Practice Relating to Rule 8. Definition of Military Objectives

Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property
Under Article 8 of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property, cultural property may be placed under special protection provided, inter alia, that it is situated “at an adequate distance … from any important military objective constituting a vulnerable point, such as, for example, … [a] broadcasting station … or a main line of communication”. 
Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, The Hague, 14 May 1954, Article 8.
Hague Rules of Air Warfare
According to Article 24(2) of the 1923 Hague Rules of Air Warfare, “lines of communication … used for military purposes” are military objectives. 
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(2).
ILA Draft Convention for the Protection of Civilian Populations against New Engines of War
Article 5(1) of the 1938 ILA Draft Convention for the Protection of Civilian Populations against New Engines of War provides: “Aerial bombardment is prohibited unless directed at … lines of communication or transportation used for military purposes”. 
Draft Convention for the Protection of Civilian Populations against New Engines of War, adopted by the International Law Association, Fortieth Conference, Amsterdam, 29 August–2 September 1938, Article 5(1).
New Delhi Draft Rules
Paragraph I of the proposed annex to Article 7(2) of the 1956 New Delhi Draft Rules provided: “The objectives belonging to the following categories are those considered to be of generally recognized military importance: … (7) The installations of broadcasting and television stations; telephone and telegraph exchanges of fundamental 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 of the proposed annex to Article 7(2).
Australia
Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) identifies “facilities which support or enhance command and control, such as communications facilities” as military objectives. 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, § 527(c).
Australia
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) identifies “facilities which support or enhance command and control, such as communications facilities” 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, § 5.31.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
Ecuador
Ecuador’s Naval Manual (1989) considers communications and command and control (C3) facilities, as well as “lines of communication and other objects used to conduct or support military operations”, as proper targets for naval attack. 
Ecuador, Aspectos Importantes del Derecho Internacional Marítimo que Deben Tener Presente los Comandantes de los Buques, Academia de Guerra Naval, 1989, § 8.1.1.
Israel
Israel’s Manual on the Rules of Warfare (2006) states: “The war effort is not only expressed in attacking fighters at the front, but also in striking at the enemy’s logistical infrastructure … mobilisation centres and communications.” 
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).
Italy
According to Italy’s IHL Manual (1991), “lines and means of communication which can be used for the needs of the armed forces” are military objectives. 
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.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states that “communication and radar installations … constitute military objectives, in all circumstances”. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0510.
New Zealand
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) states that “command and control points 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 Manual (2004) states: “[Air] bombardment is legitimate only when directed exclusively against the following objectives: … lines of communication … which are used for military purposes.” 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial Nº 1394-2004-DE/CCFFAA/CDIH-FFAA, Lima, 1 December 2004, § 172.d.
Peru
Peru’s IHL and Human Rights Manual (2010) states: “[Air] bombardment is only legitimate when it is exclusively directed against the following objectives: … lines of communication … which are used for military purposes.” 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario y Derechos Humanos para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial No. 049-2010/DE/VPD, Lima, 21 May 2010, § 163(c), p. 343.
Republic of Korea
The Republic of Korea’s Military Law Manual (1996) states that “transmission towers and electronic communication facilities used for military operations” can be regarded as military objectives. 
Republic of Korea, Military Law Manual, 1996, p. 87.
Sweden
Sweden’s IHL Manual (1991) states:
How and to what extent a given object can effectively contribute to the adversary’s military operations must be decided by the commander. This need not imply that the property in question is being used by the adversary for a given operation … It may even be a question of means of communication … that indirectly contribute to the adversary’s military operations.  
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 Basic Military Manual (1987) considers “lines of communication … of military importance” as military objectives. 
Switzerland, Lois et coutumes de la guerre (Extrait et commentaire), Règlement 51.7/II f, Armée Suisse, 1987, Article 28.
United States of America
The US Air Force Pamphlet (1976) states:
Controversy exists over whether, and the circumstances under which, other objects, such as civilian transportation and communications systems, dams and dikes can be classified properly as military objectives … A key factor in classification of objects as military objectives is whether they make an effective contribution to an adversary’s military action so that their capture, destruction or neutralization offers a definite military advantage in the circumstances ruling at the time. 
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) considers communications and command and control facilities, as well as “lines of communication and other objects used to conduct or support military operations”, as proper targets for naval attack. 
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 … lines of communication and other objects used to conduct or support military operations … [and] communications and command and control facilities. 
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.
