Practice Relating to Rule 8. Definition of Military Objectives

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Australia
Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) includes among military objectives “areas of land which are of direct use to defending or attacking forces, eg land through which an adversary is likely to move its forces or which may be used as a forming up point preceding an attack”. 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, § 527(h); see also § 916(b) (“areas of land which armed forces use or which have military significance such as hills and bridgeheads”).
Australia
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) provides as an example of military objectives “areas of land which are of direct use to defending or attacking forces, eg land through which an adversary is likely to move its forces or which may be used as a forming up point preceding an attack”. 
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 Regulations on Armoured Infantry Squads (1972) defines the objective of a mission as “a vital area of land to be conquered or defended”. 
Belgium, Le Peloton d’Infanterie Blindée, Règlement G 176, Ministère de la Défense Nationale, Etat-Major Général, Force Terrestre, Direction de l’Infanterie, des Paras-Commandos et de la Police Militaire, 1972, p. 3.
Belgium
Belgium’s Regulations on Tank Squadrons (1982) states that the objective of a tank squadron in attack is “an area of land whose capture requires the enemy’s destruction or withdrawal”. 
Belgium, L’Escadron de Chars, Règlement G 287, Ministère de la Défense Nationale, Etat-Major Général, Force Terrestre, Ecole des Troupes Blindées, 1982, § 537(b)(2); see also §§ 536(b)(2) and 539(b)(2).
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) considers “an area of land of tactical importance” as a military objective. 
Benin, Le Droit de la Guerre, III fascicules, Forces Armées du Bénin, Ministère de la Défense nationale, 1995, Fascicule I, p. 13.
Canada
According to Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999), 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.
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001) states in its chapter on targeting: “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, § 406.2.
Côte d’Ivoire
Côte d’Ivoire’s Teaching Manual (2007) provides in Book IV (Instruction of heads of division and company commanders): “A specific sector of land can constitute a military objective.” 
Côte d’Ivoire, Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre IV: Instruction du chef de section et du commandant de compagnie, Manuel de l’élève, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, p. 26.
Croatia
According to Croatia’s Commanders’ Manual (1992), military objectives include “tactically relevant points of terrain”. 
Croatia, Basic Rules of the Law of Armed Conflicts – Commanders’ Manual, Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Defence, 1992, § 4.
Ecuador
Ecuador’s Naval Manual (1989) states: “Proper naval targets also include geographic targets, such as a mountain pass.” 
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 Summary Note (1992) includes “areas of land of tactical importance” among military objectives. 
France, Fiche de Synthèse sur les Règles Applicables dans les Conflits Armés, Note No. 432/DEF/EMA/OL.2/NP, Général de Corps d’Armée Voinot (pour l’Amiral Lanxade, Chef d’Etat-major des Armées), 1992, Part I, § 1.2.
Italy
Italy’s IHL Manual (1991) states that “areas of land that would be useful to capture or deny to the enemy in order to achieve a military operation” 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.
Italy
Italy’s LOAC Elementary Rules Manual (1991) includes “areas of tactical importance” among military objectives. 
Italy, Regole elementari di diritto di guerra, SMD-G-012, Stato Maggiore della Difesa, I Reparto, Ufficio Addestramento e Regolamenti, Rome, 1991, § 4.
Madagascar
Madagascar’s Military Manual (1994) states that military objectives include “areas of land of tactical importance”. 
Madagascar, Le Droit des Conflits Armés, Ministère des Forces Armées, August 1994, Fiche No. 2-O, § 4.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands notes that the Government of the Netherlands has declared that “an area of land can constitute a military objective as long as it fulfils the conditions thereof”. 
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 states that “[t]he [Dutch] Government has also declared that a given piece of terrain may also form a military objective”. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0511.
New Zealand
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) states:
An area of land may be a military objective, provided that the particular area offers a definite military advantage to the defending forces or those attacking. This would include a tract of land through which the adverse Party would be likely to move its forces, or an area the occupation of which would provide the occupant with the possibility of mounting a further attack. 
New Zealand, Interim Law of Armed Conflict Manual, DM 112, New Zealand Defence Force, Headquarters, Directorate of Legal Services, Wellington, November 1992, § 516(6); see also § 623(6).
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) states:
The capture or preservation of a specific area of land constitutes a military objective when it meets all the requirements laid down in Article 52 of Additional Protocol I and it confers a concrete military advantage taking into account the circumstances ruling at the time. 
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, § 4.4.d; see also § 2.3.b.(1).
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states:
Taking or holding a certain area of land is considered a military objective, when all the requirements laid down in article 52 of [the 1977] Additional Protocol I are met and it provides a concrete military advantage, taking into account the circumstances prevailing at the 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.d; see also §§ 2.3.b.(1) and 4.2.b.
