits, offices, installations, communication lines and means that are used by Armed Forces.
Military objectives are not only those which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage, but also a particular zone of land which would be convenient to acquire or to prohibit to the enemy. 
Italy, Manuale di diritto umanitario, Introduzione e Volume I, Usi e convenzioni di Guerra, SMD-G-014, Stato Maggiore della Difesa, I Reparto, Ufficio Addestramento e Regolamenti, Rome, 1991, Vol. I, § 12.
Kenya
Kenya’s LOAC Manual (1997) states that military objectives are:
- the armed forces except medical service and religious personnel and objects
- the establishments, buildings and positions where armed forces or their material are located (e.g. positions, barracks, stores, concentration of troops).
- other objects:
- which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action
- whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage. 
Kenya, Law of Armed Conflict, Military Basic Course (ORS), 4 Précis, The School of Military Police, 1997, Précis No. 2, p. 11.
Madagascar
Madagascar’s Military Manual (1994) states:
C. Military objectives – DEFINITION
a) the armed forces except medical service and religious personnel and objects.
b) the establishments, buildings and positions where armed forces or their material are located (e.g. positions, barracks, stores, depots).
c) other objects: which make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage. 
Madagascar, Le Droit des Conflits Armés, Ministère des Forces Armées, August 1994, Fiche No. 2-SO, § C.
Mexico
Mexico’s IHL Guidelines (2009) states:
Military objectives are:
- … objects which by their nature, location or purpose make an effective contribution to military action and whose destruction or capture offers a military advantage. 
Mexico, Cartilla de Derecho Internacional Humanitario, Ministry of National Defence, 2009, § 8.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands states:
The concept of “military objective” is defined:
They are objects which:
- by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and
- whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offer a definite military advantage.
Three elements of the definition have to be present. First, the objects have “to make an effective contribution to military action”, based on “their nature, location, purpose or use”. In addition, the attack must offer “a definite military advantage” in the circumstances ruling at the time. 
Netherlands, Toepassing Humanitair Oorlogsrecht, Voorschift No. 27-412/1, Koninklijke Landmacht, Ministerie van Defensie, 1993, pp. V-2 and V-3.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states: “Attacks are permissible only if directed against military targets, i.e. where total or partial destruction confers clear military advantage on the combatants.” 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0225.
The manual further states:
0508. The term “military objective” is also defined. Military objectives are objects which:
- by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and
- whose total or partial destruction, capture or deactivation, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage.
0509. Under this definition, which deals with equipment and infrastructure, it must not be forgotten, first, that the armed forces constitute a military objective. This means the combatants who belong to the armed forces, and the equipment used by them (tanks, vehicles, aircraft, etc). A non-combatant, who may not take part in hostilities, but uses a weapon, also forms a military objective.
0511. The circumstances of the time are decisive as to whether an object constitutes a military objective. The definition leaves the necessary discretion to the commanding officer. The Dutch Government, in ratifying AP I [1977 Additional Protocol I], has declared in this connection that military commanders who are responsible for carrying out attacks must base their decisions on their evaluation of the information available to them at the time. The Government has also declared that a given piece of terrain may also form a military objective if it meets the above conditions.
0512. It is possible for objects to be classed, on the one hand, as military while, at the same time, they have a civilian purpose. These are known as mixed objects. Examples are a bridge, which can definitely count as a military objective while at the same time its internal structure carries the energy supply to the civilian population of the region. A television mast may not only serve a civilian purpose but perform a function in the telecommunications network of the armed forces. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, §§ 0508–0509 and 0511–0512.
New Zealand
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) states:
The military advantage at the time of attack is that advantage from the military campaign or operation of which the attack is a part considered as a whole and not only from isolated or particular parts of that campaign or operation. Military advantage involves a variety of considerations including the security of the attacking forces. 
New Zealand, Interim Law of Armed Conflict Manual, DM 112, New Zealand Defence Force, Headquarters, Directorate of Legal Services, Wellington, November 1992, § 516(1); see also § 623(1).
Peru
Peru’s IHL Manual (2004) states: “Military objectives are those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization offers a definite military advantage.” 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial Nº 1394-2004-DE/CCFFAA/CDIH-FFAA, Lima, 1 December 2004, § 98; see also § 172.c.
