Practice Relating to Rule 7. The Principle of Distinction between Civilian Objects and Military Objectives

Additional Protocol I
Article 48 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I provides: “In order to ensure respect for and protection of the civilian population and civilian objects, the Parties to the conflict shall at all times distinguish between … civilian objects and military objectives”. 
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), Geneva, 8 June 1977, Article 48. Article 48 was adopted by consensus. CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.41, 26 May 1977, p. 161.
Additional Protocol II (draft)
Article 24(1) of the draft Additional Protocol II submitted by the ICRC to the CDDH provided: “In order to ensure respect for the civilian population, the Parties to the conflict … shall make a distinction … between civilian objects and military objectives”. 
CDDH, Official Records, Vol. I, Part Three, Draft Additional Protocols, June 1973, p. 40.
This proposal was amended and adopted by consensus in Committee III of the CDDH. 
CDDH, Official Records, Vol. XV, CDDH/215/Rev.1, 3 February–18 April 1975, p. 288, § 113.
The approved text provided: “In order to ensure respect and protection for … civilian objects, the Parties to the conflict shall at all times distinguish … between civilian objects and military objectives”. 
CDDH, Official Records, Vol. XV, CDDH/215/Rev.1, 3 February–18 April 1975, p. 319.
Eventually, however, the provision was deleted in the plenary because it failed to obtain the necessary two-thirds majority (36 in favour, 19 against and 36 abstentions). 
CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VII, CDDH/SR.52, 6 June 1977, p. 135.
Convention on Cluster Munitions
According to the preamble to the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, States Parties based their agreement on prohibition of the use, development, production, stockpiling, retention or transfer of cluster munitions on various principles of IHL, including “the rules that the parties to a conflict shall at all times distinguish … between civilian objects and military objectives”. 
Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), Dublin, 30 May 2008, preamble, § 20.
Memorandum of Understanding on the Application of IHL between Croatia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Paragraph 6 of the 1991 Memorandum of Understanding on the Application of IHL between Croatia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia requires that hostilities be conducted in accordance with Article 48 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
Memorandum of Understanding on the Application of International Humanitarian Law between Croatia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Geneva, 27 November 1991, § 6.
Agreement on the Application of IHL between the Parties to the Conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Paragraph 2.5 of the 1992 Agreement on the Application of IHL between the Parties to the Conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina requires that hostilities be conducted in accordance with Article 48 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
Agreement between Representatives of Mr. Alija Izetbegović (President of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and President of the Party of Democratic Action), Representatives of Mr. Radovan Karadžić (President of the Serbian Democratic Party), and Representative of Mr. Miljenko Brkić (President of the Croatian Democratic Community), Geneva, 22 May 1992, § 2.5.
San Remo Manual
Paragraph 39 of the 1994 San Remo Manual provides: “Parties to the conflict shall at all times distinguish between … civilian or exempt objects and military objectives”. 
Louise Doswald-Beck (ed.), San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea, 12 June 1994, Prepared by international lawyers and naval experts convened by the International Institute of Humanitarian Law, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1995, § 39.
UN Secretary-General’s Bulletin
Section 5.1 of the 1999 UN Secretary-General’s Bulletin states: “The United Nations force shall make a clear distinction at all times … between civilian objects and military objectives”. 
Observance by United Nations Forces of International Humanitarian Law, Secretary-General’s Bulletin, UN Secretariat, UN Doc. ST/SGB/1999/13, 6 August 1999, Section 5.1.
Argentina
Argentina’s Law of War Manual (1989) provides:
In any armed conflict, the right of the Parties to the conflict to choose methods or means of warfare is not unlimited. Therefore, it is prohibited to employ weapons, projectiles and material and methods of warfare of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering and, besides, in order to guarantee the protection of the civilian population and civilian objects, the Parties to the conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives. 
Argentina, Leyes de Guerra, PC-08-01, Público, Edición 1989, Estado Mayor Conjunto de las Fuerzas Armadas, aprobado por Resolución No. 489/89 del Ministerio de Defensa, 23 April 1990, § 4.01 (general principles).
Australia
Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) provides:
210. Although not a basic principle, distinction is said to be a related principle and seeks to ensure that only legitimate military objects are attacked. Distinction has two components. The first, relating to personnel, seeks to maintain the distinction between combatants and non-combatants or civilian and military personnel. The second component distinguishes between legitimate military targets and civilian objects.
504. The law of armed conflict establishes a requirement to distinguish between combatants and civilians, and between military objectives and civilian objects. This requirement imposes obligations on all parties to a conflict to establish and maintain the distinction. …
913. The basic rule in respect of civilians which flows from this is that a distinction must be made between the civilian population and combatants, and between civilian objects and military objectives, in order that military operations will only be directed against military objectives. 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, §§ 210, 504 and 913.
Australia
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) states:
2.11 Although not a basic principle, distinction is said to be a related principle and seeks to ensure that only legitimate military objects are attacked. Distinction has two components. The first, relating to personnel, seeks to maintain the distinction between combatants and non-combatants or civilian and military personnel. The second component distinguishes between legitimate military targets and civilian objects. Military operations must only be conducted against military objectives, including combatants. Non-combatants and civilian objects are protected from attack, that is, they are not legitimate objects of attack. LOAC therefore requires that belligerents maintain the clear distinction between armed forces and civilians taking no direct part in hostilities; that is, between combatants and non-combatants, and between objects that might legitimately be attacked and those protected from attack.
5.4. The LOAC establishes a requirement to distinguish between combatants and civilians, and between military objectives and civilian objects. This requirement imposes obligations on all parties to a conflict to establish and maintain the distinction …
9.13. … a distinction must be made between the civilian population and combatants, and between civilian objects and military objectives, in order that military operations will only be directed against military objectives. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, §§ 2.11, 5.4 and 9.13.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
Belgium
Belgium’s Law of War Manual (1983) provides: “A distinction must be made between military objectives and civilian objects.” 
Belgium, Droit Pénal et Disciplinaire Militaire et Droit de la Guerre, Deuxième Partie, Droit de la Guerre, Ecole Royale Militaire, par J. Maes, Chargé de cours, Avocat-général près la Cour Militaire, D/1983/1187/029, 1983, p. 26.
Benin
Benin’s Military Manual (1995) provides: “At all times, a distinction must be made between … military objectives and civilian objects”. 
Benin, Le Droit de la Guerre, III fascicules, Forces Armées du Bénin, Ministère de la Défense nationale, 1995, Fascicule III, p. 11.
Burundi
Burundi’s Regulations on International Humanitarian Law (2007) states: “The parties to an [armed] conflict must in all circumstances distinguish between … military objectives and civilian objects.” 
Burundi, Règlement n° 98 sur le droit international humanitaire, Ministère de la Défense Nationale et des Anciens Combattants, Projet “Moralisation” (BDI/B-05), August 2007, Part I bis, p. 50; see also pp. 2, 15, 31, 35, 40, 52, 63, 80, 82, 85, 92 and 103.
