Practice Relating to Rule 9. Definition of Civilian Objects

Additional Protocol I
Article 52(1) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I defines civilian objects as “all objects which are not military objectives”. 
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), Geneva, 8 June 1977, Article 52(1). Article 52 was adopted by 79 votes in favour, none against and 7 abstentions. CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.41, 26 May 1977, p. 168.
Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons
Article 2(5) of the 1980 Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons and Article 2(7) of the 1996 Amended Protocol II to the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons define civilian objects as “all objects which are not military objectives”. 
Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby-Traps and Other Devices, to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects, Geneva, 10 October 1980, Article 2(5); Protocol on Prohibitions on the Use of Mines, Booby-Traps and Other Devices, as amended, to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects, Geneva, 3 May 1996, Article 2(7).
Protocol III to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons
Article 1(4) of the 1980 Protocol III to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons defines civilian objects as “all objects which are not military objectives”. 
Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Incendiary Weapons, to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects, Geneva, 10 October 1980, Article 1(4).
No data.
Argentina
Argentina’s Law of War Manual (1989) states:
4.02 – Definitions
(2) Civilian objects are all objects which are not military objectives, that is, those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action or whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage.
4.45 – Civilian objects are all objects which are not military objectives. 
Argentina, Leyes de Guerra, PC-08-01, Público, Edición 1989, Estado Mayor Conjunto de las Fuerzas Armadas, aprobado por Resolución No. 489/89 del Ministerio de Defensa, 23 April 1990, §§ 4.02(2) and 4.45.
Australia
Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) states:
530 – [The 1977 Additional Protocol I] defines “civilian objects” as all objects which are not military objectives.
916 – Civilian property or objectives are defined as anything which are not military objectives. 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, §§ 530 and 916.
Australia
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) states:
5.34 [The 1977 Additional Protocol I] defines “civilian objects.” as all objects which are not military objectives.
9.16 Civilian property or objectives are defined as anything that are not military objectives. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, §§ 5.34 and 9.16.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
Benin
Benin’s Military Manual (1995) defines civilian objects as “any object which is not a military object or which is not used for military purposes”. 
Benin, Le Droit de la Guerre, III fascicules, Forces Armées du Bénin, Ministère de la Défense nationale, 1995, Fascicule I, p. 13.
Burundi
Burundi’s Regulations on International Humanitarian Law (2007) states: “Civilian objects are all objects which are not military objectives.” 
Burundi, Règlement n° 98 sur le droit international humanitaire, Ministère de la Défense Nationale et des Anciens Combattants, Projet “Moralisation” (BDI/B-05), August 2007, Part I bis, p. 16; see also pp. 32, 53 and 86.
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) states: “Under the law of armed conflict, a ‘civilian object’ is any object which is not a ‘military objective’.” 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 4-4, § 36.
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001) states in its chapter on targeting: “Under the LOAC, a ‘civilian object’ is any object, which is not a ‘military objective’.” 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 427.
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (1992) states: “Are considered ‘civilian objects’ all objects which are not 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. 17.
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) defines “civilian objects” as “all objects which are not military objects [objectives]”. 
Cameroon, Droit des conflits armés et droit international humanitaire, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les forces de défense, Ministère de la Défense, Présidence de la République, Etat-major des Armées, 2006, p. 92, § 352.13; see also p. 134, § 412.13.
Central African Republic
The Central African Republic’s Instructor’s Manual (1999) states in Volume 1 (Basic and team leader instruction) that civilian objects “are all objects which are not military objectives or which are not used for military purposes.” 
Central African Republic, Le Droit de la Guerre, Fascicule No. 1: Formation élémentaire toutes armés (FETA), formation commune de base (FCB), certificat d’aptitude technique No. 1 (Chef d’équipe) , Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Centrafricaines, 1999, Chapter II, Section I, § 4.
Colombia
Colombia’s Instructors’ Manual (1999) states:
A civilian object … is every object that is not a military objective. … In sum, it may be said that civilian objects are those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use do not make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, do not offer a definite military advantage. 
Colombia, Derechos Humanos & Derecho Internacional Humanitario – Manual de Instrucción de la Guía de Conducta para el Soldado e Infante de Marina, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, Oficina de Derechos Humanos, Fuerzas Militares de Colombia, Santafé de Bogotá, 1999, pp. 16–17.
