Practice Relating to Rule 24. Removal of Civilians and Civilian Objects from the Vicinity of Military Objectives
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands provides that one of the precautions against the effects of attacks consists of:
trying to evacuate the civilian population, individual civilians and civilian objects from the vicinity of military objectives … Although the physical separation of civilians and civilian objects from military objectives is an obvious measure for the protection of the population, it is nevertheless a measure that will often encounter great difficulties in densely populated areas. It is essential that the civilian population is not used as a human shield for military operations.
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states:
Section 8 - Precautions against (effects of) attacks
0549. Precautions when attacking
This is about the measures which a party to an armed conflict must take against the consequences of attacks on military objectives in the area under its control.
The precautions are as follows:
- to endeavour to remove the civilian population, individual civilians and civilian objects from the vicinity of military objectives.
[emphasis in original]
The manual further states: “As far as possible, movable cultural property should be removed from the vicinity of military objectives, or otherwise suitably protected.”
In its chapter on non-international armed conflict, the manual states: “They [participants in an internal armed conflict] must strive to remove the civilian population, individual civilians and civilian objects from the vicinity of military objectives, or otherwise offer sufficient protection.”