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (1992) provides: “At all times, a clear distinction must be made between combatants, personnel military objectives and civilian objects.” 
Cameroon, Droit international humanitaire et droit de la guerre, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les Forces Armées, Présidence de la République, Ministère de la Défense, Etat-major des Armées, Troisième Division, Edition 1992, p. 86.
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (2006), under the heading “Command Responsibility”, states: “In all circumstances, a distinction must be made between … military objectives … and civilian objects (civilian objects being defined as all objects that are not military objectives) in order to avoid collateral damage.” 
Cameroon, Droit des conflits armés et droit international humanitaire, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les forces de défense, Ministère de la Défense, Présidence de la République, Etat-major des Armées, 2006, p. 219, § 531.
The manual further states:
It must be emphasized that [a responsibility of] command regarding the law of armed conflict and international humanitarian law is to:
- respect the principle of discrimination; that is to say, to make a distinction between … military objectives and civilian objects as well as protected objects (medical installations, cultural objects, …). 
Cameroon, Droit des conflits armés et droit international humanitaire, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les forces de défense, Ministère de la Défense, Présidence de la République, Etat-major des Armées, 2006, p. 175, § 481.
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) provides in its chapter on the basic principles of the law of armed conflict:
The principle of distinction imposes an obligation on commanders to distinguish between legitimate targets and civilian objects and the civilian population. It is of primary importance when selecting targets. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 2-2, § 12.
In its chapter on targeting, the Manual further provides:
To ensure respect for and protection of the civilian population and civilian objects, commanders shall at all times distinguish between … civilian objects and military objectives. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 4-1, § 4.
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001) states:
1. Distinction. The principle of distinction imposes an obligation on commanders to distinguish between legitimate targets and civilian objects and the civilian population. It is of primary importance when selecting targets.
2. This obligation is, of course, dependent on the quality of the information available to commanders at the time decisions are made. Commanders must make reasonable, good faith efforts to gather intelligence and to review the intelligence available to them. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 204.1–2.
In its chapter on targeting, the manual states:
403. Distinction principle
1. To ensure respect for and protection of the civilian population and civilian objects, commanders shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives.
411. Protection of civilians and civilian objects
1. The protection of civilians and civilian objects is a fundamental principle of the LOAC. Parties to a conflict have a duty to distinguish between civilians and combatants as well as between civilian objects and military objectives. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, §§ 403 and 411.
Canada
Canada’s Use of Force Manual (2008) states:
112. Principles and rules governing the use of force that directly relates to the conduct of an armed conflict
1 Distinction. As a general rule civilians and civilian objects shall not be the object of attack (acts of violence against the adversary, whether in offence or defence). Targets shall be limited strictly to military objectives. 
Canada, Use of Force for CF Operations, Canadian Forces Joint Publication, Chief of the Defence Staff, B-GJ-005-501/FP-001, August 2008, § 112.1.
Central African Republic
The Central African Republic’s Instructor’s Manual (1999) states in Volume 3 (Instruction for non-commissioned officers studying for the level 1 and 2 certificates and for future officers of the criminal police) that “a distinction must be made at all times between: … military objectives and civilian objects.” 
Central African Republic, Le Droit de la Guerre, Fascicule No. 3: Formation pour l’obtention du Brevet d’Armes No. 1, du Brevet d’Armes No. 2 et le stage d’Officier de Police Judiciaire (OPJ), Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Centrafricaines, 1999, Chapter III, Section 1.
Chad
Chad’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) states that “a distinction must be made between … civilian property on the one hand and …. military objectives on the other”. 
Chad, Droit international humanitaire, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les forces armées et de sécurité, Ministère de la Défense, Présidence de la République, Etat-major des Armées, 2006, p. 87; see also pp. 16 and 56.
Côte d’Ivoire
Côte d’Ivoire’s Teaching Manual (2007) provides in Book I (Basic instruction):
The Law of War is based on three fundamental principles:
- The principle of distinction;
- The principle of limitation;
- The principle of proportionality.
NB: For the soldier, the principle of distinction is the most important. 
Côte d’Ivoire, Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre I: Instruction de base, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, pp. 14–16.
In Book III, Volume 1 (Instruction of first-year trainee officers), the Teaching Manual provides:
II. The fundamental principles of IHL
Just as military operations are based on principles concerning attack, defence, withdrawal, etc., the law of armed conflicts contains a set of well-defined principles. These concrete principles reflect the realities of conflicts. They represent a balance between the principle of humanity and military necessity, and they are valid at all times, in all places, and in all circumstances. It is essential that these rules are known by all combatants. They must permanently be taken into consideration in every activity of assessment, planning, and military training or operation. The following principles can be found throughout the texts of the law of armed conflicts.
II.1. Distinction
At all times, a distinction must be clearly made between combatants and civilians or the civilian population as such …
In the same way, one must always distinguish between military objectives, which can be attacked, and civilian objects, which must be respected. The term “object” covers all types of objects, be they public or private, fixed or mobile. 
Côte d’Ivoire, Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre III, Tome 1: Instruction de l’élève officier d’active de 1ère année, Manuel de l’élève, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, p. 12; see also Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre III, Tome 2: Instruction de l’élève officier d’active de 2ème année, Manuel de l’instructeur, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, p. 13 and Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre IV: Instruction du chef de section et du commandant de compagnie, Manuel de l’élève, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, pp. 13 and 65.
In Book IV (Instruction of heads of division and company commanders), the Teaching Manual provides:
Chapter 2. Combatants and objectives
In order to ensure respect for and protection of the civilian population and civilian objects, military leaders must at all times distinguish between civilian populations and combatants, and between civilian objects and military objectives. 
Côte d’Ivoire, Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre IV: Instruction du chef de section et du commandant de compagnie, Manuel de l’élève, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, p. 17.
Croatia
Croatia’s LOAC Compendium (1991) instructs soldiers:
Always make a difference between:
a) Combatants and civilians
b) Military targets and civilians. 
Croatia, Compendium “Law of Armed Conflicts”, Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Defence, 1991, p. 37.
Djibouti
Djibouti’s Manual on International Humanitarian Law (2004) states that IHL “has several principles [one of which is] … distinction: the obligation to always distinguish between … military objectives and civilian objects”. 
Djibouti, Manuel sur le droit international humanitaire et les droits de l’homme applicables au travail du policier, Ministère de l’Intérieur, Direction Générale de la Police, 2004, p. 11.
France
France’s LOAC Summary Note (1992) provides: “The civilian population and civilian objects must be preserved and distinguished in every circumstance from combatants and military objectives.” 
France, Fiche de Synthèse sur les Règles Applicables dans les Conflits Armés, Note No. 432/DEF/EMA/OL.2/NP, Général de Corps d’Armée Voinot (pour l’Amiral Lanxade, Chef d’Etat-major des Armées), 1992, Part I, Preamble.