Cuba
Cuba’s National Defence Act (1994) lists “communications facilities and equipment” among the objects integrated within the “Military Reserve of Facilities and Equipment of the National Economy” to guarantee the necessities of defence in wartime. 
Cuba, National Defence Act, 1994, Article 119(c).
Italy
According to Italy’s Law of War Decree (1938), as amended in 1992, “lines and means of communication which can be used for the needs of the armed forces” are military objectives. 
Italy, Law of War Decree, 1938, as amended in 1992, Article 40.
No data.
Algeria
The Report on the Practice of Algeria states:
Leaving aside the objects which do not really raise questions of interpretation such as tanks or weapons and munition depots, the National Liberation Army of Algeria resorted to “economic sabotage” throughout the war. Roads, bridges, railway tracks and telephone lines were preferred targets. It even happened that harvests of important French colonisers were burned or fuel depots used by the French army destroyed … Even the petroleum industry which had barely emerged was not spared. In fact, everything which was considered to form part of “the economic machinery of the enemy” had to be brought down. 
Report on the Practice of Algeria, 1997, Chapter 1.3, referring to El Moudjahid, Vol. 1, pp. 22 and 25–26, El Moudjahid, Vol. 2, p. 151 and El Moudjahid, Vol. 3, pp. 153–154.
Islamic Republic of Iran
According to the Report on the Practice of Islamic Republic of Iran, radio and television stations were considered military objectives during the Iran–Iraq War. 
Report on the Practice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1997, Chapter 1.3.
Israel
In 2006, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated:
IDF [Israel Defense Force] operations in Lebanon have also included operations directed against infrastructure and property. These have included:
Al Manar TV station – Operating as the Hizballah television station, Al Manar’s was used to relay messages to terrorists as well as incite acts of terrorism. The ICRC list of accepted military objectives includes “the installations of broadcasting and television stations”. Similarly, the Committee established to review NATO bombings in Yugoslavia noted in relation to NATO attacks on radio and television stations in Belgrade: “If the media is used to incite crimes then it is a legitimate target … Insofar as the attack actually was aimed at disrupting the communications network it was legally acceptable.” 
Israel, Responding to Hizbullah Attacks from Lebanon: Issues of Proportionality, Legal Background, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel, 25 July 2006, § 4.
Israel
In 2007, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated in a diplomatic note:
The guiding principle adopted by the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] was to target only infrastructure that was making a significant contribution to the operational capabilities of the Hizbullah terrorists …
Al Manar TV station – Operating as the Hizbullah television station, Al Manar was used to relay messages to terrorists and to incite acts of terrorism. The ICRC list of accepted military objectives includes “the installations of broadcasting and television stations.” Similarly, the Committee established to review NATO bombings in Yugoslavia noted in relation to NATO attacks on radio and television stations in Belgrade: “If the media is used to incite crimes then it is a legitimate target … Insofar as the attack actually was aimed at disrupting the communications network it was legally acceptable.” 
Israel, Israel’s War with Hizbullah. Preserving Humanitarian Principles While Combating Terrorism, Diplomatic Notes No. 1, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel, April 2007, pp. 15 and 17.
Lebanon
The Report on the Practice of Lebanon refers to a communiqué issued in 1997 by the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs which stated: “All radio stations and media installations in Lebanon are civilian targets. Israel does not have the right to attack them, regardless of their political orientation.” 
Report on the Practice of Lebanon, 1998, Chapter 1.3, referring to Communiqué of the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 29 February 1997.
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: “Iraqi military command and control has been severely damaged and increasingly Iraq has moved to alternative, less effective means of communication. Iraq’s ability to sustain a war has been steadily reduced.” 
United Kingdom, Letter dated 28 January 1991 from the United Kingdom to the President of the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/22156, 28 January 1991, p. 1.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2003, during a debate in the House of Commons on “Iraq (Overnight events)”, 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.
Mr. Simon Thomas (Ceredigion): … Will the Secretary of State confirm that the attacks last night were in residential areas of Baghdad and were, in fact, an attempt to assassinate Saddam Hussein? Will he take this opportunity to spell out in more detail the UK MOD processes for ensuring the protection of civilians in such situations? What advice is taken and given in order to achieve that? …
Mr. Hoon: The hon. Gentleman probably understands more about the nature of Iraqi society than he is letting on. In the past, we have heard many references to the palaces that the regime has constructed. Those palaces are residential – if the hon. Gentleman chooses to describe them as such – but they are also command and control centres that are operated by leaders of the regime simply because they are afraid of any close contact with their own people. In reality, those targets are perfectly legitimate military targets because they are the places from which Saddam Hussein exercises command and control over his own people and over weapons of mass destruction. It is entirely consistent with our campaign objectives that such military command and control facilities should be targeted.
