Règle correspondante
Sweden
Practice Relating to Rule 1. The Principle of Distinction between Civilians and Combatants
Sweden’s IHL Manual (1991) states: “A distinction shall always be made between persons participating in hostilities and who are thereby legitimate objectives, and members of the civilian population, who may not constitute objectives in warfare.” 
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. 40.
The manual considers that the principle of distinction as stated in Article 48 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I is part of customary international law. 
Sweden, International Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflict, with reference to the Swedish Total Defence System, Swedish Ministry of Defence, January 1991, Section 2.2.3, p. 19.
In 2007, in an answer to a question in Parliament, the Swedish Minister of Trade stated:
Then we have the humanitarian law principles regarding distinction, proportionality and unnecessary suffering, to which particular attention should be given. This means that a distinction must be drawn between military targets on the one hand and the civilian population and its property on the other, and that attacks may only be targeted at military targets. 
Sweden, Answer by the Minister of Trade to a Parliamentary interpellation on the sale of cluster munitions to the United States, 13 November 2007, Parliamentary Protocol 2007/08:23, § 18, Anf. 124.
Humanitarian law is based on a number of fundamental principles. They are apparent in current treaties and customary law and express the core of humanitarian law. They concern the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution, the prohibition on causing superfluous damage and unnecessary suffering and the principle of non-discrimination as well as the so called Martens Clause. 
Sweden, Government Bill 2013/14:146 on criminal liability for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, 20 February 2014, p. 33.
The annual report of the Secretary-General paints a gloomy picture of the situation around the world for children in armed conflict. ISIL has been listed as violating all triggers of violence against children, a result of their appalling atrocities. In Syria, the systematic use of indiscriminate aerial weapons, such as barrel bombs, account for the overwhelming majority of civilian casualties, including children. This cannot be allowed to continue. And during hostilities in Gaza last summer, civilians, including children, bore the brunt of the suffering. At least 540 Palestinian children were killed … The scale of the impact on children was unprecedented and unacceptable.
These facts … are utterly disturbing and raise serious concern about the observance of the rules of international humanitarian law, including the [principle] of distinction … and respect for international human rights law. 
Sweden, Statement by the permanent representative of Sweden at the UN Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict made on behalf of Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, 18 June 2015.
Sweden’s IHL Manual (1991) states: “A distinction shall always be made between persons participating in hostilities and who are thereby legitimate objectives, and members of the civilian population, who may not constitute objectives in warfare.” 
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. 40.
Sweden’s IHL Manual (1991) states: “A distinction shall always be made between persons participating in hostilities and who are thereby legitimate objectives, and members of the civilian population, who may not constitute objectives in warfare.” 
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. 40.
Sweden’s Penal Code (1962), as amended in 1998, provides that “attacks on civilians” constitute a crime against international law. 
Sweden, Penal Code, 1962 as amended in 1998, Chapter 22, § 6.
In its written statement submitted to the ICJ in the Nuclear Weapons case in 1995, Sweden stated: “Under the principle of distinction, an attack on a civilian population or civilian property is prohibited.” 
Sweden, Written statement submitted to the ICJ, Nuclear Weapons case, 20 June 1995, p. 3; see also Written statement submitted to the ICJ, Nuclear Weapons (WHO) case, 2 June 1994, p. 3.
In 2003, in an answer to a written question in Parliament regarding the situation in Colombia, Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Affairs stated:
I find it extraordinarily serious that all three major illegal armed organisations, i.e. FARC-EP [Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejercito del Pueblo], ELN [Ejército de Liberación Nacional] and the paramilitary groups gathered around AUC [Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia], have committed and are committing serious assaults on the civilian population, in contravention of international humanitarian law. 
Sweden, Answer by the Minister for Foreign Affairs to written question 2002/03:592 on Colombia, in Parliament, 7 March 2003.
In 2005, in an answer to a question in Parliament regarding the parliamentary election in Chechnya, Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Affairs stated: “All violence targeted at civilians is indefensible.” 
Sweden, Answer by the Minister for Foreign Affairs to a Parliamentary interpellation regarding the parliamentary election in Chechnya, 13–26 January 2005, Parliamentary Protocol 2005/06:62, § 3, Anf. 8.
In 2007, with regard to the situation in Gaza, the Swedish Ministers for Foreign Affairs and for International Development Cooperation stated: “Attacks against civilians are in contravention of international law.” 
Sweden, Statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for International Development Cooperation, 1 November 2007.
In 2007, in a speech given at the EU Africa Summit, the Prime Minister of Sweden stated: “No quest for stability can justify … the targeting of civilians in conflict. Human suffering and violations against civilians must come to an end in places like Darfur and Somalia.” 
Sweden, Speech by the Prime Minister of Sweden at the EU Africa Summit, Lisbon, 8 December 2007.
In the fight against ISIL and terrorism, the Syrian regime must contribute by ending its attacks on civilians and committing to a genuine political transition. Let us not forget that the Syrian regime is responsible for the overwhelming part of the atrocities committed in Syria. Atrocities which may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity, and which cannot be tolerated by the international community. 
Sweden, Statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs during a UN Security Council ministerial meeting, 30 September 2015.