Peru
Peru’s IHL and Human Rights Manual (2010) states:
89. Military Objectives
Objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization offers a definite military advantage. 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario y Derechos Humanos para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial No. 049-2010/DE/VPD, Lima, 21 May 2010, § 89, p. 291; see also § 163(c), pp. 343 and 410.
Russian Federation
The Russian Federation’s Regulations on the Application of IHL (2001) states:
military objectives include units of armed forces (personnel, weapons and military equipment), except for medical units and medical transports; objects (structures, buildings) used (ready to be used) for military purposes; other objects which by their nature, purpose, location or use make an effective contribution to military operations and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage.
Military objectives are legitimate targets for attack, except for cases when such objectives belong to the category of especially dangerous objects.
A military objective remains such even if it accommodates civilian persons. 
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, § 1.
Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone’s Instructor Manual (2007) states: “Military objectives are those objects which by their nature, purpose and location, when totally or partially destroyed, captured or neutralized will offer a definite military advantage.” 
Sierra Leone, The Law of Armed Conflict. Instructor Manual for the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF), Armed Forces Education Centre, September 2007, p. 24.
(emphasis in original)
South Africa
South Africa’s LOAC Manual (1996) defines military objectives as:
objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action, and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the prevailing circumstances, offer a definite military advantage. 
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, § 24(d)(iii). This manual is also included in Chapter 4 of the Draft Civic Education Manual of 1997).
South Africa
South Africa’s Revised Civic Education Manual (2004) states that “military objectives” include:
objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action, and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralisation, in the prevailing circumstances, offer a definite military advantage. 
South Africa, Revised Civic Education Manual, South African National Defence Force, 2004, Chapter 4, § 47(d).
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) states:
4.2.b. … military objectives are … objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action or whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage.
4.2.b.(2) … insofar as objects are concerned, there can only be considered military objectives those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action or whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a clear military advantage. 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Publicación OR7-004, 2 Tomos, aprobado por el Estado Mayor del Ejército, Division de Operaciones, 18 March 1996, Vol. I, §§ 4.2.b and 4.2.b.(2).
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states:
Military objectives are those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage. 
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, § 1.3.b.(1); see also § 4.2.b.(1).
In defining “definite military advantage”, the manual states: “‘Definite military advantage’ means a concrete advantage. It is not therefore lawful to launch attacks that only make indirect contributions or offer possible advantages.” 
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, § 4.2.b.
The manual further states: “A target can only be considered a military objective when sufficient information has been obtained to dispel any doubts and establish reasonable certainty about its nature, based on the facts available at that time.” 
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, § 4.4.a.
The manual also states: “The principle of military necessity is implicit in the definition of military objectives.” 
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, § 2.4.c.(6).
Sweden
Sweden’s IHL Manual (1991) states:
According to the definition [of military objectives contained in Article 52(2) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I], it is up to the attacker to decide whether the nature, location, purpose or use of the property can admit of its being classified as a military objective and thus as a permissible object of attack. This formulation undeniably gives the military commander great latitude in deciding, but he must also take account of the unintentional damage that may occur. The proportionality rule must always enter into the assessment even though this is not directly stated in the text of Article 52. 
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. 54.
Switzerland
Switzerland’s Regulation on Legal Bases for Conduct during an Engagement (2005) states: “Military objectives are objects that by their nature, location, purpose or use effectively contribute to military action.” 
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 7 March 2003, entry into force on 1 July 2005, § 159(2).
Togo
According to Togo’s Military Manual (1996), “[m]ilitary objectives comprise”:
- Establishments, positions, buildings where armed forces or material belonging to them are situated (example: positions, barracks, stores);
- Other objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage (geographic spots of tactical importance, crests, thalwegs, mined areas). 
Togo, Le Droit de la Guerre, III fascicules, Etat-major Général des Forces Armées Togolaises, Ministère de la Défense nationale, 1996, Fascicule I, pp. 13–14.
Ukraine
Ukraine’s IHL Manual (2004) states:
Military objectives are any objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage. 
Ukraine, Manual on the Application of IHL Rules, Ministry of Defence, 11 September 2004, § 1.2.45.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Pamphlet (1981) states that military objectives are:
objects which by their location, nature, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage. They include buildings, minefields, weapons, concentrations of troops and individual enemy combatants. 
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, § 3(b)(2).
