Practice Relating to Rule 7. The Principle of Distinction between Civilian Objects and Military Objectives
Section A. The principle of distinction
Germany’s Military Manual (1992) provides: “It is particularly prohibited to employ means or methods which are intended or of a nature … to injure military objectives, civilians, or civilian objects without distinction.”
In 1983, in a statement before the Lower House of Parliament, a German Minister of State pointed out that the principle of distinction between civilian objects and military objectives was one of the five basic principles of the law of armed conflict and that it applied equally to the attacker and the attacked.
In an explanatory memorandum submitted to the German Parliament in 1990 in the context of the ratification procedure of the 1977 Additional Protocols, the German Government expressed the opinion that the principle of distinction between civilian objects and military targets enshrined in Article 48 of Additional Protocol I was a well-established rule of customary law, binding on all States.