Règle correspondante
Canada
Practice Relating to Rule 7. The Principle of Distinction between Civilian Objects and Military Objectives
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) provides in its chapter on the basic principles of the law of armed conflict:
The principle of distinction imposes an obligation on commanders to distinguish between legitimate targets and civilian objects and the civilian population. It is of primary importance when selecting targets. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 2-2, § 12.
In its chapter on targeting, the Manual further provides:
To ensure respect for and protection of the civilian population and civilian objects, commanders shall at all times distinguish between … civilian objects and military objectives. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 4-1, § 4.
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001) states:
1. Distinction. The principle of distinction imposes an obligation on commanders to distinguish between legitimate targets and civilian objects and the civilian population. It is of primary importance when selecting targets.
2. This obligation is, of course, dependent on the quality of the information available to commanders at the time decisions are made. Commanders must make reasonable, good faith efforts to gather intelligence and to review the intelligence available to them. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 204.1–2.
In its chapter on targeting, the manual states:
403. Distinction principle
1. To ensure respect for and protection of the civilian population and civilian objects, commanders shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives.
411. Protection of civilians and civilian objects
1. The protection of civilians and civilian objects is a fundamental principle of the LOAC. Parties to a conflict have a duty to distinguish between civilians and combatants as well as between civilian objects and military objectives. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, §§ 403 and 411.
Canada’s Use of Force Manual (2008) states:
112. Principles and rules governing the use of force that directly relates to the conduct of an armed conflict
1 Distinction. As a general rule civilians and civilian objects shall not be the object of attack (acts of violence against the adversary, whether in offence or defence). Targets shall be limited strictly to military objectives. 
Canada, Use of Force for CF Operations, Canadian Forces Joint Publication, Chief of the Defence Staff, B-GJ-005-501/FP-001, August 2008, § 112.1.
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) provides: “Military operations shall be directed only against legitimate targets. Military operations directed against such targets must also meet the requirement of proportionality discussed below.” 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 4-1, § 5.
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001) states: “‘Legitimate targets’ include combatants, unlawful combatants and military objectives.” 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 406.1.
Canada’s Code of Conduct (2001) instructs soldiers: “Engage only opposing forces and military objectives”. 
Canada, Code of Conduct for CF Personnel, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 4 June 2001, Rule 1.
Rule 1 of Canada’s Code of Conduct (2005) instructs Canadian Forces (CF) personnel: “Engage only opposing forces and military objectives.” 
Canada, Code of Conduct for CF Personnel, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 2005, Rule 1.
The Code of Conduct further explains:
1. Rule # 1 is the cornerstone of the Law of Armed Conflict. It is consistent with and in fact reflects two of the Principles of War, namely “selection and maintenance of the aim” and “economy of effort.” Any deviation from the military aim jeopardizes the mission. Thus, whether you are involved in defensive or offensive operations, your effort must be directed toward the continued maintenance of the aim. It would be considered a waste of resources to engage forces that are not hostile or that have been rendered incapable of further hostilities, or to attack objectives or other objects not used for a military purpose. It is unlawful as well as unsound from an operational point of view.
3. Force used during operations must be directed against opposing forces and military objectives. Therefore, civilians not taking part in hostilities must not be targeted. Rule #1 not only makes sense morally but also helps to ensure the most efficient use of military resources. In simple terms, “warriors fight warriors.” 
Canada, Code of Conduct for CF Personnel, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 2005, Rule 1, §§ 1 and 3.
Canada’s Use of Force Manual (2008), in a section entitled “Principles and rules governing the use of force that directly relates to the conduct of an armed conflict”, states: “Targets shall be limited strictly to military objectives.” 
Canada, Use of Force for CF Operations, Canadian Forces Joint Publication, Chief of the Defence Staff, B-GJ-005-501/FP-001, August 2008, § 112.1.
At the CDDH, Canada stated that the first sentence of Article 47(2) of the draft Additional Protocol I (now Article 52(2)) “prohibits only attacks that could be directed against non-military objectives. It does not deal with the result of a legitimate attack on military objectives and incidental damage that such attack may cause.” 
Canada, Statement at the CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.41, 26 May 1977, p. 179.
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 … the first sentence of paragraph 2 of the Article is not intended to, nor does it, deal with the question of incidental or collateral damage resulting from an attack directed against a military objective. 
Canada, Reservations and statements of understanding made upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, 20 November 1990, § 8(b).
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) provides: “As a general rule, civilians and civilian objects shall not be attacked.” 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 4-4, § 32.
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001) states: “As a general rule, civilians and civilian objects shall not be attacked.” 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 423.
Canada’s Use of Force Manual (2008), in a section entitled “Principles and rules governing the use of force that directly relates to the conduct of an armed conflict”, states: “Distinction. As a general rule civilians and civilian objects shall not be the object of attack (acts of violence against the adversary, whether in offence or defence).” 