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states:
5.4.1. The term “military objective” includes combatant members of the enemy armed forces and their military weapons, vehicles, equipment and installations. It may include other objects which have military value such as bridges, communications towers, electricity and refined oil production facilities. Objects are only military objectives if they come within the following definition:
those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage.
5.4.4. The definition of military objectives contains various elements that require explanation:
a. The second part of the definition limits the first. Both parts must apply before an object can be considered a military objective.
b. Attacks on military objectives that cause incidental loss or damage to civilians are not prohibited so long as the proportionality rule is complied with.
c. “Nature” refers to the type of object, for example, military transports, command and control centres or communications stations.
d. “Location” includes areas which are militarily important because they must be captured or denied to the enemy or because the enemy must be made to retreat from them. An area of land can, thus, be a military objective.
e. “Purpose” means the future intended use of an object while “use” means its present function.
f. The words “nature, location, purpose or use” seem at first sight to allow a wide discretion, but they are subject to the qualifications later in the definition of “effective contribution to military action” and the offering of “a definite military advantage”. There does not have to be geographical proximity between “effective contribution” and “military advantage”. That means that attacks on military supply dumps in the rear or diversionary attacks, away from the area of actual military operations, can be launched.
g. “Military action” means military action generally, not a limited or specific military operation.
h. The words “in the circumstances ruling at the time” are important. If, for example, the enemy moved a divisional headquarters into a disused textile factory, an attack on that headquarters would be permissible (even though the factory might be destroyed in the process) because of the prevailing circumstances. Once the enemy moved their headquarters away, the circumstances would change again and the immunity of the factory would be restored.
i. “Definite” means a concrete and perceptible military advantage rather than a hypothetical and speculative one.
j. “Military advantage”. The military advantage anticipated from an attack refers to the advantage anticipated from the attack considered as a whole and not only from isolated or particular parts of the attack. The advantage need not be immediate. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, §§ 5.4.1 and 5.4.4.
The manual further states:
Unless they are exempt from attack under paragraphs 13.35 [relating to hospital ships] or 12.29 [relating to conditions of exemption for medical aircraft], enemy warships and military aircraft and enemy auxiliary vessels and aircraft are military objectives. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 12.39.
With regard to non-international armed conflict, the manual states:
There is no definition of military objectives or attacks in the treaty law dealing with non-international armed conflicts. Nevertheless, the definitions used in respect of international armed conflicts should be treated as applicable. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 15.9.1.
United States of America
The US Air Force Pamphlet (1976) states:
Insofar as objects are concerned, military objectives are limited to those objects which by their own nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage. 
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(b)(1).
United States of America
The US Naval Handbook (1995) states:
Military objectives are combatants and those objects which, by their nature, location, purpose or use, effectively contribute to the enemy’s war-fighting or war-sustaining capability and whose total or partial destruction, capture, or neutralization would constitute a definite military advantage to the attacker under the circumstances at the time of the attack. Military advantage may involve a variety of considerations, including the security of the attacking force. 
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), § 8.1.1.
United States of America
The US Naval Handbook (2007) states:
An object is a valid military objective if by its nature (e.g., combat ships and aircraft), location (e.g., bridge over enemy supply route), use (e.g., school building being used as an enemy headquarters), or purpose (e.g., a civilian airport that is built with a longer than required runway so it can be used for military airlift in time of emergency) it makes an effective contribution to the enemy’s war fighting/war sustaining effort and its total or partial destruction, capture, or neutralization, in the circumstance at the time, offers a definite military advantage. Purpose is related to use, but is concerned with the intended, suspected, or possible future use of an object rather than its immediate and temporary use. 
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, § 5.3.1; see also § 8.2.
The Handbook also states: “Military advantage may involve a variety of considerations, including security of the attacking force.” 
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, § 8.2.
United States of America
The US Manual for Military Commissions (2010), Part IV, Crimes and Elements, defines the term “military objective”:
The term “military objective” means—
(B) those objects during hostilities—
(i) which, by their nature, location, purpose, or use, effectively contribute to the opposing force’s war-fighting or war-sustaining capability; and
(ii) the total or partial destruction, capture, or neutralization of which would constitute a definite military advantage to the attacker under the circumstances at the time of the attack. 
United States, Manual for Military Commissions, published in implementation of Chapter 47A of Title 10, United States Code, as amended by the Military Commissions Act of 2009, 10 U.S.C, §§ 948a, et seq., 27 April 2010, § 1(a)(1), p. IV-1.
Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia’s Military Manual (1988) defines military objectives as “any object which by its nature, location, purpose or use effectively contributes to military action and whose total or partial destruction offers a military advantage during the attack or in the further course of the operations”. 
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, § 71.
Italy
Italy’s Law of War Decree (1938), as amended in 1992, states: “It is lawful to bombard directly enemy targets whose destruction, whether total or partial, may be to the advantage of the military operations.” 
Italy, Law of War Decree, 1938, as amended in 1992, Article 40.
Peru
Peru’s Decree on the Use of Force by the Armed Forces (2010) states:
A military objective … is an objective which by its nature, location, purpose or use contributes to the actions of the hostile group and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization offers a military advantage. 
Peru, Decree on the Use of Force by the Armed Forces, 2010, Article 3(j).
United States of America
The US Military Commissions Act (2006), passed by Congress following the Supreme Court’s decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld in 2006, amends Title 10 of the United States Code as follows:
§ 950v. Crimes triable by military commissions
“(a) DEFINITIONS AND CONSTRUCTION. – In this section:
“(1) MILITARY OBJECTIVE. – The term “military objective” means –
“(A) combatants; and
“(B) those objects during an armed conflict –
“(i) which, by their nature, location, purpose, or use, effectively contribute to the opposing force’s war-fighting or war-sustaining capability; and
“(ii) the total or partial destruction, capture, or neutralization of which would constitute a definite military advantage to the attacker under the circumstances at the time of the attack. 
United States, Military Commissions Act, 2006, Public Law 109-366, Chapter 47A of Title 10 of the United States Code, 17 October 2006, p. 120 Stat. 2625, § 950v(a)(1).
United States of America
The US Military Commissions Act (2009) amends Chapter 47A of Title 10 of the United States Code as follows:
Ҥ 950p. Definitions; construction of certain offenses; common circumstances
“(a) DEFINITIONS.—In this subchapter:
“(1) The term “military objective” means … those objects during hostilities which, by their nature, location, purpose, or use, effectively contribute to the war-fighting or war-sustaining capability of an opposing force and whose total or partial destruction, capture, or neutralization would constitute a definite military advantage to the attacker under the circumstances at the time of an attack. 
United States, Military Commissions Act, 2009, § 950p(a)(1).
Uruguay
Uruguay’s Law on Cooperation with the ICC (2006) states:
For the purposes of the conduct described above [i.e. war crimes], military objectives are understood as objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage, excluding protected objects and objects designed for civilian purposes. 
Uruguay, Law on Cooperation with the ICC, 2006, Article 26.3.50.
Germany
In 2010, in the Fuel Tankers case, the Federal Prosecutor General at Germany’s Federal Court of Justice investigated whether war crimes or other crimes under domestic law had been committed in the course of an airstrike which was ordered by a colonel (Oberst) of the German armed forces against two tankers transporting fuel for the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan stolen by the Taliban near Kunduz and which resulted in the deaths of a number of civilians. The Federal Prosecutor General stated:
Pursuant to § 170 para. 2 StPO [Penal Procedure Code], the investigation proceedings which were initiated by the order of 12 March 2010 against Colonel (Oberst) Klein and Company Sergeant Major (Hauptfeldwebel) Wilhelm due to suspected offences under the VStGB [International Crimes Code] and other offences are to be terminated as a result of the investigations conducted and based on the sources of information set out hereafter and on the reasons given in detail hereafter. 
Germany, Federal Court of Justice, Federal Prosecutor General, Fuel Tankers case, Decision, 16 April 2010, p. 1.
The Federal Prosecutor General also stated:
The following is to be considered regarding the subjective element of § 11 (1) (3) VStGB [which states that carrying out an attack by military means and definitely anticipating that the attack will cause death or injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects on a scale out of proportion to the concrete and direct overall military advantage anticipated is a war crime in international and non-international armed conflict]:
bb)
… According to Art. 52 para. 2 AP I [1977 Additional Protocol I] only objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization in the circumstances ruling at the time offers a definite military advantage. 
Germany, Federal Court of Justice, Federal Prosecutor General, Fuel Tankers case, Decision, 16 April 2010, pp. 47–49.
