Practice Relating to Rule 12. Definition of Indiscriminate Attacks
Section A. Attacks which are not directed at a specific military objective
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands states:
Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited. Indiscriminate attacks are attacks which can strike military objectives and civilians or civilian objects without distinction. Additional Protocol I mentions a few concrete forms of indiscriminate attacks:
- Attacks which are not directed at a specific military objective.
The determination of the objective must therefore precede the attack.
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states:
Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited. This means attacks which, in their implementation, do not distinguish between military objectives and civilians. In AP I [1977 Additional Protocol I], some more specific forms of indiscriminate attack are listed:
- attacks not directed at a specific military objective. The objective must therefore be determined before proceeding to attack;
Iraq’s SCUD rocket attacks on towns in Israel and Saudi Arabia during the second Gulf War (1990–91) are considered an example of indiscriminate attacks.