Sweden
Sweden’s IHL Manual (1991) states:
The definition [of military objectives contained in Article 52(2) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I] is intended to apply only to property or objects. Thus, for example, areas of land cannot be included; but this does not prevent an area objective if it is a matter of hindering an enemy advance by means of artillery fire or mining. Attacks on an area are permitted as long as the attack cannot be classified as indiscriminate. 
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.
Togo
Togo’s Military Manual (1996) considers “an area of land of tactical importance” as a military objective. 
Togo, Le Droit de la Guerre, III fascicules, Etat-major Général des Forces Armées Togolaises, Ministère de la Défense nationale, 1996, Fascicule I, p. 13.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Pamphlet (1981) states that military objectives include “areas of land which either have military significance such as hills, defiles or bridgeheads or which contain military objects; or … minefields”. 
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)(1).
United States of America
The US Naval Handbook (1995) states: “Proper naval targets also include geographic targets, such as a mountain pass.” 
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 … geographic features, such as a mountain pass”. 
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.
Spain
The Report on the Practice of Spain (1998) notes that the fact that a particular zone may be considered a military objective provided it fulfils the requirements of Article 52(2) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I is consistent with the possibility provided for under Spanish law of establishing zones of interest for national defence, comprising “expanses of land, sea, or airspace declared as such because they constitute or may constitute a permanent base or an effective aid to offensive action necessary for such purpose”. 
Report on the Practice of Spain, 1998, Chapter 1.3, referring to Zones and Installations Law, 1975, Article 2.
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Belgium
In an explanatory memorandum submitted to the Belgian Parliament in 1985 in the context of the ratification procedure of the 1977 Additional Protocols, the Belgian Government stated:
The notion of “military objective” must be understood as meaning that a specific zone, as such, which by its location or other criteria enumerated in Article 52 makes an effective contribution to enemy military action, can be considered a military objective. 
Belgium, House of Representatives, Explanatory memorandum on a draft bill for the approval of the Additional Protocols, 1984–1985 Session, Doc. 1096-1, 9 January 1985, p. 10.
Canada
At the CDDH, Canada stated:
A specific area of land may also be a military objective if, because of its location or other reasons specified in Article 47 [now Article 52 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I], its total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage. 
Canada, Statement at the CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.41, 26 May 1977, p. 179.
Canada
Upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, Canada stated:
It is the understanding of the Government of Canada in relation to Article 52 that: a. a specific area of land may be a military objective if, because of its location or other reasons specified in the Article as to what constitutes a military objective, its total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization in the circumstances governing at the time offers a definite military advantage. 
Canada, Statements of understanding made upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, 20 November 1990, § 8(a).
France
In a declaration made upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, France stated:
A specific zone may be considered as a military objective if, due to its location or for any other criteria mentioned in Article 52 [of the 1977 Additional Protocol I], its total or partial destruction, capture or neutralisation in the circumstances governing at the time offers a decisive military advantage. 
France, Reservations and declarations made upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, 11 April 2001, § 12.
France
In an interpretative declaration made upon ratification of the 1998 ICC Statute, France stated:
The Government of the French Republic declares that a specific area may be considered a “military objective” as referred to in article 8, paragraph 2 (b) as a whole if, by reason of its situation, nature, use, location, total or partial destruction, capture of neutralization, taking into account the circumstances of the moment, it offers a decisive military advantage. 
France, Interpretative declarations made upon ratification of the 1998 ICC Statute, 9 June 2000, § 6.
Germany, Federal Republic of
At the CDDH, the Federal Republic of Germany stated that it had been able to vote in favour of Article 47 of the draft Additional Protocol I (now Article 52) on the basis of the understanding that:
A specific area of land may be a military objective if, because of its location or other reasons specified in Article 47 [now Article 52 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I], its total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage. 
Germany, Federal Republic of, Statement at the CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.41, 26 May 1977, p. 188.
Germany, Federal Republic of
Upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, the Federal Republic of Germany stated:
Article 52 of Additional Protocol I is understood by the Federal Republic of Germany to mean that a specific area of land may also be a military objective if it meets all requirements of Article 52, paragraph 2. 
Germany, Federal Republic of, Declarations made upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, 14 February 1991, § 7.
Italy
Upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, Italy stated:
A specific area of land may be a “military objective” if, because of its location or other reasons specified in Article 52, its total or partial destruction, capture or neutralisation in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers definite military advantage. 
Italy, Declarations made upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, 27 February 1986, § 7.
Netherlands
At the CDDH, the Netherlands stated that it interpreted Article 47 of the draft Additional Protocol I (now Article 52) to mean that:
A specific area of land may be a military objective if, because of its location or other reasons specified in Article 47 [now Article 52 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I], its total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage. 
Netherlands, Statement at the CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.41, 26 May 1977, p. 195.