Algeria
The Report on the Practice of Algeria, referring expressly to the notion of “effective contribution” to military action resulting from the nature, location, purpose or use of an object, asserts that the criteria set forth in Article 52(2) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I were already taken into consideration during the Algerian war of independence. 
Report on the Practice of Algeria, 1997, Chapter 1.3.
Botswana
The Report on the Practice of Botswana asserts that the Government of Botswana endorses Article 52 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I and that no official document was found rejecting the definition of a military objective provided in Article 52(2) of the Protocol. 
Report on the Practice of Botswana, 1998, Answers to additional questions on Chapter 1.3.
Canada
Upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, Canada stated:
It is the understanding of the Government of Canada in relation to sub-paragraph 5 (b) of Article 51, paragraph 2 of Article 52, and clause 2 (a) (iii) of Article 57 [of the Protocol] that the military advantage anticipated from an attack is intended to refer to the advantage anticipated from the attack considered as a whole and not from isolated or particular parts of the attack. 
Canada, Reservations and statements of understanding made upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, 20 November 1990, § 10.
Colombia
The Report on the Practice of Colombia notes that the government and the Defensoría del Pueblo (Ombudsman’s Office) have adopted the definition of military objectives laid down in Article 52 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I in order to draw a distinction between military objectives and civilian objects. 
Report on the Practice of Colombia, 1998, Chapter 1.3, referring to Defensoría del Pueblo, Cuarto informe anual del defensor del pueblo al congreso de Colombia, Santafé de Bogotá, September 1997, pp. 64–65.
Djibouti
In 2010, in the History and Geography Textbook for 8th Grade, Djibouti’s Ministry of National Education and Higher Education, under the heading “Terminology”, defined military objectives as: “Objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction offers a concrete military advantage.” 
Djibouti, Ministry of National Education and Higher Education, History and Geography Textbook for 8th Grade, 2010, p. 203.
Egypt
Upon signature of the 1998 ICC Statute, Egypt declared: “The military objectives referred to in article 8, paragraph 2 (b) of the Statute must be defined in the light of the principles, rules and provisions of international humanitarian law.” 
Egypt, Declarations made upon signature of the 1998 ICC Statute, 26 December 2000, § 4(b).
France
Upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, France stated that the term “military advantage” as used in Article 52(2) of the Protocol was understood to refer to “the advantage expected from the attack as a whole and not from isolated or particular parts of the attack”. 
France, Reservations and declarations made upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, 11 April 2001, § 10.
Iraq
On the basis of the reply by Iraq’s Ministry of Defence to a questionnaire, the Report on the Practice of Iraq states that the Iraqi armed forces consider that the definition of a military objective set forth in Article 52(2) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I is part of customary international law. 
Report on the Practice of Iraq, 1998, Reply by the Iraqi Ministry of Defence to a questionnaire, July 1997, Chapter 1.3.
Islamic Republic of Iran
According to the Report on the Practice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, during the Iran–Iraq War, the Islamic Republic of Iran always insisted that it had no intention of attacking civilian objects, all targets being “military objectives or objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use made an effective contribution to military action”. 
Report on the Practice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1997, Chapter 1.3.
Israel
According to the Report on the Practice of Israel, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have no generally applicable definition of what constitutes a “military target”, but their practice most closely reflects the definition found in Article 52(2) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
Report on the Practice of Israel, 1997, Answers to additional questions on Chapter 1.3.
Israel
In 2006, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated:
The generally accepted definition of “military objective” is that set out in Article 52(2) Additional Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions, which provides:
Insofar as objects are concerned, military objectives are limited to those objects which, by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage.
This definition has been criticized by some for being too narrow, and failing to pay sufficient attention to war sustaining capability, including economic targets. 
Israel, Responding to Hizbullah Attacks from Lebanon: Issues of Proportionality, Legal Background, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel, 25 July 2006, § 2.
Israel
In 2007, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated in a diplomatic note:
Legitimate military objectives
The generally accepted definition of “military objective” is that set out in Article 52(2) Additional Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions, which provides:
Insofar as objects are concerned, military objectives are limited to those objects which, by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage.
Regarding military targets, the IDF’s [Israel Defense Forces’] “Law of War on the Battlefield” provides: “A military target subject to attack is a target that by its nature, location, purpose or use effectively contributes to the military campaign of the other side, and its neutralization will offer a clear military advantage to the attacking side.” 