France
France’s LOAC Teaching Note (2000) provides: “The actions of both the commander and the combatant must be guided by the respect of the fundamental principles of … distinction between military objectives and civilian objects, regarding the nature of the target.” 
France, Fiche didactique relative au droit des conflits armés, Directive of the Ministry of Defence, 4 January 2000, annexed to the Directive No. 147 of the Ministry of Defence of 4 January 2000, p. 2.
France
France’s LOAC Manual (2001) provides:
The principle of discrimination, also known as the principle of precaution, requires belligerents to distinguish military objectives that may be attacked, from civilian objects and populations that must not be the object of any wilful voluntary attack. 
France, Manuel de droit des conflits armés, Ministère de la Défense, Direction des Affaires Juridiques, Sous-Direction du droit international humanitaire et du droit européen, Bureau du droit des conflits armés, 2001, p. 13.
Germany
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.” 
Germany, Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflicts – Manual, DSK VV207320067, edited by The Federal Ministry of Defence of the Federal Republic of Germany, VR II 3, August 1992, English translation of ZDv 15/2, Humanitäres Völkerrecht in bewaffneten KonfliktenHandbuch, August 1992, § 401; see also § 454.
Guinea
Guinea’s Soldier’s Manual (2010), under the heading “Principles of the law of war”, states:
The law of [w]ar rests on three fundamental principles:
1. Principle of distinction
Principle of distinction defines:
- … what can be attacked;
- … what cannot be attacked.
NB: For a soldier, the principle of distinction is the most important one. 
Guinea, Soldier’s Manual, Ministry of National Defence, 2010, p. 2.
Hungary
Hungary’s Military Manual (1992) instructs soldiers to always make a distinction between military objectives and civilian objects. 
Hungary, A Hadijog, Jegyzet a Katonai, Föiskolák Hallgatói Részére, Magyar Honvédség Szolnoki Repülötiszti Föiskola, 1992, p. 60.
Indonesia
Indonesia’s Military Manual (1982) provides: “The targets of every military operation should be distinguished at all times.” 
Indonesia, The Basics of International Humanitarian Law, Legal Division of the Indonesian Armed Forces, 1982, § 91.
Israel
Israel’s Law of War Booklet (1986) requires that a distinction be made between military objectives and civilian objects. 
Israel, Conduct in the Battlefield in Accordance with the Law of War, Israel Defense Forces, 1986, Chapter 1.
Israel
Israel’s Manual on the Laws of War (1998) provides:
The attacking party is bound by duty to distinguish between military objectives and civilian objects, and must take into account the presence of civilian objects when planning an attack.
The laws of war sets down several distinctions mentioned earlier. The most important of them is the distinction between military targets and civilian objects. 
Israel, Laws of War in the Battlefield, Manual, Military Advocate General Headquarters, Military School, 1998, pp. 38 and 42.
Israel
Israel’s Manual on the Rules of Warfare (2006) states: “One of the fundamental features of the rules of war is the distinction between military targets which it is permissible to attack and civilian targets which it is forbidden to attack.” 
Israel, Rules of Warfare on the Battlefield, Military Advocate-General’s Corps Command, IDF School of Military Law, Second Edition, 2006, p. 23.
The manual further states:
It is the duty of the attacker to distinguish between military targets and civilian targets, and the attacker should take into account the presence of civilian targets when planning the attack. No area in which military targets are combined with civilian targets may be considered as merely another target. 
Israel, Rules of Warfare on the Battlefield, Military Advocate-General’s Corps Command, IDF School of Military Law, Second Edition, 2006, p. 27.
The Manual on the Rules of Warfare (2006) is a second edition of the Manual on the Laws of War (1998).
Netherlands
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands provides: “The parties to the conflict must at all times make a distinction between the civilian population and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives.” 
Netherlands, Toepassing Humanitair Oorlogsrecht, Voorschift No. 27-412/1, Koninklijke Landmacht, Ministerie van Defensie, 1993, p. V-1, § 2.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands lists “distinction between civilian and military” as one of five “generally accepted principles of the humanitarian law of war”. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, §§ 0221 and 0223; see also § 1028.
The manual further states that “military action must take account of the distinction between combatants and military aims on the one hand, and civilians and civilian property on the other”. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0225.
In its chapter on methods and means of warfare, the manual states: “The parties to a conflict should … always discriminate between the civilian population and civilian property on the one hand, and combatants and military targets on the other.” 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0403.
In its chapter on behaviour in battle, the manual provides: “The parties to a conflict should always distinguish between the civilian population and combatants, and between civilian objects and military targets.” 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0504.
In its chapter on non-international armed conflict, the manual states: “A distinction should also be made between military objectives and civilian objects.” 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 1029.
In its chapter on peace operations, the manual states: “Central to the humanitarian law of war is the distinction that must be drawn between civilian objects and military objectives.” 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 1222.
New Zealand
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, Interim Law of Armed Conflict Manual, DM 112, New Zealand Defence Force, Headquarters, Directorate of Legal Services, Wellington, November 1992, § 205.
Nigeria
Nigeria’s Military Manual (1994) provides: “For both the conduct of operations and behaviour in action, the main aim for all commanders and individual combatants is to distinguish combatants and military objectives from civilian persons and objects at all times.” 
Nigeria, International Humanitarian Law (IHL), Directorate of Legal Services, Nigerian Army, 1994, p. 41, § 9.
Peru
Peru’s IHL Manual (2004) states: “A distinction must be made at all times between … military objectives and civilian property.” 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial Nº 1394-2004-DE/CCFFAA/CDIH-FFAA, Lima, 1 December 2004, § 27.a.(2).(b); see also § 111.b.
The manual further states:
Commanders must take all necessary measures and ensure that their subordinates distinguish between … objects that are considered military objectives and those that are not, both in the conduct of operations and in their behaviour during engagements. 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial Nº 1394-2004-DE/CCFFAA/CDIH-FFAA, Lima, 1 December 2004, § 24.c.(1).
Peru
Peru’s IHL and Human Rights Manual (2010) states: “A distinction must be made at all times between … military objectives and civilian objects.” 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario y Derechos Humanos para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial No. 049-2010/DE/VPD, Lima, 21 May 2010, § 28(a)(2)(b), p. 237; see also § 19, p. 224, and § 61, p. 264.
The manual also states: “The general principles on the means of combat and their utilization are based on the fundamental distinction between … military objectives on the one hand and … civilian objects on the other.” 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario y Derechos Humanos para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial No. 049-2010/DE/VPD, Lima, 21 May 2010, § 1, p. 360.
The manual further states: “Commanders must take all necessary measures and ensure that their subordinates distinguish between … military objectives and objects that are not military objectives, both in the conduct of operations and in their behaviour during engagements.” 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario y Derechos Humanos para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial No. 049-2010/DE/VPD, Lima, 21 May 2010, § 25(c)(1), p. 228.