[emphasis in original]
Côte d’Ivoire
Côte d’Ivoire’s Teaching Manual (2007) provides in Book I (Basic instruction):
II.1 Protected persons and objects
- Civilian objects: objects which are not regarded as military objectives. For example: a school, a dwelling, a granary, a civilian means of transportation, etc. 
Côte d’Ivoire, Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre I: Instruction de base, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, pp. 18–19.
In Book III, Volume 1 (Instruction of first-year trainee officers), the Teaching Manual provides:
III.1. Civilian objects
By civilian objects, one means all objects which are not military objectives. …
One can cite as examples of civilian objects:
- buildings and installations used by civilians, as long as they are not used for military purposes, for example houses, apartment buildings, hospitals, factories and workshops producing goods devoid of military significance;
- offices, markets, warehouses, farms, schools, museums, places of worship and other similar buildings, as well as means of transport such as civilian aircraft, cars, trains and buses;
- foodstuffs and areas for the production of foodstuffs, springs, wells, water conveyance works and reservoirs. 
Côte d’Ivoire, Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre III, Tome 1: Instruction de l’élève officier d’active de 1ère année, Manuel de l’élève, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, pp. 32–33; see also Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre III, Tome 2: Instruction de l’élève officier d’active de 2ème année, Manuel de l’instructeur, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, pp. 21 and 28–29; 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. 35.
Croatia
Croatia’s Commanders’ Manual (1992) defines civilian objects as “those objects that are not used for military purposes”. 
Croatia, Basic Rules of the Law of Armed Conflicts – Commanders’ Manual, Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Defence, 1992, § 6.
Ecuador
Ecuador’s Naval Manual (1989) defines civilian objects as “all civilian property and activities other than those used to support or sustain the enemy’s war-fighting capability”. 
Ecuador, Aspectos Importantes del Derecho Internacional Marítimo que Deben Tener Presente los Comandantes de los Buques, Academia de Guerra Naval, 1989, § 8.1.2.
France
France’s LOAC Summary Note (1992) states: “Civilian objects are those objects that are not used for military purposes.” 
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, § 1.1.
Ireland
Ireland’s Basic LOAC Guide (2005) states: “Civilian objects are any objects that are not military objectives … .” 
Ireland, Basic Guide to the Law of Armed Conflict, TP/TRG/01-2005, Director of Defence Forces Training, Department of Defence, July 2005, p. 10.
Italy
Italy’s LOAC Elementary Rules Manual (1991) defines civilian objects as “those objects that are not used for military purposes”. 
Italy, Regole elementari di diritto di guerra, SMD-G-012, Stato Maggiore della Difesa, I Reparto, Ufficio Addestramento e Regolamenti, Rome, 1991, § 6.
Kenya
Kenya’s LOAC Manual (1997) states: “‘Civilian object’ means any object which is not a military objective.” 
Kenya, Law of Armed Conflict, Military Basic Course (ORS), 4 Précis, The School of Military Police, 1997, Précis No. 2, p. 11.
Madagascar
Madagascar’s Military Manual (1994) states: “‘Civilian object’ means any object which is not a military objective.” 
Madagascar, Le Droit des Conflits Armés, Ministère des Forces Armées, August 1994, Fiche No. 2-SO, § D; see also Fiche No. 4-T, § 1.
The manual further states: “Civilian objects: civilian objects are those which are not used for military purposes.” 
Madagascar, Le Droit des Conflits Armés, Ministère des Forces Armées, August 1994, Fiche No. 2-O, § 6.
Mexico
Mexico’s IHL Guidelines (2009) states: “A civilian object is any object (a community, its facilities and personal property) which is not a military objective and which by its nature, location, purpose or use does not contribute to forming a military objective.” 
Mexico, Cartilla de Derecho Internacional Humanitario, Ministry of National Defence, 2009, § 2.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands states: “Civilian objects are all objects which are not military objectives.” 
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: “Civilian objects are all objects that are not military objectives.” 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0513.
Peru
Peru’s IHL Manual (2004) defines the term “civilian object” as: “Any object which is not a military objective. It may not be the target of attacks or reprisals.” 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial Nº 1394-2004-DE/CCFFAA/CDIH-FFAA, Lima, 1 December 2004, Chapter 9, Glossary of Terms.