Israel, Israel’s War with Hizbullah. Preserving Humanitarian Principles While Combating Terrorism, Diplomatic Notes No. 1, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel, April 2007, p. 5.
Israel
In 2008, in a background paper on Israel’s operations in Gaza, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated:
The generally accepted definition of “military objective” is that set out in Article 52(2) of [the 1977] Additional Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions, which provides:
Insofar as objects are concerned, military objectives are limited to those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage. 
Israel, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Background paper, Responding to Hamas Attacks from Gaza: Issues of Proportionality, December 2008, § 2.
[footnote in original omitted]
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, in referring to the definition of a “military objective” contained in Article 52(2) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, stated: “The determination of what is a lawful ‘military objective’ turns on an assessment of ‘military advantage’.” 
Israel, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Operation in Gaza 27 December 2008–18 January 2009: Factual and Legal Aspects, 29 July 2009, § 101.
The report also stated: “Judging military advantage with respect to a target evaluated during combat is not an exercise in hindsight. The perspective is that of the commander in the field at the time of a targeting decision, with the information then available.” 
Israel, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Operation in Gaza 27 December 2008–18 January 2009: Factual and Legal Aspects, 29 July 2009, § 102.
Jordan
Prior to the adoption of UN General Assembly Resolution 47/37 in 1992 on the protection of the environment in times of armed conflict, Jordan and the United States submitted a memorandum to the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly entitled “International Law Providing Protection to the Environment in Times of Armed Conflict”. The memorandum stated that “the customary rule that, in so far as objects are concerned, military objectives are limited to those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage” provides protection for the environment in times of armed conflict.  
Jordan and United States, International Law Providing Protection to the Environment in Times of Armed Conflict, annexed to Letter dated 28 September 1992 to the Chairman of the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly, UN Doc. A/C.6/47/3, 28 September 1992, § 1(i).
Jordan
The Report on the Practice of Jordan states that the definition of a military objective set forth in Article 52(2) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I is part of customary international law. 
Report on the Practice of Jordan, 1997, Chapter 1.3.
Malaysia
The Report on the Practice of Malaysia notes that although no written law defines the term military objective, the security forces describe military objectives as “targets of military interest” and “military targets”. While the former may include civilian objects like the runway of a civilian airport, the latter only refers to objects belonging to the military. The military character of a target will thus depend on the circumstances and the degree of strategic advantage it offers. 
Report on the Practice of Malaysia, 1997, Chapter 1.3 and answers to additional questions on Chapter 1.3.
Mexico
At the CDDH, Mexico stated that it believed Article 47 of the draft Additional Protocol I (now Article 52) to be so essential that it “cannot be the subject of any reservations whatsoever since these would be inconsistent with the aim and purpose of Protocol I and undermine its basis”. 
Mexico, Statement at the CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.41, 26 May 1977, p. 193.
Philippines
Referring to military documents using similar wording, the Report on the Practice of the Philippines affirms the customary nature of Article 52(2) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
Report on the Practice of the Philippines, 1997, Chapter 1.3.
Spain
Upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, Spain stated with respect to Articles 51, 52 and 57 of the Protocol:
It is the understanding [of the Spanish Government] that the “military advantage” which these articles mention refers to the advantage expected from the attack as a whole and not from isolated parts of it. 
Spain, Interpretative declarations made upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, 21 April 1989, § 6.
Switzerland
Switzerland’s ABC of International Humanitarian Law (2009) states: “Military objectives are those whose nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military actions, and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralisation would provide a definite military advantage.” 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, ABC of International Humanitarian Law, 2009, p. 30.
Syrian Arab Republic
On the basis of a statement by the Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs before the UN General Assembly in 1997, the Report on the Practice of the Syrian Arab Republic asserts that the Syrian Arab Republic considers Article 52(2) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I to be part of customary international law. 
Report on the Practice of the Syrian Arab Republic, 1997, Chapter 1.3, referring to Statement by the Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs before the UN General Assembly, 1 October 1997.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2003, during a debate in the House of Commons, the UK Secretary of State for Defence stated:
On the bombing campaign in Baghdad, I anticipate that the great majority of people there will see for themselves the nature of the targeting. It will be clear that regime targets – Saddam’s Ministries and palaces – are being destroyed. As the campaign evolves, there will be no clearer message to the people of Iraq that we have no quarrel with them, but that we do have a serious difference with Saddam Hussein. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Statement by the Secretary of State for Defence, Hansard, 21 March 2003, Vol. 401, Debates, cols. 1217–1218.