Mr. George Osborne (Tatton): It is clear from the action overnight that the military is targeting Saddam Hussein himself. Should Saddam Hussein be killed or overthrown, would military action cease immediately? If not, how would the Iraqi military bring the conflict to a close? What would it have to say to us to bring the conflict to an end?
Mr. Hoon: We are pursuing lawful military targets. Clearly, part of that effort is designed to disrupt the command and control of the regime. As I have said, and as the Prime Minister made clear yesterday, we are seeking to remove weapons of mass destruction from Iraq. However, with the expiry of the ultimatum to the regime and to Saddam Hussein, the means of achieving that will be through the removal of the regime. The removal of the regime will be the specific focus of our military operations. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Statements by the Secretary of State for Defence, Hansard, 20 March 2003, Vol. 401, Debates, cols. 1087 and 1093–1094.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2003, during a debate in the House of Commons, the UK Prime Minister replied to a question by a Member:
Mr. Duncan Smith: Given the Prime Minister’s answer about losing grip on power with regard to Saddam Hussein, he knows that television is a powerful medium and that it is never more so than during times of war when it is used by a ruthless dictator, like Saddam Hussein. Will the Prime Minister tell us what progress is being made to take Iraqi television off air permanently, how successful coalition attempts have been to jam Iraqi radio broadcasts in Iraq, and what methods are being used to pass information to the Iraqi people to let them know that, if and when they rise up, they will be supported?
The Prime Minister: In relation to any military targets, we have to ensure that they have a military objective – that is the legal requirement as well as the stated political objective that we have set. There is no doubt that one of the issues is how we can best communicate with the Iraqi people. That is being urgently looked at. There are different ways in which we can communicate with them, including through people inside Iraq who can tell them exactly what is happening. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Statement by the Prime Minister, Hansard, 26 March 2003, Vol. 402, Debates, col. 282.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2003, in reply to a written question in the House of Commons, the UK Secretary of State for Defence wrote:
The military campaign is crafted around the principle of minimum use of force. We attack only military objectives and combatants subject to the constraints of proportionality …
Television offices and studios have not been the object of coalition attacks. The coalition has attacked, and reserves the right to continue to attack systems (such as transmitters) which are used by the regime for conveying military command and control information. Coalition attacks are designed to minimise damage to civilian infrastructure. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Secretary of State for Defence, Hansard, 9 April 2003, Vol. 403, Written Answers, col. 297W.
United States of America
During the Korean War, the United States reportedly attacked communication centres in North Korea. 
Robert F. Futrell, The United States Air Force in Korea 1950–1953, Office of Air Force History, United States Air Force, Washington, D.C., Revised edition, 1983, p. 516.
United States of America
In 1950, the US Secretary of State stated: “The air activity of the United Nations forces in Korea has been, and is, directed solely at military targets of the invader. These targets [include] … communications lines.” 
United States, Statement by Dean Acheson, Secretary of State, 6 September 1950, reprinted in Marjorie Whiteman, Digest of International Law, Vol. 10, Department of State Publication 8367, Washington, D.C., 1968, p. 140.
United States of America
In 1991, in reports submitted to the UN Security Council on operations in the Gulf War, the United States included command and control centres among Iraq’s military targets. 
United States, Letter dated 22 January 1991 to the President of the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/22130, 22 January 1991, p. 1; Letter dated 8 February 1991 to the President of the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/22216, 13 February 1991, p. 1.
United States of America
In 1991, during a news briefing concerning the Gulf War, the US Secretary of Defense stated that “command and control [and] communications facilities” 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 leadership command facilities, its telecommunications and command, control and communication nodes 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. 95–96.
The report specified that:
To challenge [Saddam Hussein’s] C3 [command, control and communication], the Coalition bombed microwave relay towers, telephone exchanges, switching rooms, fiber optic nodes, and bridges that carried coaxial communications cables … More than half of Iraq’s military landline communications passed through major switching facilities in Baghdad. Civil TV and radio facilities could be used easily for C3 backup for military purposes. The Saddam Hussein regime also controlled TV and radio and used them as the principal media for Iraqi propaganda. Thus, these installations were also struck. 
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, p. 96; see also James P. Coyne, Plan of Attack, Air Force Magazine, April 1992, pp. 40–42.
