Practice Relating to Rule 8. Definition of Military Objectives

Hague Convention (IX)
Article 2 of the 1907 Hague Convention (IX) allows the bombardment of “workshops or plant which could be utilized for the needs of the hostile fleet or army”. 
Hague Convention (IX) concerning Bombardment by Naval Forces in Time of War, The Hague, 18 October 1907, Article 2.
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 large industrial centre or from any important military objective constituting a vulnerable point”. 
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, “factories constituting important and well-known centres engaged in the manufacture of arms, ammunition or distinctively military supplies” 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).
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:
(8) Industries of fundamental importance for the conduct of the war:
(a) industries for the manufacture of armaments such as weapons, munitions, rockets, armoured vehicles, military aircraft, fighting ships, including the manufacture of accessories and all other war material;
(b) industries for the manufacture of supplies and material of a military character, such as transport and communications material, equipment for the armed forces;
(c) factories or plants constituting other production and manufacturing centres of fundamental importance for the conduct of war, such as the metallurgical, engineering and chemical industries, whose nature and purpose is essentially military;
(d) storage and transport installations whose basic function it is to serve the industries referred to in (a)–(c);
(e) installations providing energy mainly for national defence, e.g. coal, other fuels, or atomic energy, and plants producing gas or electricity mainly for military consumption.
(9) Installations constituting experimental, research centres for experiments on and the development of weapons and war material. 
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) gives as an example of military objectives:
power stations [and] industry which support military operations … industrial installations producing materiel for combat forces, fuel dumps and distribution centres supplying military users, industrial installations that repair and replenish lines of communication and other economic targets the destruction, capture or neutralisation of which offers a definite military advantage. 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, §§ 527(b) and 527(f).
The manual adds: “Economic targets that indirectly but effectively support operations are also military objectives if an attack will gain a definite military advantage.” 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, § 527(g).
Australia
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) provides as an example of military objectives:
… power stations [and] industry which support military operations … industrial installations producing materiel for combat forces, fuel dumps and distribution centres supplying military users, industrial installations that repair and replenish lines of communication and other economic targets the destruction, capture or neutralisation of which offers a definite military advantage.
The manual adds: “Economic targets that indirectly but effectively support operations are also military objectives if an attack will gain a definite military advantage.” 
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).
Belgium
Belgium’s Law of War Manual (1983) states:
The purpose of combat between belligerents is to weaken and eliminate the power of resistance of the enemy.
This resistance is provided in the first place by the armed forces of a Party to the conflict. As a result, acts of violence are in the first place directed against the military potential of the adversary (the army, its positions, provision of its supplies, its stores, workshops, arsenals, depots, defence works, vehicles, aircraft, war buildings, etc.).
But this resistance also depends on the economic power of the adversary (its war industry, its production capacity, its sources of supply, etc.); in short, its economic potential. The breaking up of this economic potential has of course a direct influence on the armed forces’ capacity to resist, so that this economic potential also becomes a war objective. 
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.
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) considers that “military bases, warehouses, petroleum storage areas” 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(a).
The manual adds that “industrial installations producing material for armed forces; … conventional power plants; and … fuel dumps” “depending on the circumstances, may constitute military objectives”. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 4-2, § 11(d), (e) and (f).
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001) states in its chapter on targeting:
1. The following are generally accepted as being military objectives:
a. military bases, warehouses, petroleum storage areas, ports and airfields;
3. The following objects, depending on the circumstances, may constitute military objectives:
d. industrial installations producing material for armed forces;
e. conventional power plants; and
f. fuel dumps. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 407.1.a and 3.d–f.
Croatia
Croatia’s LOAC Compendium (1991) considers that supply and maintenance bases, namely locations where goods other than medical are produced, processed or stored, are military objectives. 
Croatia, Compendium “Law of Armed Conflicts”, Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Defence, 1991, p. 51.
Ecuador
Ecuador’s Naval Manual (1989) states:
Proper economic targets for naval attack include enemy lines of communication used for military purposes, rail yards, bridges, rolling stock, barges, lighters, industrial installations producing war-fighting products, and power generation plants. Economic targets of the enemy that indirectly but effectively support and sustain the enemy’s war-fighting capability may also be attacked. 
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, “economic objectives which make an effective contribution to military action (transport facilities, industrial plants, etc.)”. 
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) considers that supply and maintenance bases, namely locations where goods other than medical are produced, processed or stored, are military objectives. 
Hungary, A Hadijog, Jegyzet a Katonai, Föiskolák Hallgatói Részére, Magyar Honvédség Szolnoki Repülötiszti Föiskola, 1992, p. 83.
Italy
According to Italy’s IHL Manual (1991), “depots, workshops [and] installations … 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.