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: “Operations by United Kingdom forces have involved aerial attacks on Iraqi installations supporting Iraq’s capacity to sustain its illegal occupation of Kuwait.” 
United Kingdom, Letter dated 21 January 1991 to the President of the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/22115, 21 January 1991.
United States of America
In 1972, the General Counsel of the US Department of Defense stated:
In the application of the laws of war, it is important that there be a general understanding in the world community as to what shall be legitimate military objectives which may be attacked by air bombardment under the limitations imposed by treaty or by customary international law. Attempts to limit the effects of attacks in an unrealistic manner, by definition or otherwise, solely to the essential war making potential of enemy States have not been successful. For example, such attempts as the 1923 Hague Rules of Air Warfare, proposed by an International Commission of Jurists, and the 1956 ICRC Draft Rules for the Limitation of Dangers Incurred by the Civilian Population in Time of War were not accepted by States and therefore do not reflect the laws of war either as customary international law or as adopted by treaty. [The General Counsel then refers to Articles 1 and 2 of the 1907 Hague Convention (IX) and Article 8 of the 1954 Hague Convention as reflecting customary international law.] The test applicable from the customary international law, restated in [Article 8 of] the Hague Cultural Property Convention, is that the war making potential of such facilities to a party to the conflict may outweigh their importance to the civilian economy and deny them immunity from attack. Turning to the deficiencies in the Resolutions of the Institut de Droit International [adopted at its Edinburgh Session in 1969], and with the foregoing in view, it cannot be said that Paragraph 2, which refers to legal restraints that there must be an “immediate” military advantage, reflects the law of armed conflict that has been adopted in the practices of States. 
United States, Letter from J. Fred Buzhardt, General Counsel of the Department of Defense, to Senator Edward Kennedy, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Refugees of the Committee on the Judiciary, 22 September 1972, AJIL, Vol. 67, 1973, p. 123.
United States of America
In 1987, the Deputy Legal Adviser of the US Department of State stated: “The United States has no great concern over the new definition of ‘military objective’ set forth in Article 52(2) of [the 1977 Additional] Protocol I.” 
United States, Remarks of Michael J. Matheson, Deputy Legal Adviser, US Department of State, The Sixth Annual American Red Cross-Washington College of Law Conference on International Humanitarian Law: A Workshop on Customary International Law and the 1977 Protocols Additional to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, American University Journal of International Law and Policy, Vol. 2, 1987, p. 436.
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:
When objects are used concurrently for civilian and military purposes, they are liable to attack if there is a military advantage to be gained in their attack. (“Military advantage” is not restricted to tactical gains, but is linked to the full context of a war strategy, in this instance, the execution of the Coalition war plan for liberation of Kuwait.) 
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. 623.
United States of America
In 1992, in a review of the legality of extended range anti-armour munition, the US Department of the Air Force relied on the definition of military objectives set forth in Article 52(2) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
United States, Department of the Air Force, The Judge Advocate General, Legal Review: Extended Range Antiarmor Munition (ERAM), 16 April 1992, § 7.
United States of America
The Report on US Practice states:
The opinio juris of the U.S. government recognizes the definition of military objectives in Article 52 of Additional Protocol I as customary law. United States practice gives a broad reading to this definition, and would include areas of land, objects screening other military objectives, and war-supporting economic facilities as military objectives. The foreseeable military advantage from an attack includes increasing the security of the attacking force. In any event, the anticipated military advantage need not be expected to immediately follow the success of the attack, and may be inferred from the whole military operation of which the attack is a part. 
Report on US Practice, 1997, Chapter 1.3.
No data.
No data.
Diplomatic Conference on the Second Protocol to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property
During the Diplomatic Conference on the Second Protocol to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in 1999, France, Israel, Turkey and the United States, at that time not party to the 1977 Additional Protocol I, referred to the definition of Article 52(2) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I as an authoritative definition of a military objective. Several other States, including Argentina, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, stressed that the definition of a military objective in the Second Protocol should follow the exact wording of Article 52(2) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. Another group of States, including Austria, Cameroon (speaking on behalf of the African group), China, Egypt, Greece, Romania and the Syrian Arab Republic (speaking on behalf of the Arab group) agreed to rely on Article 52(2) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I but to tighten its definition so that cultural property could only become a military objective “by its use” and not “by its location, nature or purpose”. 