Peru
Peru’s IHL and Human Rights Manual (2010) states in its Glossary of Terms: “Civilian objects: Objects which are not military objectives.” 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario y Derechos Humanos para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial No. 049-2010/DE/VPD, Lima, 21 May 2010, p. 398.
The manual also states: “Civilian objects are objects which are not 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, § 6, p. 418.
Philippines
The Philippine Army Soldier’s Handbook on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (2006) notes in its glossary:
Civilian objects – any object which is not a military objective. Objects which are normally civilian objects can, according to the military situation, become military objectives (e.g. house or bridge tactically used by the defender and thus a target for an attacker). In case of doubt whether an object which is normally dedicated to civilian purposes (e.g. a place of worship, a house or dwelling, a school) is a military objective or not, it shall be considered as a civilian object. 
Philippines, Philippine Army Soldier’s Handbook on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, A Practical Guide for Internal Security Operations, 2006, p. 67, Glossary.
Russian Federation
The Russian Federation’s Regulations on the Application of IHL (2001) states:
civilian objects are objects that are not military objectives.
In case of doubt whether an object which is normally dedicated to civilian purposes is being used for military purposes, the object shall be considered a civilian object. 
Russian Federation, Regulations on the Application of International Humanitarian Law by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, Moscow, 8 August 2001, § 1.
Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone’s Instructor Manual (2007) states: “Civilian objects are those objects that are not military objectives and therefore should not be attacked.” 
Sierra Leone, The Law of Armed Conflict. Instructor Manual for the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF), Armed Forces Education Centre, September 2007, p. 26.
(emphasis in original)
South Africa
South Africa’s LOAC Manual (1996) states: “Civilian objects. This refers to any object which is not a military objective.” 
South Africa, Presentation on the South African Approach to International Humanitarian Law, Appendix A, Chapter 4: International Humanitarian Law (The Law of Armed Conflict), National Defence Force, 1996, § 24(e). This manual is also included in Chapter 4 of the Draft Civic Education Manual of 1997.
South Africa
South Africa’s Revised Civic Education Manual (2004) provides that a “civilian object” is “any object which is not a military objective”. 
South Africa, Revised Civic Education Manual, South African National Defence Force, 2004, Chapter 4, § 47(e).
South Africa
South Africa’s LOAC Teaching Manual (2008) states: “Civilian objects are all objects that are not military objectives.” 
South Africa, Advanced Law of Armed Conflict Teaching Manual, School of Military Justice, 1 April 2008, as amended to 25 October 2013, Learning Unit 2, p. 54.
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) states: “Civilian objects are those which are not military objectives, within the meaning explained in this chapter.” 
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).b.
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states: “Civilian objects are all objects which are not military objectives as defined in this chapter.” 
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)(b).
The manual further states: “Any area, facility or object that does not fulfil any of the requirements … which would qualify it as a military objective, must be considered a civilian object.” 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Tomo 1, Publicación OR7–004, (Edición Segunda), Mando de Adiestramiento y Doctrina, Dirección de Doctrina, Orgánica y Materiales, 2 November 2007, § 4.2.b.(2); see also § 1.3.b.(2).
Sweden
Sweden’s IHL Manual (1991) states:
Seen against the background of the enormous destruction of civilian property associated with the Second World War and all later conflicts, application of [Article 52 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I] could bring about an appreciable humanizing of warfare – people would no longer need to experience the catastrophe of bombed-out homes and ruined cities. However, Article 52 cannot be expected to bring about such great changes in warfare … [An] important reason [for this] is the lack of a definition of civilian objectives. 
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. 53.
Switzerland
Switzerland’s Regulation on Legal Bases for Conduct during an Engagement (2005) states in the section on the principle of distinction: “Protected objects are all objects that are not military objectives.” 
Switzerland, Bases légales du comportement à l’engagement (BCE), Règlement 51.007/IVf, Swiss Army, issued based on Article 10 of the Ordinance for the Organization of the Federal Department for Defence, Civil Protection and Sports of 7 March 2003, entry into force on 1 July 2005, § 159(4).
Togo
Togo’s Military Manual (1996) defines civilian objects as “any object which is not a military object or which is not used for military purposes”. 