In the same report, the Department of Defense stated: “Microwave towers for everyday, peacetime civilian communications can constitute a vital part of a military command and control (C2) system … Attack of all segments of the Iraqi communications system was essential to destruction of Iraqi military C2.” 
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.
No data.
No data.
No data.
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:
The precise scope of “military-industrial infrastructure, media and other strategic targets” as referred to in the US statement and “government ministries and refineries” as referred to in the NATO statement is unclear. Whether the media constitutes a legitimate target group is a debatable issue. If the media is used to incite crimes, as in Rwanda, then it is a legitimate target. If it is merely disseminating propaganda to generate support for the war effort, it is not a legitimate target. 
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, § 47.
The Committee further stated:
The media as such is not a traditional target category. To the extent particular media components are part of the C3 (command, control and communications) network they are military objectives. If media components are not part of the C3 network then they may become military objectives depending upon their use. As a bottom line, civilians, civilian objects and civilian morale as such are not legitimate military objectives. The media does have an effect on civilian morale. If that effect is merely to foster support for the war effort, the media is not a legitimate military objective. If the media is used to incite crimes, as in Rwanda, it can become a legitimate military objective. If the media is the nerve system that keeps a war-monger in power and thus perpetuates the war effort, it may fall within the definition of a legitimate military objective. 
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, § 55.
With respect to NATO’s attack against the radio and television station in Belgrade, the Committee noted that:
The attack appears to have been justified by NATO as part of a more general attack aimed at disrupting the FRY Command, Control and Communications network, the nerve centre and apparatus that keeps Miloševic in power, and also as an attempt to dismantle the FRY propaganda machinery. Insofar as the attack actually was aimed at disrupting the communications network, it was legally acceptable.
If, however, the attack was made because equal time was not provided for Western news broadcasts, that is, because the station was part of the propaganda machinery, the legal basis was more debatable. 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 alone may not meet the “effective contribution to military action” and “definite military advantage” criteria required by the Additional Protocols … While stopping such propaganda may serve to demoralize the Yugoslav population and undermine the government’s political support, it is unlikely that either of these purposes would offer the “concrete and direct” military advantage necessary to make them a legitimate military objective. 
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, §§ 75–76.
No data.
Americas Watch
In 1985, in a report on violations of the laws of war in Nicaragua, Americas Watch listed “objects which, while not directly connected with combat operations, effectively contribute to military operations in the circumstances ruling at the time, such as transportation and communication systems and facilities” 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 “objects that, while not directly connected with combat operations, effectively contribute to military operations in the circumstances ruling at the time, such as transportation and communication systems and facilities” 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. 140.
Human Rights Watch
In 1999, in a letter to the NATO Secretary-General concerning NATO’s bombing in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Human Rights Watch stated, with respect to the argument that the Serbian State radio and television headquarters in Belgrade was a legitimate target for NATO to attack:
While stopping such propaganda may serve to demoralize the Yugoslav population and undermine the government’s political support, neither purpose offers the “concrete and direct” military advantage necessary to make them a legitimate target. 
Human Rights Watch, Letter to the NATO Secretary-General, 13 May 1999.
Human Rights Watch
In a report on the NATO bombings in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia issued in 2000, Human Rights Watch stated that it considered the bombing of the Serbian State radio and television headquarters in Belgrade to be “one of the worst incidents of civilian death” with respect to target selection. It asserted that there was no evidence that the radio and television headquarters met the legal test of military necessity in target selection, as it made no direct contribution to the military effort in Kosovo, and added that in this case the purpose of the attack seemed to have been more “psychological harassment of the civilian population” than to obtain direct military effect. The report further stated that “the risks involved to the civilian population in undertaking the urban attack thus grossly outweighed any perceived military benefit”. 
Human Rights Watch, Civilian Deaths in the NATO Air Campaign, New York, 7 February 2000, p. 7.
Amnesty International
In 2000, in a report on the NATO bombings in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Amnesty International concluded that “in one instance, the attack on the headquarters of Serbian state radio and television (RTS), NATO launched a direct attack on a civilian object, killing 16 civilians. Such attack breached article 52(1) of [the 1977 Additional] Protocol I and therefore constitutes a war crime.” 
Amnesty International, NATO/Federal Republic of Yugoslavia: “Collateral Damage” or Unlawful Killings? Violations of the Laws of War by NATO during Operation Allied Force, AI Index EUR 70/18/00, London, June 2000, p. 25.