Diplomatic Conference on the Second Protocol to the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property, The Hague, 15–26 March 1999 (proceedings to be published by UNESCO).
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 that “the most widely accepted definition of ‘military objective’ is that of Article 52 of Additional Protocol I”. 
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, § 35.
The report added:
Although the Protocol I definition of military objective is not beyond criticism, it provides the contemporary standard which must be used when attempting to determine the lawfulness of particular attacks. That being said, it must be noted once again [that] neither the USA nor France is a party to Additional Protocol I. The definition is, however, generally accepted as part of customary law. 
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, § 41.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
In its judgment in the Galić case in 2003, the ICTY Trial Chamber stated:
A widely accepted definition of military objectives is given by Article 52 of Additional Protocol I as “those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage”. 
ICTY, Galić case, Judgment, 5 December 2003, § 51.
Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission
In its Western Front, Aerial Bombardment and Related Claims (Eritrea’s Claim) partial award in 2005, the Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission, in considering the definition of military objectives, stated:
112. With respect to the applicable law, Eritrea pointed to Article 52, paragraph 2, of [the 1977 Additional] Geneva Protocol I, which defines the objects that are legitimate military objectives as follows:
In so far as objects are concerned, military objectives are limited to those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage.
113. This provision was not applicable as part of a treaty binding on both Parties to the conflict, but it is widely accepted as an expression of customary international law … The Commission notes that none of the 160 Parties to that Protocol has attached to its signature or instrument of ratification a reservation or statement of interpretation that would indicate disagreement with that definition. The Commission is of the view that the term “military advantage” can only properly be understood in the context of the military operations between the Parties taken as a whole, not simply in the context of a specific attack. Thus, with respect to the present claim, whether the attack on ... offered a definite military advantage must be considered in the context of its relation to the armed conflict as a whole at the time of the attack. The Commission finds that Article 52, paragraph 2, of Geneva Protocol I is a statement of customary international humanitarian law and, as such, was applicable to the conflict between the two Parties. 
Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission, Western Front, Aerial Bombardment and Related Claims, Eritrea’s Claim, Partial Award, 19 December 2005, §§ 112–113.
[footnotes in original omitted]
ICRC
To fulfil its task of disseminating IHL, the ICRC has delegates around the world teaching armed and security forces that the following can be considered military objectives:
a) the armed forces except medical service and religious personnel and objects;
b) the establishments, buildings and positions where armed forces or their materiel are located (e.g. positions, barracks, stores);
c) other objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action, and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralisation, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offer a definite military advantage. 
Frédéric de Mulinen, Handbook on the Law of War for Armed Forces, ICRC, Geneva, 1987, § 55.
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 47(1) of the draft Additional Protocol I which defined military objectives as “those objectives which are, by their nature, purpose or use, recognized to be of military interest and whose total or partial destruction, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a distinct and substantial military advantage”. All governments concerned replied favourably. 
ICRC, The International Committee’s Action in the Middle East, IRRC, No. 152, 1973, pp. 584–585.
Institute of International Law
In a resolution adopted during its Edinburgh Session in 1969, the Institute of International Law gave the following definition of a military objective:
There can be considered as military objectives only those which, by their very nature or purpose or use, make an effective contribution to military action, or exhibit a generally recognised military significance, such that their total or partial destruction in the actual circumstances gives a substantial, specific and immediate military advantage to those who are in a position to destroy them. 
Institute of International Law, Edinburgh Session, Resolution on the Distinction between Military Objectives and Non-military Objects in General and Particularly the Problems Associated with Weapons of Mass Destruction, 9 September 1969, § 2.
Amnesty International
In 2000, in a report on the NATO bombings in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Amnesty International, having referred to the definition of military objectives contained in Article 52(2) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, stated with regard to the bombing of the Serbian State radio and television (RTS):
Disrupting government propaganda may help to undermine the morale of the population and the armed forces, but … justifying an attack on a civilian facility on such grounds stretches the meaning of “effective contribution to military action” and “definite military advantage” beyond the acceptable bounds of interpretation. 
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. 43.