Practice Relating to Rule 8. Definition of Military Objectives

Hague Convention (IX)
Article 2 of the 1907 Hague Convention (IX) allows the bombardment of “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.
New Delhi Draft Rules
According to paragraph I(5) of the proposed annex to Article 7(2) of the 1956 New Delhi Draft Rules, “rocket launching ramps” are military objectives considered to be of “generally recognized military importance”. 
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, § I(5) of the proposed annex to Article 7(2).
Australia
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) gives “enemy armed forces and their military weapons” as examples of military objectives. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, § 5.27.
In its chapter on “Maritime Operations”, the manual states: “Merchant vessels and civil aircraft are civilian objects unless they are military objectives”. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, § 6.37.
In its chapter on “Air Operations”, the manual states: “Enemy military aircraft may be attacked and destroyed in any airspace other than neutral airspace”. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, § 8.48.
The LOAC Manual replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
Belgium
Belgium’s Law of War Manual (1983) considers that military vehicles and aircraft are military objectives. 
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. 26.
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (1992) considers that enemy warships are military objectives. 
Cameroon, Droit international humanitaire et droit de la guerre, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les Forces Armées, Présidence de la République, Ministère de la Défense, Etat-major des Armées, Troisième Division, Edition 1992, p. 111.
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) states in relation to the rules on the distinction between warships and merchant ships that “after the identification, only a military objective may be attacked, in this case [only] the warship”. 
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. 258, § 613.
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) considers that “military aircraft, weapons [and] ammunition” are “generally accepted as being military objectives”. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 4-2, § 9(b); see also p. 8-7, § 47 (enemy warships and military aircraft).
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001) states in its chapter on targeting: “The following are generally accepted as being military objectives: … military aircraft, weapons, ammunition”. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 407.1.b.
In its chapter on naval warfare, the manual states:
Enemy warships, military aircraft, auxiliary vessels, and auxiliary aircraft … are legitimate targets and may be attacked. Such vessels and aircraft may not be attacked if they are protected under paragraph 41 [of the San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea, which states that: ‘Attacks shall be limited strictly to military objectives’]”. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 833.
Chad
Chad’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) states that military objectives may include “tanks [and] ships”. 
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. 58.
Côte d’Ivoire
Côte d’Ivoire’s Teaching Manual (2007) provides in Book IV (Instruction of heads of division and company commanders): “The following objects are generally recognized as military objectives: … military aircraft, weapons, munitions”. 
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, p. 26.
Croatia
Croatia’s LOAC Compendium (1991) states that proper targets in the air include “enemy military aircraft violating national airspace or flying over the high seas”. 
Croatia, Compendium “Law of Armed Conflicts”, Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Defence, 1991, p. 44.
Ecuador
Ecuador’s Naval Manual (1989) states: “Proper targets for naval attack include such military objectives as enemy warships and military aircraft, naval and military auxiliaries … military vehicles, armour, artillery, ammunition stores”. 
Ecuador, Aspectos Importantes del Derecho Internacional Marítimo que Deben Tener Presente los Comandantes de los Buques, Academia de Guerra Naval, 1989, § 8.1.1.
Germany
Germany’s Military Manual (1992) provides that military objectives include, in particular, “military aircraft and warships”. 
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 KonfliktenHandbuch, August 1992, § 443.
Greece
The Hellenic Navy’s International Law Manual (1995) states with regard to naval bombardment:
1. … [T]he provisions of the otherwise obsolete IX Hague Convention concerning the respect and protection of the victims of armed conflict should be considered as bearing a perpetual binding effect.
2. To the above effect, the significance of the codified text of IX Hague Convention is great and the following provisions should be applied by the belligerents:
c. Bombardment only of targets excluded by the prohibition of art. 1 (military works, military or naval establishments, depots of arms or war material, workshops or plants which could be utilized for the needs of the hostile fleet or army and the ships of war in the harbour) (art. 2). 
Greece, International Law Manual, Hellenic Navy General Staff, Directorate A2, Division IV, 1995, Chapter 7, Part II, §§ 1–2.
Hungary
Hungary’s Military Manual (1992) states that proper targets in the air include “enemy military aircraft violating national airspace or flying over the high seas”. 
Hungary, A Hadijog, Jegyzet a Katonai, Föiskolák Hallgatói Részére, Magyar Honvédség Szolnoki Repülötiszti Föiskola, 1992, p. 71.
Israel
Israel’s Manual on the Rules of Warfare (2006) states: “A soldier understandably constitutes a military target, as do weapons, bases, installations, airfields and army vehicles.” 
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 on the Rules of Warfare (2006) is a second edition of the Manual on the Laws of War (1998).
Netherlands
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands considers that materiel used by armed forces, such as tanks, vehicles, and aircraft, constitute military objectives “under all circumstances”. 
Netherlands, Toepassing Humanitair Oorlogsrecht, Voorschift No. 27-412/1, Koninklijke Landmacht, Ministerie van Defensie, 1993, p. V-3.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands qualifies “artillery and guided-weapon positions” as military objectives. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0510.