Togo, Le Droit de la Guerre, III fascicules, Etat-major Général des Forces Armées Togolaises, Ministère de la Défense nationale, 1996, Fascicule I, p. 14.
Ukraine
Ukraine’s IHL Manual (2004) states:
Civilian objects are all objects which are not military objectives. Objects that are normally civilian may become military objectives depending on the situation … In case of doubt whether a civilian object is being used for military purposes, it shall be presumed to be civilian. 
Ukraine, Manual on the Application of IHL Rules, Ministry of Defence, 11 September 2004, § 1.2.46.
The manual further states that “civil objects” are protected by international humanitarian law. 
Ukraine, Manual on the Application of IHL Rules, Ministry of Defence, 11 September 2004, § 1.2.51.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Pamphlet (1981) states: “‘Civilian objects’ are all objects which are not military objectives.” 
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(c).
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states:
5.24.1. “Civilian objects are all objects which are not military objectives …”
5.24.2. The term “civilian objects” would normally include cities, towns, and villages as such but not military objectives within those places. It also includes foodstuffs and food producing areas, springs, wells, water works and other water sources, buildings and facilities used by civilians (so long as they do not fall within the definition of military objectives) such as housing estates and houses; apartment blocks and flats; factories and workshops producing goods of no military significance; offices, shops, markets and warehouses; farms and stables; schools, museums, places of worship and other similar buildings; and means of transport such as civil aircraft, cars, railway trains, trams, and buses. Special protection is also given to hospitals, internment and prisoner of war camps. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, §§ 5.24.1–2.
With regard to internal armed conflict, the manual states:
15.16.1. There is no definition of civilian objects nor is the term used in the treaties dealing with internal armed conflicts but the principles of military necessity and humanity require attacks to be limited to military objectives. Thus attacks on the following are prohibited unless they are being used for military purposes: civilian dwellings, shops, schools and other places of non-military business, places of recreation and worship, means of transportation, cultural property, hospitals and medical establishments and units.
15.16.2. UN General Assembly Resolution 2675, which was unanimously adopted and applies to all armed conflicts, can be regarded as evidence of state practice. Paragraph 5 of the resolution states: “dwellings and other installations that are used only by the civilian population should not be the object of military operations.” The principle of military necessity demands that civilian property may only be destroyed, or requisitioned for use, for necessary military purposes.
15.16.3. The old practices that tolerated during sieges the bombardment of civilian buildings (other than places of worship), hospitals, cultural property, indispensable objects and works containing dangerous forces, have not survived. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, §§ 15.16.1–3.
United States of America
The US Air Force Pamphlet (1976) states: “Civilian objects are all objects which are not military objectives.” 
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(a)(1)(b).
United States of America
The US Naval Handbook (1995) defines civilian objects as “all civilian property and activities other than those used to support or sustain the enemy’s war-fighting capability”. 
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), § 8.1.2.
United States of America
The US Naval Handbook (2007) states: “Civilian objects consist of all objects that are not military objectives”. 
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, § 8.3.
Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia’s Military Manual (1988) defines civilian objects as “objects which are not military”. 
Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of, Propisi o Primeri Pravila Medjunarodnog Ratnog Prava u Oruzanim Snagama SFRJ, PrU-2, Savezni Sekretarijat za Narodnu Odbranu (Pravna Uprava), 1988, § 73.
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan’s Law concerning the Protection of Civilian Persons and the Rights of Prisoners of War (1995), as amended to 2007, states that “civilian objects are all objects that are not military objectives”. 
Azerbaijan, Law concerning the Protection of Civilian Persons and the Rights of Prisoners of War, 1995, as amended to Law 430-IIIQD dated 9 October 2007, Article 4.
Burundi
Burundi’s Penal Code (2009) states that “civilian objects … [are] objects which are not military objectives”. 
Burundi, Penal Code, 2009, Article 198(2)(2o).
Cuba
The Report on the Practice of Cuba (1998) asserts that objects not listed by the National Defence Act (1994) among the “Military Reserve of Facilities and Equipment of the National Economy” should be considered as civilian objects. 
Report on the Practice of Cuba, 1998, Chapter 1.3, referring to National Defence Act, 1994, Article 119.
South Africa
South Africa’s Prohibition or Restriction of Certain Conventional Weapons Act (2008) defines “civilian objects” as “all objects which are not military objectives”. 