Canada, Use of Force for CF Operations, Canadian Forces Joint Publication, Chief of the Defence Staff, B-GJ-005-501/FP-001, August 2008, § 112.1.
Canada’s Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act (2000) provides that the war crimes defined in Article 8(2) of the 1998 ICC Statute are “crimes according to customary international law” and, as such, indictable offences under the Act. 
Canada, Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act, 2000, Section 4(1) and (4).
In 2013, in the Sapkota case, Canada’s Federal Court dismissed a request for review of a decision denying refugee protection to the applicant on grounds of complicity in crimes against humanity in Nepal between 1991 and 2009. While reviewing the submissions of the respondent, Canada’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, the Court stated: “The Respondent notes that the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court … is endorsed in Canada as a source of customary law.” 
Canada, Federal Court, Sapkota case, Reasons for Judgment and Judgment, 15 July 2013, § 28.
In 2011, in a statement before the UN Security Council during an open debate in connection with the agenda item “Children and Armed Conflict”, made on behalf of the Group of Friends of Children and Armed Conflict, the deputy permanent representative of Canada stated:
The Friends Group is pleased with the work undertaken by the Security Council, in the last few years, in progressively strengthening the protection framework for children affected by armed conflict. …
Members of the Friends Group have reliably called on the Security Council to strengthen its protection framework even more and consistently called for all six grave violations committed against children in armed conflict to be included amongst the Security Council Resolution 1612 [of 2005] listing criteria. The Friends Group has supported a progressive approach in this regard and therefore commends the Security Council in filling an important gap in the child protection framework by including attacks against schools and hospitals as the latest trigger through the resolution it will adopt today [Resolution 1998(2011)].
For the Friends Group, a new trigger such as this not only includes in the annexes to the Secretary General’s reports on children and armed conflict those parties to armed conflict that, in contravention of applicable international law, engage in attacks against schools and hospitals, but also those who engage in threats or attacks against schoolchildren, patients, educational or medical personnel. 
Canada, Statement by the deputy permanent representative of Canada during a UN Security Council open debate in connection with the agenda item “Children and Armed Conflict”, made on behalf of the Group of Friends of Children and Armed Conflict, 12 July 2011.
On behalf of Canada, the deputy permanent representative stated:
We strongly believe that the adoption today of a new resolution on children and armed conflict will increase the profile [of] the grave violation of attacks against schools and hospitals just as the adoption of Resolution 1882 raised the profile of rape and sexual violence against children and Resolution 1612 on the recruitment and use of children in hostilities. 
Canada, Statement by the deputy permanent representative of Canada during a UN Security Council open debate in connection with the agenda item “Children and Armed Conflict”, 12 July 2011.
In 2012, in a statement before the UN Security Council during an open debate in connection with the agenda item “Children and Armed Conflict”, the permanent representative of Canada stated: “This year’s Secretary General’s report continues to document grave violations and abuses being committed against girls and boys – including … attacks against schools and hospitals. These despicable actions must be stopped.” 
Canada, Statement by the permanent representative of Canada during a UN Security Council open debate in connection with the agenda item “Children and Armed Conflict”, 19 September 2012, p. 2.
In 2013, in a statement during a UN Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, the deputy permanent representative of Canada stated: “The conflict in Syria continues to take a terrible toll on the civilian population. … Health care and educational facilities continue to be targeted …”. 
Canada, Statement by the deputy permanent representative of Canada during a UN Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, 12 February 2013.
In 2013, Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development issued a press release entitled “[Foreign Affairs Minister] Baird Condemns Air Strikes on Syrian Civilians”, which stated: “Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement: ‘Canada strongly condemns the ongoing air strikes inflicted by the Syrian regime on Aleppo and surrounding areas that are killing hundreds of innocent civilians’, many of whom are women and children. …’”. 
Canada, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, “[Foreign Affairs Minister] Baird Condemns Air Strikes on Syrian Civilians”, Press Release, 24 December 2013.
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) states that civilian aircraft and vehicles are military objectives “if they contain combatants, military equipment or supplies”. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 4-2, § 10.
With respect to civil aircraft, the manual specifies:
Civil aircraft (including state aircraft which are not military aircraft) in flight should not be attacked. They are presumed to be carrying civilians who may not be made the object of direct attack. If there is doubt as to the status of civil aircraft, it should be called upon to clarify that status. If it fails to do so, or is engaged in support of military activities, such as ferrying troops, it may be attacked. Civil aircraft should avoid entering areas which have been declared combat zones by the belligerents, since this increases the risk of their being attacked. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 7-4, § 38.
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001) states in its chapter on targeting:
Civil aircraft (including state aircraft which are not military aircraft) in flight should not be attacked. They are presumed to be carrying civilians who may not be made the object of direct attack. If there is doubt as to the status of civil aircraft, it should be called upon to clarify that status. If it fails to do so, or is engaged in support of military activities, such as ferrying troops, it may be attacked. Civil aircraft should avoid entering areas that have been declared combat zones by the belligerents, since this increases the risk of their being attacked. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 716.2.