New Zealand
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) states: “Military aircraft, weapons [and] ammunition are examples of objects universally regarded as military objectives.” 
New Zealand, Interim Law of Armed Conflict Manual, DM 112, New Zealand Defence Force, Headquarters, Directorate of Legal Services, Wellington, November 1992, § 516(2); see also § 623(2).
Peru
Peru’s IHL and Human Rights Manual (2010) states: “Unless they enjoy immunity from attack, enemy warships and aircraft as well as enemy auxiliary vessels and aircraft are military objectives and can be attacked.” 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario y Derechos Humanos para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial No. 049-2010/DE/VPD, Lima, 21 May 2010, § 121(c), p. 313.
Russian Federation
The Russian Federation’s Regulations on the Application of IHL (2001) states: “military objectives include … weapons and military equipment”. 
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.
With regard to air and naval operations, the Regulations further states:
When conducting combat operations:
a) in the air – military objectives include –
-military aircraft and
-auxiliary aircraft.
b) at sea – military objectives include –
-war-ships, which means all vessels belonging to the armed forces of a state bearing the external marks which distinguish the war-ships of their nationality; the commander must be in the service of the state, his name figuring on the list of the officers of the fighting fleet or in a similar document; the crew must be subject to military discipline;
-vessels converted into war-ships, namely, those meeting the following conditions: it is placed under the direct authority, immediate control, and responsibility of the power whose flag it flies; bear the external marks which distinguish the war-ships of their nationality; are under the command of an officer who is in the service of the state, his name figuring on the list of the officers of the fighting fleet or in a similar document; the crew must be subject to military discipline.
Possession of weapons by the civil vessel’s crew does not give grounds to consider such class of ships as converted into war-ships. Such vessels shall be considered civil vessels if they are innocently used in their normal role, comply with identification and visit requirements and do not intentionally hamper the movement of war-ships. 
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, § 89.
Spain
Spain’s Field Regulations (1882) stipulates that objects useful in war, inter alia, arms, munitions, machines and tanks, are objects on which an attack is lawful. 
Spain, El Reglamento para el Servicio de Campaña, 4 January 1882, § 880.
Spain
According to Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996), “military vehicles, warships and military aircraft [and] materiel, objects and goods belonging to the armed forces and which serve no medical or religious purpose” are military objectives. 
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, § 4.5.b.(2).a.
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states that “military vehicles, ships and aircraft [and] materiel, objects and property of the armed forces that are not of a medical or religious nature” are 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, § 4.5.b.(2).(a).
Switzerland
Switzerland’s Regulation on Legal Bases for Conduct during an Engagement (2005) explains with respect to the example of a “[m]ortar site, two civilian women are supplying beverages” that, in application of the principles of distinction and proportionality, the “mortar site can be attacked as a military objective: collateral damage”. 
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, § 172.
With respect to the example of a “[b]attle tank accommodating wounded persons”, the Regulation further explains that, in application of the principle of military necessity, the tank is “not a protected object. Military objective, collateral damage”. 
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, § 172.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Pamphlet (1981) states that military objectives include “minefields [and] weapons”. 
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: “The term ‘military objective’ includes combatant members of the enemy armed forces and their military weapons, vehicles, equipment and installations.” 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 5.4.1.
United States of America
The US Air Force Pamphlet (1976) considers that an adversary’s “armament, such as military aircraft, tanks, antiaircraft emplacements … are military objectives beyond any dispute”. 
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)(2).
United States of America
The US Naval Handbook (1995) specifies that “proper targets for naval attack include such military objectives as enemy warships and military aircraft, naval and military auxiliaries, … military vehicles, armor, artillery, ammunition stores”. 
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: “Proper objects of attack include, but are not limited to, such military objectives as enemy warships and military aircraft, naval and military auxiliaries … military vehicles, armor, artillery, [and] ammunition stores”. 
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, § 8.2.5; see also § 8.6.1.
Cuba
Cuba’s Military Criminal Code (1979) includes “weapons and munitions” in a list of military objects. 
Cuba, Military Criminal Code, 1979, Article 33(1).
Italy
According to Italy’s Law of War Decree (1938), as amended in 1992, “warships and military aircraft” are legitimate military targets. 
Italy, Law of War Decree, 1938, as amended in 1992, Article 40.
No data.
Kuwait
In 1991, in a report submitted to the UN Security Council on operations in the Gulf War, Kuwait stated: “Kuwait Air Force aircraft also took part in joint air operations directed primarily against ground-to-ground missile sites, missile launchers, artillery positions and concentrations of Iraqi mechanized units.” 
Kuwait, Letter dated 28 January 1991 to the President of the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/22164, 28 January 1991, p. 1.
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 it had targeted Iraq’s fixed and mobile SCUD missile launchers and its chemical and biological warfare installations, production and storage capability. 
