Practice Relating to Rule 8. Definition of Military Objectives
Section I. Presence of civilians within or near military objectives
Spain’s Field Regulations (1882) deals with the question of whether protection should be granted to “individuals who, forming part of a field army, are nonetheless not combatants in the strict sense of the word, such as employees and operatives of administrative and technical bodies, drivers, cleaners”.
According to the Regulations, such individuals “who are not military personnel but follow armies to the battlefield are naturally exposed to the same dangers and cannot expect to be treated differently; but once their position and functions have been identified, they must be respected”.
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) states that “indirect objectives” are objectives:
which may not be the object of a direct attack but which can suffer the consequences of an attack upon a military objective. Such is the case for civilians … who may suffer the effects of an attack upon a legitimate military objective due to:
–their proximity to a military objective aimed at shielding that objective against attack;
–their carrying out activities supporting military operations (units of workers, workers in arms factories, etc.).
The manual further provides that civilian personnel who accompany and render services to the armed forces “do not have the protected status of the civilian population but are entitled to the status of prisoner of war in case of capture”.
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states: “A military objective continues to be considered as such even if there are civilians or civilian property in the vicinity.”
The manual further states:
Indirect objectives are those that cannot be directly attacked, but may suffer the consequences of an attack on a military objective.
Civilians … are considered to be indirect objectives that may suffer the effects of an attack on a legitimate military target in the following cases:
- presence in the vicinity of a military objective, with a view to shielding it from attacks;
- activities that support military operations (labour units, workers in weapons factories, etc.).
The manual also states that civilian personnel accompanying and providing services to the armed forces “are not protected as civilians, but they are entitled to prisoner-of-war status if they are captured”.