Practice Relating to Rule 7. The Principle of Distinction between Civilian Objects and Military Objectives
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) provides:
The principle of distinction, also sometimes called the principle of identification, imposes an obligation on commanders to distinguish between legitimate military objectives and civilian objects and the civilian population when conducting military operations, particularly when selecting targets.
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) provides: “Attacks must be directed against military objectives.”
Upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, New Zealand stated: “The first sentence of paragraph 2 of [Article 52] is not intended to, nor does it, deal with the question of incidental or collateral damage resulting from an attack directed against a military objective.”
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) provides: “Attacks may not be directed against … civilian objects”.
Under New Zealand’s International Crimes and ICC Act (2000), war crimes include the crime defined in Article 8(2)(b)(ii) of the 1998 ICC Statute.
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) states:
Civilian vessels, aircraft, vehicles and buildings may be lawfully attacked if they contain combatant personnel or military equipment or supplies or are otherwise associated with combat activity inconsistent with their civilian status and if collateral damage would not be excessive under the circumstances.
The manual further states:
Civil aircraft (including State aircraft which are not military aircraft) in flight should not be attacked. They are presumed to be carrying civilians who may not be made the object of direct attack. If there is doubt as to the status of a civil aircraft, it should be called upon to clarify that status. If it fails to do so, or is engaged in non-civil activities, such as ferrying troops, it may be attacked. Civil aircraft should avoid entering areas which have been declared combat zones by the belligerents, since this increases the risk of their being attacked.