Netherlands
Upon ratification of the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the Netherlands stated:
1. With regard to article 2, paragraph 4, of Protocol II: It is the understanding of the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands that a specific area of land may also be a military objective if, because of its location or other reasons specified in paragraph 4, its total or partial destruction, capture, or neutralization in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage;
4. With regard to article 1, paragraph 3, of Protocol III: It is the understanding of the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands that a specific area of land may also be a military objective if, because of its location or other reasons specified in paragraph 3, its total or partial destruction, capture, or neutralization in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage. 
Netherlands, Declaration made upon ratification of the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, 18 June 1987, §§ 1 and 4.
Netherlands
Upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, the Netherlands stated:
It is the understanding of the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands that a specific area of land may also be a military objective if, because of its location or other reasons specified in paragraph 2 [of Article 52 of the Protocol], its total or partial destruction, capture, or neutralization in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage. 
Netherlands, Declarations made upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, 26 June 1987, § 7.
Netherlands
Upon acceptance of the 1996 Amended Protocol II to the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the Netherlands stated with regard to Article 2(6) of the Amended Protocol:
The Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands takes the view that a specific area of land may also be a military objective if, because of its location or other reasons specified in paragraph six, its total or partial destruction, capture, or neutralization in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage. 
Netherlands, Declaration made upon acceptance of the 1996 Amended Protocol II to the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, 25 March 1999, § 3.
New Zealand
Upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, New Zealand stated:
In relation to Article 52, it is the understanding of the Government of New Zealand that a specific area of land may be a military objective if, because of its location or other reasons specified in the Article, its total or partial destruction, capture or neutralisation in the circumstances ruling at the time offers a definite military advantage. 
New Zealand, Declarations made upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, 8 February 1988, § 4.
Pakistan
Upon acceptance of the 1996 Amended Protocol II to the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, Pakistan stated:
It is understood that an area of land can itself be a legitimate military objective for the purposes of the use of landmines, if its neutralisation or denial, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage. 
Pakistan, Declaration made upon acceptance of the 1996 Amended Protocol II to the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, 9 March 1999, § 5.
Spain
Upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, Spain stated:
It is the understanding [of the Spanish Government] that the capture or holding of a specific area of territory constitutes a military objective when all the conditions set out in this paragraph [paragraph 2 of Article 52] together offer a concrete military advantage taking into account the circumstances at the relevant time. 
Spain, Declarations made upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, 21 April 1989, § 7.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
At the CDDH, the United Kingdom stated:
A specific area of land might be a military objective if, because of its location or for other reasons specified in Article 47 [now Article 52 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I], its total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offered a definite military advantage. 
United Kingdom, Statement at the CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.41, 26 May 1977, p. 169, § 153.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Upon signature of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, the United Kingdom stated in relation to Article 52 of the Protocol:
In relation to Article 52, that a specific area of land may be a military objective if, because of its location or other reasons specified in the Article, its total or partial destruction, capture or neutralisation in the circumstances ruling at the time offers definite military advantage. 
United Kingdom, Declaration made upon signature of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, 12 December 1977, § f.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Upon ratification of the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the United Kingdom stated with respect to Protocol II, Article 2 and Protocol III, Article 1:
A specific area of land may be a military objective if, because of its location or other reasons specified in this article, its total or partial destruction, capture or neutralisation in the circumstances ruling at the time offers a definite military advantage. 
United Kingdom, Declaration made upon ratification of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, 13 February 1995, § (b).
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, the United Kingdom stated:
It is the understanding of the United Kingdom that a specific area of land may be a military objective if, because of its location or other reasons specified in this Article 52, its total or partial destruction, capture or neutralisation in the circumstances ruling at the time offers a definite military advantage. 
United Kingdom, Reservations and declarations made upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, 28 January 1998, § j.
United States of America
At the CDDH, the United States expressed its understanding that:
A specific area of land may be a military objective if, because of its location or other reasons specified in Article 47 [now Article 52 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I], its total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage. 
United States, Statement at the CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.41, 26 May 1977, p. 204.
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 stated:
An area of land can be a military objective if by its nature, location, purpose or use it makes an effective contribution to military action and its total or partial destruction, denial, capture or neutralization offers a definite military advantage, in the circumstances ruling at the time. Most areas which would be mined in war would meet this definition.  
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 … as military objectives. 
Report on US Practice, 1997, Chapter 1.3.
United States of America
Upon acceptance of the 1996 Amended Protocol II to the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the United States stated:
The United States understands that an area of land itself can be a legitimate military objective for the purpose of the use of landmines, if its neutralization or denial, in the circumstances applicable at the time, offers a military advantage. 
United States, Declaration made upon acceptance of the 1996 Amended Protocol II to the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, 24 May 1999, § 4.
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