South Africa, Prohibition or Restriction of Certain Conventional Weapons Act, 2008, Section 1.
Colombia
In 2007, in the Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, the Plenary Chamber of Colombia’s Constitutional Court stated: “Civilian objects shall be ‘any objects that cannot be legitimately considered a military objective’ [quoting Prosecutor v. Tihomir Blaškić, Judgement, Trial Chamber I, 3 March 2000, Case No. IT-95-14-T].” 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, Judgment of 25 April 2007, p. 94.
Germany
In 2010, in the Fuel Tankers case, the Federal Prosecutor General at Germany’s Federal Court of Justice investigated whether war crimes or other crimes under domestic law had been committed in the course of an airstrike which was ordered by a colonel (Oberst) of the German armed forces against two tankers transporting fuel for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan stolen by the Taliban near Kunduz and which resulted in the deaths of a number of civilians. The Federal Prosecutor General stated:
Pursuant to § 170 para. 2 StPO [Penal Procedure Code], the investigation proceedings which were initiated by the order of 12 March 2010 against Colonel (Oberst) Klein and Company Sergeant Major (Hauptfeldwebel) Wilhelm due to suspected offences under the VStGB [International Crimes Code] and other offences are to be terminated as a result of the investigations conducted and based on the sources of information set out hereafter and on the reasons given in detail hereafter. 
Germany, Federal Court of Justice, Federal Prosecutor General, Fuel Tankers case, Decision, 16 April 2010, p. 1.
The Federal Prosecutor General also stated:
The following is to be considered regarding the subjective element of § 11 (1) (3) VStGB [which states that carrying out an attack by military means and definitely anticipating that the attack will cause death or injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects on a scale out of proportion to the concrete and direct overall military advantage anticipated is a war crime in international and non-international armed conflict]:
bb)
Civilian objects are all objects which are not military objectives according to Art. 52 (1) para. 1 sentence 2 AP I [1977 Additional Protocol I] and customary international law. 
Germany, Federal Court of Justice, Federal Prosecutor General, Fuel Tankers case, Decision, 16 April 2010, pp. 47–49.
South Africa
In 1987, in the Petane case, the Cape Provincial Division of South Africa’s Supreme Court dismissed the accused’s claim that the 1977 Additional Protocol I reflected customary international law. The Court stated:
The accused has been indicted before this Court on three counts of terrorism, that is to say, contraventions of s 54(1) of the Internal Security Act 74 of 1982. He has also been indicted on three counts of attempted murder.
The accused’s position is stated to be that this Court has no jurisdiction to try him.
… The point in its early formulation was this. By the terms of [the 1977 Additional] Protocol I to the [1949] Geneva Conventions the accused was entitled to be treated as a prisoner-of-war. A prisoner-of-war is entitled to have notice of an impending prosecution for an alleged offence given to the so-called “protecting power” appointed to watch over prisoners-of-war. Since, if such a notice were necessary, the trial could not proceed without it, Mr Donen suggested that the necessity or otherwise for giving such a notice should be determined before evidence was led. …
On 12 August 1949 there were concluded at Geneva in Switzerland four treaties known as the Geneva Conventions. …
South Africa was among the nations which concluded the treaties. … Except for the common art 3, which binds parties to observe a limited number of fundamental humanitarian principles in armed conflicts not of an international character, they apply to wars between States.
After the Second World War many conflicts arose which could not be characterised as international. It was therefore considered desirable by some States to extend and augment the provisions of the Geneva Conventions, so as to afford protection to victims of and combatants in conflicts which fell outside the ambit of these Conventions. The result of these endeavours was Protocol I and Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions, both of which came into force on 7 December 1978.
Protocol II relates to the protection of victims of non-international armed conflicts. Since the State of affairs which exists in South Africa has by Protocol I been characterised as an international armed conflict, Protocol II does not concern me at all.