New Zealand
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) states that “energy installations [and] war supporting industries 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).
The manual further states:
Industrial installations producing materiel for combat forces, fuel dumps and distribution centres supplying military users, and industrial installations that repair and replenish lines of communication (such as conventional power plants and vehicle plants), and other economic targets may be attacked if they meet the criteria for 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(4); see also § 623(4).
In general, the manual considers that:
Economic targets that indirectly but effectively support enemy operations may also be attacked to gain a definite military advantage. For example, an 1870 international arbitral tribunal recognized that the destruction of cotton was justified during the American Civil War since the sale of cotton provided funds for almost all Confederate arms and ammunition. Authorization to attack such targets will be reserved to higher authority. 
New Zealand, Interim Law of Armed Conflict Manual, DM 112, New Zealand Defence Force, Headquarters, Directorate of Legal Services, Wellington, November 1992, § 516(5); see also § 623(5).
Peru
Peru’s IHL Manual (2004) states: “[Air] bombardment is legitimate only when directed exclusively against the following objectives: … manufacturing plants constituting important and well-known centres for the production of arms, ammunition or characterized military supplies.” 
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: … factories constituting important and well-known centres for the production of weapons, ammunition or supplies that are clearly of a military character”. 
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.
Spain
According to Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996), “economic–industrial objectives which make an effective and real contribution to military action” 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 “economic and industrial objectives that make a real and effective contribution to military action” 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).
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 … energy resources or factories 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 “plants, factories and establishments directly linked to the activity of the armed forces” 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 Naval Handbook (1995) states:
Proper economic targets for naval attack include enemy lines of communication, rail yards, bridges, rolling stock, barges, lighters, industrial installations producing war-fighting products, and power generation plants. Economic targets of the enemy that indirectly but effectively support and sustain the enemy’s war-fighting capability may also be attacked. 
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 also include enemy lines of communication, rail yards, bridges, rolling stock, barges, lighters, industrial installations producing war-fighting products, and power generation plants. Economic objects of the enemy that indirectly but effectively support and sustain the enemy’s war-fighting capability may also be attacked. 
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 among the objects integrated within the “Military Reserve of Facilities and Equipment of the National Economy” to guarantee the necessities of defence in wartime:
facilities and equipment for the handling and storage of cargo, agricultural machinery, construction machinery, and other facilities, installations and machinery intended for works of engineering [and] facilities and equipment for … automation, meteorology, topographical and geodesic systems. 
Cuba, National Defence Act, 1994, Article 119(b) and (c).
Italy
According to Italy’s Law of War Decree (1938), as amended in 1992, “depots, workshops [and] installations … 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.
Islamic Republic of Iran
According to the Report on the Practice of 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, and thus most economic objectives were regarded as military objectives”. The report cites refineries, petrochemical complexes, power stations, railway stations, radio and television stations and bridges as examples of economic objectives which were targeted by the Iranian air force and concludes that “the definition of military objectives from the Islamic Republic of Iran’s point of view is a broad one which includes economic objectives too”. 
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:
Fuel reserves – Terrorist activity is dependent, inter alia, on a regular supply of fuel without which the terrorists cannot operate. For this reason a number of fuel depots which primarily serve the terrorist operations were targeted. From intelligence Israel has obtained, it appears that this step has had a significant effect on reducing the capability of the terrorist organizations.
The legitimacy of directing attacks on fuel and power installations has been widely noted. The Canadian Law of Armed Conflict Manual, for example, lists “petroleum storage areas” as “generally accepted as being military objectives”, while the ICRC list of military objectives also includes “Installations providing energy mainly for national defence, e.g. coal, other fuels, or atomic energy, and plants producing gas or electricity mainly for military consumption”. 
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 …
Fuel reserves – Terrorist activity is dependent, inter alia, on a regular supply of fuel without which the terrorists cannot operate. For this reason a number of fuel depots which primarily served the terrorist operations were targeted. From intelligence Israel has obtained, it appears that this step had a significant effect on reducing the capability of the terrorist organizations.
The legitimacy of directing attacks on fuel and power installations has been widely noted. The Canadian Law of Armed Conflict Manual, for example, lists “petroleum storage areas” as “generally accepted as being military objectives”, while the ICRC list of military objectives also includes “Installations providing energy mainly for national defense, e.g. coal, other fuels, or atomic energy, and plants producing gas or electricity mainly for military consumption.”
One of the claims that have been made against Israel concerns the oil spill that occurred off the shores of Lebanon during the war. Without making any comment regarding the factual validity of such claims, it should be emphasized that Israel ensured that sea and air access was allowed to any assistance offered with regard to the oil spill, even in the midst of a naval and aerial blockade which had to be imposed for operational and security reasons.” 