Philippines
The Philippine Army Soldier’s Handbook on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (2006) provides:
During an engagement:
1. Know how to distinguish a civilian object from a military objective. There are references that deal with the International Humanitarian Law and the Law Governing Armed Conflicts. Yet the best tool in distinguishing a civilian object from a military objective is your common sense, good judgment and conscience. 
Philippines, Philippine Army Soldier’s Handbook on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, A Practical Guide for Internal Security Operations, 2006, p. 59, § 1.
Russian Federation
The Russian Federation’s Regulations on the Application of IHL (2001) states:
While getting military units ready for combat operations and controlling them during hostilities commanders shall be guided by the principles of international humanitarian law: the principles of legality, distinction, proportionality, humanity and military necessity.
The principle of distinction means making distinction, under any circumstances, between the civilian population and servicemen, as well as between civilian objects and military objectives, which helps ensure protection of civilian persons and objects during combat operations and concentrate the force’s effort against the enemy military objectives. 
Russian Federation, Regulations on the Application of International Humanitarian Law by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, Moscow, 8 August 2001, § 17.
Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone’s Instructor Manual (2007) states:
The aim of the instruction of law of war within the armed forces is to ensure that, in fulfilling their mission, each and every member of them respects the fundamental rules of the law, which is based on the distinction that must be made at all times between military objectives and civilian persons and objects, and protects all civilians and persons not or no longer involved in combat actions, irrespective of the situation, place, time or any other circumstances. 
Sierra Leone, The Law of Armed Conflict. Instructor Manual for the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF), Armed Forces Education Centre, September 2007, p. 10; see also pp. 18-19 and 35.
The manual further states: “In every military operation a distinction must be made … between military objectives and civilian goods”. 
Sierra Leone, The Law of Armed Conflict. Instructor Manual for the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF), Armed Forces Education Centre, September 2007, pp. 18–19; see also p. 35.
(emphasis in original)
South Africa
South Africa’s LOAC Teaching Manual (2008) states:
Fundamental Norms and Values (rules)
The fundamental norms/val[u]es which underlie the LOAC [law of armed conflict] are:
- Parties to a conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants in order to spare civilian population and property. … Attacks must be directed solely against military objectives.
- Distinction. This principle entails that, during any conflict situation, one should always distinguish between military and civilian personnel and/or objects, and also between what is permitted and what is prohibited wrt [with regard to] weapons and actions. 
South Africa, Advanced Law of Armed Conflict Teaching Manual, School of Military Justice, 1 April 2008, as amended to 25 October 2013, Learning Unit 1, pp. 16–17 and 46.
The manual also states:
Basic Categories: Objects
A distinction is made between military objectives and civilian objects ([1977]Additional Protocol I article 52). Civilian objects are protected and only military objectives may be made the object of an attack. 
South Africa, Advanced Law of Armed Conflict Teaching Manual, School of Military Justice, 1 April 2008, as amended to 25 October 2013, Learning Unit 2, p. 53.
The manual further states:
Targeting Considerations
General
The principles of military necessity, distinction, proportionality and (the prevention of) unnecessary suffering form the basis for all targeting considerations undertaken in the absence of specific guidelines set forth under international and domestic law.
How to Determine Proper Targets
Targeting involves the careful application of the aforementioned principles, as well as an appreciation of what constitutes a valid military objective. 
South Africa, Advanced Law of Armed Conflict Teaching Manual, School of Military Justice, 1 April 2008, as amended to 25 October 2013, Learning Unit 3, p. 181.
The manual also states:
Commanders have a specific responsibility to take the necessary precautions in attacks in order to avoid or minimise loss of civilian life or damage to civilian property collateral to attacks on military objectives. (Articles 48 and 49 of Additional Protocol I.) These responsibilities are:
- To verify that the object of attack is a military objective, ie at all times to distinguish between the civilian population and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives and to direct operations accordingly. 
South Africa, Advanced Law of Armed Conflict Teaching Manual, School of Military Justice, 1 April 2008, as amended to 25 October 2013, Learning Unit 5, p. 241; see also pp. 244 and 246.
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) provides: “A fundamental element to be considered at all levels of planning, conduct and execution is the distinction between military objectives and non-military objectives.” 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Publicación OR7-004, 2 Tomos, aprobado por el Estado Mayor del Ejército, Division de Operaciones, 18 March 1996, Vol. I, § 4.1.
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states that “a fundamental principle that must be taken into account at all levels of the planning, command and execution of military operations is the need to distinguish between military objectives and … civilian objects”. 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Tomo 1, Publicación OR7–004, (Edición Segunda), Mando de Adiestramiento y Doctrina, Dirección de Doctrina, Orgánica y Materiales, 2 November 2007, § 4.1; see also §§ 1.3.b and 4.2.b.
Sweden
Sweden’s IHL Manual (1991) provides: “The parties shall always distinguish between … civilian property and military objectives.” 
Sweden, International Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflict, with reference to the Swedish Total Defence System, Swedish Ministry of Defence, January 1991, Section 3.2.1.5, p. 41.
The manual considers that the principle of distinction as stated in Article 48 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I is part of customary international law. 
Sweden, International Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflict, with reference to the Swedish Total Defence System, Swedish Ministry of Defence, January 1991, Section 2.2.3, p. 19.
Switzerland
Switzerland’s Basic Military Manual (1987) provides: “To guarantee the protection of the civilian population and the maintenance of civilian objects, the parties to the conflict shall always distinguish between … civilian objects and military objectives.” 
Switzerland, Lois et coutumes de la guerre (Extrait et commentaire), Règlement 51.7/II f, Armée Suisse, 1987, Article 25(1).
Switzerland
Switzerland’s Regulation on Legal Bases for Conduct during an Engagement (2005) states:
12 The four basic principles of the international law of armed conflict
158 …
- the principle of distinction;
12.1 The principle of distinction
159 Hostilities must be directed exclusively against combatants and military objectives. Respect for this rule is only possible if combatants and military objectives can be distinguished from protected persons and objects. 
Switzerland, Bases légales du comportement à l’engagement (BCE), Règlement 51.007/IVf, Swiss Army, issued based on Article 10 of the Ordinance for the Organization of the Federal Department for Defence, Civil Protection and Sports of 7 March 2003, entry into force on 1 July 2005, §§ 158–159. In the second sentence of § 159, the German language version notes: “Respect for this rule is only possible if combatants and military objectives can be distinguished or, respectively, are locally separated [“unterscheidbar bzw. örtlich getrennt”] from protected persons and objects.”
Togo
Togo’s Military Manual (1996) provides: “A distinction shall always be made between … military objectives and civilian objects.” 
Togo, Le Droit de la Guerre, III fascicules, Etat-major Général des Forces Armées Togolaises, Ministère de la Défense nationale, 1996, Fascicule III, p. 11.
Ukraine
Ukraine’s IHL Manual (2004) states:
Principle of distinction means that during preparation for and conduct of combat a clear distinction must be made between civilians and combatants [and] between civilian objects and military objectives with a view to ensuring protection of the civilian population and civilian objects from the consequences of hostilities and to concentrating the actions of forces exclusively against the enemy’s military objects. 