The extension of the scope of art 2 of the Geneva Conventions was, at the time of its adoption, controversial. …
The article has remained controversial. More debate has raged about its field of operation than about any other articles in Protocol I. …
South Africa is one of the countries which has not acceded to Protocol I. Nevertheless, I am asked to decide, as I indicated earlier, as a preliminary point, whether Protocol I has become part of customary international law. If so, it is argued that it would have been incorporated into South African law. If it has been so incorporated it would have to be proved by one or other of the parties that the turmoil which existed at the time when the accused is alleged to have committed his offences was such that it could properly be described as an “armed conflict” conducted by “peoples” against a “ra[c]ist regime” in the exercise of their “right of self-determination”. Once all this has been shown it would have to be demonstrated to the Court that the accused conducted himself in such a manner as to become entitled to the benefits conferred by Protocol I on combatants, for example that, broadly speaking, he had, while he was launching an attack, distinguished himself from civilians and had not attacked civilian targets. …
… I am prepared to accept that where a rule of customary international law is recognised as such by international law it will be so recognised by our law.
To my way of thinking, the trouble with the first Protocol giving rise to State practice is that its terms have not been capable of being observed by all that many States. At the end of 1977 when the treaty first lay open for ratification there were few States which were involved in colonial domination or the occupation of other States and there were only two, South Africa and Israel, which were considered to fall within the third category of ra[c]ist regimes. Accordingly, the situation sought to be regulated by the first Protocol was one faced by few countries; too few countries in my view, to permit any general usage in dealing with armed conflicts of the kind envisaged by the Protocol to develop.
Mr Donen contended that the provisions of multilateral treaties can become customary international law under certain circumstances. I accept that this is so. There seems in principle to be no reason why treaty rules cannot acquire wider application than among the parties to the treaty.
Brownlie Principles of International Law 3rd ed at 13 agrees that non-parties to a treaty may by their conduct accept the provisions of a multilateral convention as representing general international law. …
I incline to the view that non-ratification of a treaty is strong evidence of non-acceptance.
It is interesting to note that the first Protocol makes extensive provision for the protection of civilians in armed conflict. …
In this sense, Protocol I may be described as an enlightened humanitarian document. If the strife in South Africa should deteriorate into an armed conflict we may all one day find it a cause for regret that the ideologically provocative tone of s 1(4) has made it impossible for the Government to accept its terms.
To my mind it can hardly be said that Protocol I has been greeted with acclaim by the States of the world. Their lack of enthusiasm must be due to the bizarre mixture of political and humanitarian objects sought to be realised by the Protocol. …
According to the International Review of the Red Cross (January/February 1987) No 256, as at December 1986, 66 States were parties to Protocol I and 60 to Protocol II, which, it will be remembered, deals with internal non-international armed conflicts. With the exception of France, which acceded only to Protocol II, not one of the world’s major powers has acceded to or ratified either of the Protocols. This position should be compared to the 165 States which are parties to the Geneva Conventions.
This approach of the world community to Protocol I is, on principle, far too half-hearted to justify an inference that its principles have been so widely accepted as to qualify them as rules of customary international law. The reasons for this are, I imagine, not far to seek. For those States which are contending with “peoples[’]” struggles for self-determination, adoption of the Protocol may prove awkward. For liberation movements who rely on strategies of urban terror for achieving their aims the terms of the Protocol, with its emphasis on the protection of civilians, may prove disastrously restrictive. I therefore do not find it altogether surprising that Mr Donen was unable to refer me to any statement in the published literature that Protocol I has attained the status o[f] customary international [law].
I have not been persuaded by the arguments which I have heard on behalf of the accused that the assessment of Professor Dugard, writing in the Annual Survey of South African Law (1983) at 66, that “it is argued with growing conviction that under contemporary international law members of SWAPO [South-West Africa People’s Organisation] and the ANC [African National Congress] are members of liberation movements entitled to prisoner-of-war status, in terms of a new customary rule spawned by the 1977 Protocols”, is correct. On what I have heard in argument I disagree with his assessment that there is growing support for the view that the Protocols reflect a new rule of customary international law. No writer has been cited who supports this proposition. Here and there someone says that it may one day come about. I am not sure that the provisions relating to the field of application of Protocol I are capable of ever becoming a rule of customary international law, but I need not decide that point today.
For the reasons which I have given I have concluded that the provisions of Protocol I have not been accepted in customary international law. They accordingly form no part of South African law.
This conclusion has made it unnecessary for me to give a decision on the question of whether rules of customary international law which conflict with the statutory or common law of this country will be enforced by its courts.
In the result, the preliminary point is dismissed. The trial must proceed. 
South Africa, Supreme Court, Petane case, Judgment, 3 November 1987, pp. 2–8.
