Practice Relating to Rule 17. Choice of Means and Methods of Warfare
Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) states: “All feasible precautions [must be taken], in the choice of means and methods of attack, to minimise collateral damage.”
With respect to precision guided weapons, the manual specifies:
The existence of precision guided weapons … in a military inventory does not mean that they must necessarily be used in preference to conventional weapons even though the latter may cause collateral damage. In many cases, conventional weapons may be used to bomb legitimate military targets without violating LOAC requirements. It is a command decision as to which weapon to use; this decision will be guided by the basic principles of LOAC: military necessity, unnecessary suffering and proportionality.
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) states that it is the duty of Australian Defence Force commanders to take “all feasible precautions, in the choice of means and methods of attack, to minimise collateral damage”.
In its chapter on “Air Operations”, the manual states: “The LOAC principles of proportionality, military necessity and unnecessary suffering determine which targets may be attacked by military aircraft”.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).