Ukraine, Manual on the Application of IHL Rules, Ministry of Defence, 11 September 2004, § 2.1.7.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states: “Parties to the conflict shall at all times distinguish between civilians or other protected persons and combatants and between civilian or exempt objects and military objectives.” 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 12.19; see also § 13.25 (maritime warfare).
With regard to internal armed conflict, the manual states:
15.9. Attacks are to be directed only against objects or areas which, at the time the attack is launched, are of tactical or strategic military importance.
15.9.1. There is no definition of military objectives or attacks in the treaty law dealing with non-international armed conflicts. Nevertheless, the definitions used in respect of international armed conflicts should be treated as applicable. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, §§ 15.9.– 15.9.1.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Manual (2004), as amended in 2010, states:
Since military operations are to be conducted only against the enemy’s armed forces and military objectives, there must be a clear distinction … between objects that might legitimately be attacked and those that are protected from attack. The principle of distinction … separates legitimate targets, namely military objectives, from civilian objects. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, as amended by Amendment 3, Ministry of Defence, September 2010, §§ 2.5–2.5.1.
15.9. Attacks are to be directed only against objects or areas which, at the time the attack is launched, are of tactical or strategic military importance so as to amount to military objectives. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Joint Services Publication 383, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, as amended by Amendment 7, Ministry of Defence, May 2013, § 15.9.
United States of America
The US Air Force Pamphlet (1976) provides: “The requirement to distinguish between combatants and civilians, and between military objectives and civilian objects, imposes obligations on all the parties to the conflict to establish and maintain the distinctions.” 
United States, Air Force Pamphlet 110-31, International Law – The Conduct of Armed Conflict and Air Operations, US Department of the Air Force, 1976, § 5-3(b).
United States of America
The US Naval Handbook (2007) states: “The principle of distinction is concerned with distinguishing … military objects from civilian objects so as to minimize damage to … civilian objects.” 
United States, The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations, NWP 1-14M/MCWP 5-12.1/COMDTPUB P5800.7, issued by the Department of the Navy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and Headquarters, US Marine Corps, and Department of Homeland Security, US Coast Guard, July 2007, § 5.3.2.
Denmark
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (1973), as amended in 1978, provides:
Any person who uses war instruments or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or the general rules of international law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. a fine, lenient imprisonment or up to 12 years’ imprisonment]. 
Denmark, Military Criminal Code, 1973, as amended in 1978, § 25(1).
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (2005) provides:
Any person who deliberately uses war means [“krigsmiddel”] or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or international customary law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. imprisonment up to life imprisonment]. 
Denmark, Military Criminal Code, 2005, § 36(2).
India
The Report on the Practice of India states that India’s laws and regulations applicable to internal conflicts do not explicitly mention the distinction between civilian objects and military objectives. The report indicates, however, that domestic legislation concerning terrorist activities confer certain powers on armed forces as well as police personnel which enable them to destroy arms dumps, prepared or fortified positions or shelters from which attacks are made, as well as structures used as training camps for armed volunteers or utilized as hide-outs by armed gangs or absconders, etc. 
Report on the Practice of India, 1997, Chapter 1.3, referring to Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, Armed Forces (Punjab and Chandigarh) Special Powers Act, 1983, Section 4(b), Punjab Disturbed Areas Act, 1983, Section 5 and Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990.
Ireland
Under Ireland’s Geneva Conventions Act (1962), as amended in 1998, any “minor breach” of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, including violations of Article 48, is a punishable offence. 
Ireland, Geneva Conventions Act, 1962, as amended in 1998, Section 4(1) and (4).
Norway
Norway’s Military Penal Code (1902), as amended in 1981, provides:
Anyone who contravenes or is accessory to the contravention of provisions relating to the protection of persons or property laid down in … the two additional protocols to [the 1949 Geneva] Conventions … is liable to imprisonment. 
Norway, Military Penal Code, 1902, as amended in 1981, § 108(b).
Peru
Peru’s Decree on the Use of Force by the Armed Forces (2010) states: “A distinction must be made between military objectives and objects which are not military objectives.” 
Peru, Decree on the Use of Force by the Armed Forces, 2010, Article 7(b).
Spain
Spain’s Royal Ordinances for the Armed Forces (2009) states: “In the conduct of any operation, [members of the armed forces] must take into account the principle of distinction … between civilian objects and military objectives in order to protect the civilian population.” 
Spain, Royal Ordinances for the Armed Forces, 2009, Article 111.
Colombia
In 2006, in the Constitutional Case No. T-165/06, the First Appeals Chamber of Colombia’s Constitutional Court stated:
[W]ith regard to the conduct of hostilities, it is important to note that IHL is ruled by fundamental principles, such as the principles of distinction, limitation and proportionality. Indeed, … the principle of distinction imposes on weapon bearers the obligation to distinguish in their military actions … between military objectives and civilian objects. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. T-165/06, Judgment of 7 March 2006, pp. 7–8.
Colombia
In 2007, in the Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, the Plenary Chamber of Colombia’s Constitutional Court stated:
[T]he essential principles of international humanitarian law have acquired ius cogens status, based on the fact that the international community as a whole has recognised their peremptory and imperative nature … Among the essential principles of international humanitarian law with ius cogens status applicable in internal armed conflicts … [is] … the principle of distinction. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, Judgment of 25 April 2007, p. 76.
The Court further held:
The principle of distinction, one of the cornerstones of international humanitarian law, flows directly from the obligation to protect the civilian population from the effects of war as in times of armed conflict it is only acceptable to weaken the enemy’s military potential. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, Judgment of 25 April 2007, p. 76.
(footnote in original omitted)
The Court also held:
The general duty to distinguish between civilians and combatants is an essential duty binding the parties to any non-international armed conflict to differentiate at all times between civilians and combatants in order to protect civilians and their property. Indeed, parties to a conflict are bound to make every effort to distinguish between military objectives and … civilian property. This rule is found in international treaties applicable in internal armed conflicts and is binding on Colombia. It forms part of customary international humanitarian law and has attained ius cogens status. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, Judgment of 25 April 2007, p. 78.
[footnote in original omitted]
The Court further held that a “specific sub-rule of the principle of distinction is the obligation binding parties to a conflict to take every feasible step to distinguish between military objectives and civilian objects”. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, Judgment of 25 April 2007, p. 94.
(footnote in original omitted)
Israel
In its judgment in the Public Committee against Torture in Israel case in 2006, Israel’s High Court of Justice stated:
Opposite the combatants and military objectives stand the civilians and civilian objectives. Military attack directed at them is forbidden. Their lives and bodies are protected from the dangers of combat, provided that they themselves do not take a direct part in the combat. That customary principle is worded as follows:
“Rule 1: The parties to the conflict must at all times distinguish between civilians and combatants. Attacks may only be directed against combatants. Attacks must not be directed against civilians.