South Africa
In 2010, in the Boeremag case, South Africa’s North Gauteng High Court stated:
In Petane, … Conradie J found that the provisions of [the 1977 Additional] Protocol I are not part of customary international law, and therefore are also not part of South African law.
Referring to the fact that in December 1986 only 66 of the 165 States party to the Geneva Conventions had ratified Protocol I, the Court [in Petane] stated:
This approach of the world community to Protocol I is, on principle, far too half-hearted to justify an inference that its principles have been so widely accepted as to qualify them as rules of customary international law. The reasons for this are, I imagine, not far to seek. For those States which are contending with “peoples[’]” struggles for self-determination, adoption of the Protocol may prove awkward. For liberation movements who rely on strategies of urban terror for achieving their aims the terms of the Protocol, with its emphasis on the protection of civilians, may prove disastrously restrictive. I therefore do not find it altogether surprising that Mr Donen was unable to refer me to any statement in the published literature that Protocol I has attained the status of customary international law.
Important changes with respect to certain aspects applicable at the time of Petane have taken place. The ANC [African National Congress] has become South Africa’s ruling party and in 1995 ratified Protocol I. The total number of States that have ratified it, is now … 162.
This last aspect forms the basis on which the First Respondent [the State] and the applicants agree that Protocol I forms part of customary international law as well as of South African law. As requested, this position is accepted for the purposes of the decision, without deciding on the matter.
Despite these changes, it remains debatable whether the provisions of Protocol I have become a part of South African law in this way.
The consensus of both parties to the conflict is required. See Petane … and Article 96 of Protocol I. …
Parliament’s failure to incorporate Protocol I into legislation in accordance with Article 231(4) of the Constitution in fact points to the contrary, and is indicative that the requirements of usus and/or opinio juris have not been met. See Petane. 
South Africa, North Gauteng High Court, Boeremag case, Judgment, 26 August 2010, pp. 21–22.
[footnotes in original omitted]
The Court also held:
If the [1977 Additional Protocol I] applies in South Africa as customary international law, the two requirements that form the basis of customary law must be met. It is arguable that the requirement of usus has been met by the vast number of States that have acceded or ratified it. By ratifying Protocol I the Republic of South Africa has indicated its intention to apply the Protocol, thereby fulfilling the requirement of opinio juris. 
South Africa, North Gauteng High Court, Boeremag case, Judgment, 26 August 2010, p. 66.
Canada
In 2013, in a statement before the UN Security Council during an open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, the minister counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Canada stated: “We … recall that media equipment and installations constitute civilian objects within international law as affirmed by UN Security Council Resolution 1738 (2006).” 
Canada, Statement by the minister counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Canada during a UN Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, 17 July 2013.
Djibouti
In 2010, in the History and Geography Textbook for 8th Grade, Djibouti’s Ministry of National Education and Higher Education, under the heading “Terminology”, defined civilian objects as “[a]ll objects that do not constitute military objectives”. 
Djibouti, Ministry of National Education and Higher Education, History and Geography Textbook for 8th Grade, 2010, p. 203.
Egypt
Upon signature of the 1998 ICC Statute, Egypt declared:
Civilian objects [referred to in article 8, paragraph 2 (b) of the Statute] must be defined and dealt with in accordance with the provisions of [the 1977 Additional Protocol I] and, in particular, article 52 thereof. 
Egypt, Declarations made upon signature of the 1998 ICC Statute, 26 December 2000, § 4(b).
Iraq
On the basis of the reply by Iraq’s Ministry of Defence to a questionnaire, the Report on the Practice of Iraq defines civilian objects as objects whose utilization is confined exclusively to civilian purposes. According to the report, an object should always be considered as civilian if it does not have a major effect on military operations and is indispensable to civilians. 
Report on the Practice of Iraq, 1998, Reply by the Iraqi Ministry of Defence to a questionnaire, July 1997, Chapter 1.3.
Israel
In 2007, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated in a diplomatic note:
Damage to property [caused by Hizbullah’s missile attacks] was also heavy: in total, some 12,000 civilian buildings were damaged, among them about 400 public buildings, while about 2,000 private homes and apartments were completely destroyed. In addition, 23 schools, four kindergartens and two community centers were damaged. During the conflict, hospitals were damaged in Nahariya, Haifa, Safed and Mizra. One of them – a psychiatric hospital – had to be evacuated.
