Practice Relating to Rule 1. The Principle of Distinction between Civilians and Combatants
In 2004, in a report to Parliament on Finland’s human rights policy, Finland stated:
In an armed conflict, the individual is protected not only by human rights law but also by the rules of international humanitarian law. The rules of humanitarian law are essentially based on two basic principles: the applicability of IHL to all armed conflicts irrespective of the reason of the conflict, and the distinction between combatants and civilians.
Finland’s Criminal Code (1889), as amended in 2008, provides that any person who “attacks civilian populations, civilians not taking part in hostilities or civilian targets” shall be “sentenced for a war crime
to imprisonment for at least one year or for life”.
(emphasis in original)