Rule 6: Civilians are protected against attack unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities.
Rule 7: The parties to the conflict must at all times distinguish between civilian objects and military objectives. Attacks may only be directed against military objectives. Attacks must not be directed against civilian objects.” (J.M. HENCKAERTS & L. DOSWALD-BECK, CUSTOMARY INTERNATIONAL LAW pp. 3, 19, 25 (Vol. 1, 2005), hereinafter HENCKAERTS & DOSWALD-BECK).
This approach – which protects the lives, bodies, and property of civilians who are not taking a direct part in the armed conflict – passes like a thread throughout the caselaw of the Supreme Court. 
Israel, High Court of Justice, Public Committee against Torture in Israel case, Judgment, 14 December 2006, § 23.
Israel
In its judgment in Physicians for Human Rights v. Prime Minister of Israel in 2009, concerning the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip consequent to the start of Israeli military operations (“Cast Lead”) there in December 2008, Israel’s High Court of Justice stated: “One of the fundamental principles of international humanitarian law is the principle that distinguishes combatants and military targets from civilians and civilian targets, and grants protection to the latter.” 
Israel, High Court of Justice, Physicians for Human Rights v. Prime Minister of Israel, Judgment, 19 January 2009, § 21.
South Africa
In 1987, in the Petane case, the Cape Provincial Division of South Africa’s Supreme Court dismissed the accused’s claim that the 1977 Additional Protocol I reflected customary international law. The Court stated:
The accused has been indicted before this Court on three counts of terrorism, that is to say, contraventions of s 54(1) of the Internal Security Act 74 of 1982. He has also been indicted on three counts of attempted murder.
The accused’s position is stated to be that this Court has no jurisdiction to try him.
… The point in its early formulation was this. By the terms of [the 1977 Additional] Protocol I to the [1949] Geneva Conventions the accused was entitled to be treated as a prisoner-of-war. A prisoner-of-war is entitled to have notice of an impending prosecution for an alleged offence given to the so-called “protecting power” appointed to watch over prisoners-of-war. Since, if such a notice were necessary, the trial could not proceed without it, Mr Donen suggested that the necessity or otherwise for giving such a notice should be determined before evidence was led. …
On 12 August 1949 there were concluded at Geneva in Switzerland four treaties known as the Geneva Conventions. …
South Africa was among the nations which concluded the treaties. … Except for the common art 3, which binds parties to observe a limited number of fundamental humanitarian principles in armed conflicts not of an international character, they apply to wars between States.
After the Second World War many conflicts arose which could not be characterised as international. It was therefore considered desirable by some States to extend and augment the provisions of the Geneva Conventions, so as to afford protection to victims of and combatants in conflicts which fell outside the ambit of these Conventions. The result of these endeavours was Protocol I and Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions, both of which came into force on 7 December 1978.
Protocol II relates to the protection of victims of non-international armed conflicts. Since the State of affairs which exists in South Africa has by Protocol I been characterised as an international armed conflict, Protocol II does not concern me at all.
The extension of the scope of art 2 of the Geneva Conventions was, at the time of its adoption, controversial. …
The article has remained controversial. More debate has raged about its field of operation than about any other articles in Protocol I. …
South Africa is one of the countries which has not acceded to Protocol I. Nevertheless, I am asked to decide, as I indicated earlier, as a preliminary point, whether Protocol I has become part of customary international law. If so, it is argued that it would have been incorporated into South African law. If it has been so incorporated it would have to be proved by one or other of the parties that the turmoil which existed at the time when the accused is alleged to have committed his offences was such that it could properly be described as an “armed conflict” conducted by “peoples” against a “ra[c]ist regime” in the exercise of their “right of self-determination”. Once all this has been shown it would have to be demonstrated to the Court that the accused conducted himself in such a manner as to become entitled to the benefits conferred by Protocol I on combatants, for example that, broadly speaking, he had, while he was launching an attack, distinguished himself from civilians and had not attacked civilian targets. …
… I am prepared to accept that where a rule of customary international law is recognised as such by international law it will be so recognised by our law.
To my way of thinking, the trouble with the first Protocol giving rise to State practice is that its terms have not been capable of being observed by all that many States. At the end of 1977 when the treaty first lay open for ratification there were few States which were involved in colonial domination or the occupation of other States and there were only two, South Africa and Israel, which were considered to fall within the third category of ra[c]ist regimes. Accordingly, the situation sought to be regulated by the first Protocol was one faced by few countries; too few countries in my view, to permit any general usage in dealing with armed conflicts of the kind envisaged by the Protocol to develop.
Mr Donen contended that the provisions of multilateral treaties can become customary international law under certain circumstances. I accept that this is so. There seems in principle to be no reason why treaty rules cannot acquire wider application than among the parties to the treaty.
Brownlie Principles of International Law 3rd ed at 13 agrees that non-parties to a treaty may by their conduct accept the provisions of a multilateral convention as representing general international law. …
I incline to the view that non-ratification of a treaty is strong evidence of non-acceptance.
It is interesting to note that the first Protocol makes extensive provision for the protection of civilians in armed conflict. It enunciates as a basic rule in art 48:
“In order to ensure respect for, and protection of, the civilian population and civilian objects, the parties to the conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants and between civilian objectives and military objectives and accordingly shall direct their operations only against military objectives.”
The civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians, shall not be the object of attack. That is provided by art 51(2). Moreover, acts or threats of violence, the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population, are prohibited. Indiscriminate attacks, also, are prohibited. They are defined as attacks which, inter alia, are not directed at a specific military objective, or which employ a method or means of combat which cannot be directed at a specific military objective. Article 52 then provides that civilian objects shall not be the object of attack or of reprisals. The Protocol explains in subart (2) of art 52 what are to be regarded as military objectives:
“Military objectives are limited to those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action, and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralisation, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage.”
In this sense, Protocol I may be described as an enlightened humanitarian document. If the strife in South Africa should deteriorate into an armed conflict we may all one day find it a cause for regret that the ideologically provocative tone of s 1(4) has made it impossible for the Government to accept its terms.
To my mind it can hardly be said that Protocol I has been greeted with acclaim by the States of the world. Their lack of enthusiasm must be due to the bizarre mixture of political and humanitarian objects sought to be realised by the Protocol. …
According to the International Review of the Red Cross (January/February 1987) No 256, as at December 1986, 66 States were parties to Protocol I and 60 to Protocol II, which, it will be remembered, deals with internal non-international armed conflicts. With the exception of France, which acceded only to Protocol II, not one of the world’s major powers has acceded to or ratified either of the Protocols. This position should be compared to the 165 States which are parties to the Geneva Conventions.