Significant damage was also inflicted on infrastructure: sewage plants were damaged and, in some cases, sewage had to be released into the sea and atmosphere (by burning). Over 50 km of roads were damaged and 2 km² of cultivated forest, as well as 40 km² of natural woodland, were destroyed by fires caused by the missiles. All these clearly constitute civilian objects, which are protected from attack by international law, and whose destruction served no military purpose whatsoever.  
Israel, Israel’s War with Hizbullah. Preserving Humanitarian Principles While Combating Terrorism, Diplomatic Notes No. 1, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel, April 2007, p. 5.
Israel
In 2009, in a report on Israeli operations in Gaza between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009 (the “Gaza Operation”, also known as “Operation Cast Lead”), Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated: “A ‘civilian objective’ is any objective which is not a military target.” 
Israel, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Operation in Gaza 27 December 2008–18 January 2009: Factual and Legal Aspects, 29 July 2009, § 223.
Israel
In 2010, in a position paper submitted to the Public Commission to Examine the Maritime Incident of 31 May 2010 (the Turkel Commission), established by the Israeli Government to examine the Gaza flotilla incident, Israel’s Military Advocate General stated: “‘Civilian objects’, that is, all the objects which are not military objectives, also benefit from similar protection [i.e. protected from ‘direct and intentional attack’]”. 
Israel, position paper by the Military Advocate General on investigating allegations of violations of IHL, submitted to the Public Commission to Examine the Maritime Incident of 31 May 2010 (the Turkel Commission), 19 December 2010, Part B.
[footnote in original omitted]
Malaysia
The Report on the Practice of Malaysia states that no written laws in Malaysia define the concept of “civilian objects”. 
Report on the Practice of Malaysia, 1997, Chapter 1.3.
Mexico
At the CDDH, Mexico stated that it believed Article 47 of the draft Additional Protocol I (now Article 52) to be so essential that it “cannot be the subject of any reservations whatsoever since these would be inconsistent with the aim and purpose of Protocol I and undermine its basis”. 
Mexico, Statement at the CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.41, 26 May 1977, p. 193.
Switzerland
Switzerland’s ABC of International Humanitarian Law (2009) states: “Civilian objects are all objects which are not military objectives.” 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, ABC of International Humanitarian Law, 2009, p. 12.
UN Security Council
In a resolution adopted in 2006 on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, the UN Security Council recalled that “media equipment and installations constitute civilian objects, and in this respect shall not be the object of attack or of reprisals, unless they are military objectives”. 
UN Security Council, Res. 1738, 23 December 2006, §3, voting record: 15-0-0.
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No data.
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ICRC
To fulfil its task of disseminating IHL, the ICRC has delegates around the world teaching armed and security forces that: “Civilian object means any object which is not a military objective.” 
Frédéric de Mulinen, Handbook on the Law of War for Armed Forces, ICRC, Geneva, 1987, § 57.
Americas Watch
In 1985, in a report on violations of the laws of war in Nicaragua, Americas Watch stated:
For purposes of the Nicaraguan conflict, the following should be considered civilian objects immune from direct attack:
Structures and locales, such as a house, dwelling, school, farm, village and cooperatives, which in fact are exclusively dedicated to civilian purposes and, in the circumstances prevailing [at] the time, do not make an effective contribution to military action. 
Americas Watch, Violations of the Laws of War by Both Sides in Nicaragua: 1981–1985, New York, March 1985, p. 32.
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, p. 99.
Africa Watch
In 1989, in a report on violations of the laws of war in Angola, Africa Watch stated that “structures and locales, such as houses, churches, dwellings, schools, and farm villages, that are exclusively dedicated to civilian purposes and, in the circumstances prevailing at the time, do not make an effective contribution to military action” should be considered civilian objects immune from direct attack by combatants, as well as by landmines and related devices. 
Africa Watch, Angola: Violations of the Laws of War by Both Sides, New York, April 1989, p. 139.
Human Rights Watch
In 2000, in a report on the NATO air campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Human Rights Watch used the definition of a military objective contained in Article 52(2) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
Human Rights Watch, Civilian Deaths in the NATO Air Campaign, New York, 7 February 2000, p. 7.