United Kingdom, Letter dated 28 January 1991 to the President of the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/22156, 28 January 1991, p. 1.
In another such report, the United Kingdom stated that it had attacked “elements of the Iraqi air defence system” and specified that “the Royal Air Force [had] attacked surface-to-air missile sites, artillery positions, ammunition storage and Silkworm surface-to-surface missile sites”. 
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 Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2003, during a debate in the House of Commons, the UK Secretary of State for Defence made a statement and replied to questions by Members:
The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Geoffrey Hoon): With permission, Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a statement about military operations to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction.
President Bush announced at 3.15 this morning on behalf of the coalition that operations had begun with attacks on selected targets of military importance. Those attacks were carried out by coalition aircraft and cruise missiles on more than one target in the vicinity of Baghdad, following information relating to the whereabouts of very senior members of the Iraqi leadership. Those leaders are at the very heart of Iraq’s command and control system, responsible for directing Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.
In addition to those attacks, coalition forces yesterday carried out certain preliminary operations against Iraqi artillery, surface-to-surface missiles, and air defence systems within the southern no-fly zone. Those were prudent preparatory steps, using coalition air capabilities previously used in the no-fly zones, designed to reduce the threat to coalition forces in Kuwait. The protection of our servicemen and women is a matter of paramount importance. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Statements by the Secretary of State for Defence, Hansard, 20 March 2003, Vol. 401, Debates, col. 1087.
United States of America
In 1966, in the context of the Vietnam War, the US Department of Defense stated that military targets “also include those anti-aircraft and SAM sites which endanger the lives of American pilots … In the specific case of Nam Dinh and Phu Li, targets have been limited to … air defense sites.” 
United States, Department of Defense, Statement on targeting policy in Vietnam, 26 December 1966, reprinted in Marjorie Whiteman, Digest of International Law, Vol. 10, Department of State Publication 8367, Washington, D.C., 1968, p. 427.
United States of America
In 1991, in a report submitted to the UN Security Council on operations in the Gulf War, the United States stated that military targets included “Iraqi biological and chemical warfare facilities, mobile and fixed surface-to-surface missile sites … and the air defense networks that protect these facilities” as well as “Iraqi artillery positions”. 
United States, Letter dated 22 January 1991 to the President of the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/22130, 22 January 1991, p. 1.
In another such report, the United States stated that “surface-to-surface missile capabilities remain as high priority targets”. 
United States, Letter dated 30 January 1991 to the President of the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/22173, 30 January 1991, p. 1.
In the same report, the United States stated that “the naval forces of the United States have also engaged Iraqi patrol and mine-laying craft in the Northern Arabian Gulf”. 
United States, Letter dated 30 January 1991 to the President of the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/22173, 30 January 1991, p. 1.
In a subsequent report, the United States stated that allied attacks had targeted “air defence, combat aircraft in the air and on the ground, nuclear, biological and chemical storage facilities”, as well as “air defence radars and missiles in Kuwait” and “surface-to-surface missile capabilities”. 
United States, Letter dated 8 February 1991 to the President of the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/22216, 13 February 1991, p. 1.
In the same report, the United States reiterated that “the naval forces of the United States and the allied coalition have continued to engage Iraqi patrol and mine-laying craft in the Northern Arabian Gulf”. 
United States, Letter dated 8 February 1991 to the President of the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/22216, 13 February 1991, p. 2.
United States of America
In 1991, during a news briefing concerning the Gulf War, the US Secretary of Defense stated that “air defence units and radars”, “SCUD missile launchers” and “the factories where Iraq has produced chemical and biological weapons, and until recently, continued working on nuclear weapons” were considered military targets and had been attacked.  
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 that Iraq’s strategic integrated air defense system, its nuclear, biological and chemical weapons research, production and storage facilities and its Scud missiles, launchers, and production and storage facilities had been included among the 12 target sets for the coalition’s attacks. 
United States, Department of Defense, Final Report to Congress on the Conduct of the Persian Gulf War, 10 April 1992, Chapter VI, The Air Campaign, pp. 96 and 98.
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Americas Watch
In 1985, in a report on violations of the laws of war in Nicaragua, Americas Watch listed “weapons [and] other war materiel” as objects which “can arguably be regarded as legitimate military objectives subject to direct attack”. 
Americas Watch, Violations of the Laws of War by Both Sides in Nicaragua: 1981–1985, New York, March 1985, p. 33.
This view was reiterated in its 1986 report on the use of landmines in the conflicts in El Salvador and Nicaragua. 
Americas Watch, Land Mines in El Salvador and Nicaragua: The Civilian Victims, New York, December 1986, pp. 99–100.
Africa Watch
In 1989, in a report on violations of the laws of war in Angola, Africa Watch listed “weapons and other war material” as objects which “may be regarded as legitimate military objectives subject to direct attack by combatants and mines”. 
Africa Watch, Angola: Violations of the Laws of War by Both Sides, New York, April 1989, p. 139.