This approach of the world community to Protocol I is, on principle, far too half-hearted to justify an inference that its principles have been so widely accepted as to qualify them as rules of customary international law. The reasons for this are, I imagine, not far to seek. For those States which are contending with “peoples[’]” struggles for self-determination, adoption of the Protocol may prove awkward. For liberation movements who rely on strategies of urban terror for achieving their aims the terms of the Protocol, with its emphasis on the protection of civilians, may prove disastrously restrictive. I therefore do not find it altogether surprising that Mr Donen was unable to refer me to any statement in the published literature that Protocol I has attained the status o[f] customary international [law].
I have not been persuaded by the arguments which I have heard on behalf of the accused that the assessment of Professor Dugard, writing in the Annual Survey of South African Law (1983) at 66, that “it is argued with growing conviction that under contemporary international law members of SWAPO [South-West Africa People’s Organisation] and the ANC [African National Congress] are members of liberation movements entitled to prisoner-of-war status, in terms of a new customary rule spawned by the 1977 Protocols”, is correct. On what I have heard in argument I disagree with his assessment that there is growing support for the view that the Protocols reflect a new rule of customary international law. No writer has been cited who supports this proposition. Here and there someone says that it may one day come about. I am not sure that the provisions relating to the field of application of Protocol I are capable of ever becoming a rule of customary international law, but I need not decide that point today.
For the reasons which I have given I have concluded that the provisions of Protocol I have not been accepted in customary international law. They accordingly form no part of South African law.
This conclusion has made it unnecessary for me to give a decision on the question of whether rules of customary international law which conflict with the statutory or common law of this country will be enforced by its courts.
In the result, the preliminary point is dismissed. The trial must proceed. 
South Africa, Supreme Court, Petane case, Judgment, 3 November 1987, pp. 2–8.
South Africa
In 2010, in the Boeremag case, South Africa’s North Gauteng High Court stated:
SECTION I – GENERAL PROTECTION AGAINST THE EFFECTS OF HOSTILITIES
CHAPTER I – BASIC RULE AND FIELDS OF APPLICATION
Article 48 – Basic rule
In order to ensure respect for and protection of … civilian objects, the Parties to the conflict shall at all times distinguish between … civilian objects and military objectives and accordingly shall direct their operations only against military objectives.
The targets that on each occasion were attacked with home made bombs at midnight were a mosque in Soweto, railway tracks in Soweto resulting in the death of a woman and injuries to her family, the bridge over the Umtamvuna River between the Eastern Cape and Natal and the Lanseria airport. Where the attempts were unsuccessful, and time mechanisms were also set to go off at midnight, targets included a taxi rank in Soweto and a Buddhist Temple in Bronkhorstspruit. However, two workers were injured in Bronkhorstspruit when the bomb was handled and were hospitalised. These targets cannot with the best will in the world be labelled as military targets
… The core remains that only the targeting of military objects is permissible. The targeting of civilian objects is in conflict with the provisions of [the 1977 Additional] Protocol I. 
South Africa, North Gauteng High Court, Boeremag case, Judgment, 26 August 2010, pp. 68 and 70.
On the question of whether the 1977 Additional Protocol I reflected customary international law, the Court held:
In Petane, … Conradie J found that the provisions of [the 1977 Additional] Protocol I are not part of customary international law, and therefore are also not part of South African law.
Referring to the fact that in December 1986 only 66 of the 165 States party to the Geneva Conventions had ratified Protocol I, the Court [in Petane] stated:
This approach of the world community to Protocol I is, on principle, far too half-hearted to justify an inference that its principles have been so widely accepted as to qualify them as rules of customary international law. The reasons for this are, I imagine, not far to seek. For those States which are contending with “peoples[’]” struggles for self-determination, adoption of the Protocol may prove awkward. For liberation movements who rely on strategies of urban terror for achieving their aims the terms of the Protocol, with its emphasis on the protection of civilians, may prove disastrously restrictive. I therefore do not find it altogether surprising that Mr Donen was unable to refer me to any statement in the published literature that Protocol I has attained the status of customary international law.
Important changes with respect to certain aspects applicable at the time of Petane have taken place. The ANC [African National Congress] has become South Africa’s ruling party and in 1995 ratified Protocol I. The total number of States that have ratified it, is now … 162.
This last aspect forms the basis on which the First Respondent [the State] and the applicants agree that Protocol I forms part of customary international law as well as of South African law. As requested, this position is accepted for the purposes of the decision, without deciding on the matter.
Despite these changes, it remains debatable whether the provisions of Protocol I have become a part of South African law in this way.
The consensus of both parties to the conflict is required. See Petane … and Article 96 of Protocol I. …
Parliament’s failure to incorporate Protocol I into legislation in accordance with Article 231(4) of the Constitution in fact points to the contrary, and is indicative that the requirements of usus and/or opinio juris have not been met. See Petane. 
South Africa, North Gauteng High Court, Boeremag case, Judgment, 26 August 2010, pp. 21–22.
[footnotes in original omitted]
The Court also held:
If the [1977 Additional Protocol I] applies in South Africa as customary international law, the two requirements that form the basis of customary law must be met. It is arguable that the requirement of usus has been met by the vast number of States that have acceded or ratified it. By ratifying Protocol I the Republic of South Africa has indicated its intention to apply the Protocol, thereby fulfilling the requirement of opinio juris. 
South Africa, North Gauteng High Court, Boeremag case, Judgment, 26 August 2010, p. 66.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Report on the Practice of Bosnia and Herzegovina provides several examples of alleged respect for and violations of the distinction between civilian and military targets. 
Report on the Practice of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2000, Chapter 1.3.
Botswana
The Report on the Practice of Botswana asserts that the Government of Botswana endorses the principle of distinction as found in Article 48 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
Report on the Practice of Botswana, 1998, Answers to additional questions on Chapter 1.3.
Denmark
In 2008, in a joint cost benefit analysis of a possible introduction of a national moratorium on all cluster munitions, Denmark’s Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated:
[The] provisions, which are outlined below, are generally recognized as being an expression of customary international law. …
The purpose of international humanitarian law is to protect the victims of war as much as possible. The central provision in this regard is API [1977 Additional Protocol] Article 48, which states that: “Parties to the conflict shall at all times distinguish between […] civilian objects and military objectives …”. 
Denmark, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, A Cost Benefit Analysis of a Possible Introduction of a National Danish Moratorium on All Cluster Munitions, 1 April 2008, p. 15.
Djibouti
In 2010, in the History and Geography Textbook for 8th Grade, Djibouti’s Ministry of National Education and Higher Education stated: “The [Additional] Protocols of 1977 have reaffirmed and spelled out in detail … [the principle] of distinction: ‘(…) [P]arties to the conflict shall at all times distinguish … between civilian objects and military objectives … (art. 48, Protocol I; see also art. 13, Protocol II).ˮ 
Djibouti, Ministry of National Education and Higher Education, History and Geography Textbook for 8th Grade, 2010, p. 188.
The ministry also stated: “When parties to the armed conflict plan or launch an attack, they have to distinguish … between civilian objects and military objectives. – According to article 48 of [1977] Additional Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions.ˮ 
Djibouti, Ministry of National Education and Higher Education, History and Geography Textbook for 8th Grade, 2010, p. 203.