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. 17.
Lebanon
The Report on the Practice of Lebanon refers to a statement by the General Director of the Ministry of Justice in 1997 in which he stated that he considered the bombardment of economic installations to be a war crime. 
Report on the Practice of Lebanon, 1998, Chapter 6.5, referring to Statement by the General Director of the Lebanese Ministry of Justice, al Raii al ordonia, 23 December 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 that Iraq’s oil refining capacity had been specifically targeted with the objective of “reducing Iraq’s military sustainability”. 
United Kingdom, Letter dated 28 January 1991 to the President of the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/22156, 28 January 1991, p. 1.
United States of America
During the Korean War, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff informed General MacArthur that mass air operations against industrial targets in North Korea were “highly desirable”. The Joint Chiefs of Staff accordingly designated, inter alia, the following targets: the two munitions plants at Pyongyang, the three chemical plants at Hungnam, the oil refinery at Wonsan, the naval oil-storage tank farm at Rashin, the “Tong Iron Foundry” and the “Sam Yong Industrial Factory” at Chinnampo. 
Robert F. Futrell, The United States Air Force in Korea 1950–1953, Office of Air Force History, US Air Force, Washington, D.C., Revised edition, 1983, pp. 186–187; see also pp. 517–518 (discussing the North Korean metals and mining business as a target category).
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] … war plants.” 
United States, Statement by the Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, 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 1966, in reply to an inquiry from a member of the House of Representatives asking for a restatement of US policy on targeting in North Vietnam, a US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense wrote: “The United States has not targeted such installations as textile plants, fruit-canning plants, silk factories and thread cooperatives.” 
United States, Letter from Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Goulding to US Representative Ogden Reid from New York, 30 December 1966, reprinted in Marjorie Whiteman, Digest of International Law, Vol. 10, Department of State Publication 8367, Washington, D.C., 1968, p. 428.
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 electricity production facilities, its oil refining and distribution facilities and its military production sites 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. 96–98.
United States of America
In 1993, in its report to Congress on the protection of natural and cultural resources during times of war, the US Department of Defense stated:
Natural resources that may be of value to an enemy in his war effort are legitimate targets. The 1943 air raids on the Ploesti oil fields in Romania, and the Combined Bomber Offensive campaign against Nazi oil, were critical to allied defeat of Germany in World War II, for example … During Desert Storm, Coalition planners targeted Iraq’s ability to produce refined oil products (such as gasoline) that had immediate military use, but eschewed attack on its long-term crude oil production capability.  
United States, Department of Defense, Report to Congress on International Policies and Procedures Regarding the Protection of Natural and Cultural Resources During Times of War, 19 January 1993, p. 204.
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 … war-supporting economic facilities as military objectives. 
Report on US Practice, 1997, Chapter 1.3.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 1989 on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in El Salvador, the UN Commission on Human Rights expressed its concern at “the systematic destruction of the economic infrastructure as a consequence of the armed conflict” and requested that all parties put an end to “attacks on the economic infrastructure”. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 1989/68, 8 March 1989, preamble and § 5, adopted without a vote.
No data.
No data.
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 whether power plants came within the definition of military objective, stated:
As a first step, the Commission must decide whether the power plant was an object that by its nature, location, purpose or use made an effective contribution to military action at the time it was attacked. … [E]lectric power stations are generally recognized to be of sufficient importance to a State’s capacity to meet its wartime needs of communication, transport and industry so as usually to qualify as military objectives during armed conflicts. The Commission also recognizes that not all such power stations would qualify as military objectives, for example, power stations that are known, or should be known, to be segregated from a general power grid and are limited to supplying power for humanitarian purposes, such as medical facilities, or other uses that could have no effect on the State’s ability to wage war. 
Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission, Western Front, Aerial Bombardment and Related Claims, Eritrea’s Claim, Partial Award, 19 December 2005, § 117.
No data.
Americas Watch
In 1985, in a report on violations of the laws of war in Nicaragua, Americas Watch listed as objects which “can arguably be regarded as legitimate military objectives subject to direct attack”:
objects which, while not directly connected with combat operations, effectively contribute to military operations in the circumstances ruling at the time, such as … otherwise non-military industries of importance to the ability of a party to the conflict to conduct military operations, such as raw or processed coffee destined for export. 
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 as objects which “may be regarded as legitimate military objectives subject to direct attack by combatants and mines”:
objects that, while not directly connected with combat operations, effectively contribute to military operations in the circumstances ruling at the time, such as … otherwise non-military industries of importance to the ability of a party to the conflict to conduct military operations, such as diamonds or petroleum destined for export. 
Africa Watch, Angola: Violations of the Laws of War by Both Sides, New York, April 1989, p. 140.