Egypt
In its written statement submitted to the ICJ in the Nuclear Weapons case in 1995, Egypt invoked the requirement to “distinguish between … civilian objects and military objectives”. 
Egypt, Written statement submitted to the ICJ, Nuclear Weapons case, 20 June 1995, § 17.
Egypt
The Report on the Practice of Egypt states that Egypt recognizes the obligation to distinguish between civilian objects and military objectives. It further notes that the principle of distinction between civilian objects and military objectives is said to be well established in Egypt’s practice and opinio juris and is thus considered to be a customary rule of IHL. 
Report on the Practice of Egypt, 1997, Chapter 1.3.
France
The instructions given to the French armed forces for the conduct of Opération Mistral (1995), simulating a military operation under the right of self-defence or a mandate of the UN Security Council, state: “All parties must at all times make a distinction between the civilian population and military objectives in order to spare the civilian population.” 
France, Etat-major de la Force d’Action Rapide, Ordres pour l’Opération Mistral, 1995, Section 6, § 66.
France
In 2008, the Minister of Defence of France stated:
[France] is a party to the 1977 Additional Protocol I to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, which defines the major fundamental principles of protection of the civilian population against the effects of hostilities, in particular the prohibition of superfluous injury and the principle of discrimination … France considers this document to be a fundamental pillar of international humanitarian law and wishes it to become universal as soon as possible, in order to allow for the requirements of humanity during armed conflicts to be better respected. 
France, Response from the Minister of Defence to parliamentary written question No. 20626, Journal officiel de la République française, 6 May 2008, p. 3812.
France
In 2009, the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of France stated:
[O]ne of the essential principles of international humanitarian law is that a distinction must be made at all times and in all circumstances between … military targets and civilian targets, the latter to be protected. There are few conflicts in which that principle is fully respected. 
France, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, “The Savaging of Humanitarian Law”, New York Times, 28 January 2009, p. 1.
Germany
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. 
Germany, Lower House of Parliament, Statement by Dr Mertes, Minister of State, 14 October 1983, Plenarprotokoll 10/29, p. 1927.
Germany
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. 
Germany, Lower House of Parliament, Explanatory memorandum on the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions, BT-Drucksache 11/6770, 22 March 1990, p. 111.
India
The Report on the Practice of India states: “When [the armed forces] are called upon to deal with an internal conflict, they are bound to follow the principles regarding distinction between military objects and civilian objects so as to avoid indiscriminate attacks.” 
Report on the Practice of India, 1997, Chapter 1.4.
Indonesia
The Report on the Practice of Indonesia states: “According to the practices of the Indonesian armed forces, the distinction between civilian and military objects is compatible with the provisions stipulated in Article 52 of Protocol I.” 
Report on the Practice of Indonesia, 1997, Chapter 1.3.
Islamic Republic of Iran
In its written statement submitted to the ICJ in the Nuclear Weapons case in 1995, the Islamic Republic of Iran stated: “Some of the principles of humanitarian international law from which one can deduce the illegitimacy of the use of nuclear weapons are: … Distinguishing between military and civilian targets.” 
Islamic Republic of Iran, Written statement submitted to the ICJ, Nuclear Weapons case, 19 June 1995, p. 2; see also Written statement submitted to the ICJ, Nuclear Weapons (WHO) case, undated, p. 1.
Islamic Republic of Iran
The Report on the Practice of the Islamic Republic of Iran states: “The opinio juris of Iran recognises the distinction between military objectives and civilian objects.” 
Report on the Practice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1997, Chapter 1.3.
Israel
In 2008, in a background paper on Israel’s operations in Gaza, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated: “As regards the selection of targets, IDF [Israel Defence Forces] practice requires that a distinction be made between military objectives and civilian objects.” 
Israel, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Background paper, Responding to Hamas Attacks from Gaza: Issues of Proportionality, December 2008, § 4.
Israel
In 2009, in a report on Israeli operations in Gaza between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009 (the “Gaza Operation”, also known as “Operation Cast Lead”), Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated:
The first core principle of the Law of Armed Conflict, as reflected both in treaty law and in customary international law, is that “the Parties to the conflict shall at all times distinguish between … civilian objects and military objectives and accordingly shall direct their operations only against military objectives.” The principle imposes obligations on both parties to an armed conflict. 
Israel, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Operation in Gaza 27 December 2008–18 January 2009: Factual and Legal Aspects, 29 July 2009, § 94.
In a footnote to paragraph 94, above, it further stated that this principle is contained in:
[1977] Additional Protocol I, art. 48. Although the State of Israel is not a party to the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions, it accepts that this provision, as with certain others addressing the principles of distinction and proportionality, accurately reflects customary international law. See Public Committee against Torture in Israel v. Government of Israel, HCJ 769/02 at § 20 (11 December 2005).
The report also stated:
[A] commander’s intent is critical in reviewing the principle of distinction during armed conflict. Where it is believed in good faith, on the basis of the best available intelligence, that a civilian building has been misused as a sanctuary for military fighters, military intelligence, or the storage and manufacture of military assets, the commander has a legitimate basis for using force against the site. This is so even where judgment is based on limited information in a fluid battlefield situation. 
Israel, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Operation in Gaza 27 December 2008–18 January 2009: Factual and Legal Aspects, 29 July 2009, § 110.
[emphasis in original]
The report further stated: “The principle of distinction imposes obligations on the conduct of all parties, including those controlling the territory where the hostilities take place.” 
Israel, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Operation in Gaza 27 December 2008–18 January 2009: Factual and Legal Aspects, 29 July 2009, § 116.
Japan
In its oral pleadings before the ICJ in the Nuclear Weapons case in 1995, Japan stated: “With their colossal power and capacity for slaughter and destruction, nuclear weapons make no distinction … between military installations and civilian communities”. 
Japan, Oral pleadings before the ICJ, Nuclear Weapons case, 7 November 1995, Verbatim Record CR 95/27, p. 36.
Kuwait
The Report on the Practice of Kuwait asserts that the Iraqi army did not respect the principle of distinction between civilian objects and military targets during its withdrawal from Kuwait. 
Report on the Practice of Kuwait, 1997, Chapter 1.3.
Malaysia
In 2010, during the consideration of the Status of the 1977 Additional Protocols by the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly, a statement of the delegation of Malaysia was summarized by the Committee in its records as follows:
8. [The delegate of Malaysia] said that …
10. … [t]he laws of naval warfare incorporated the fundamental principles of international humanitarian law, including necessity and proportionality …
11. [In the case of the attacks by the Israel Defense Forces on the Mavi Marmara and five accompanying vessels in May 2010] … [n]aval forces were … under an obligation to distinguish … between civilian and military objectives. 
Malaysia, Statement by the delegation of Malaysia before the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly on the Status of the Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and relating to the protection of victims of armed conflict, 18 October 2010, as published in the summary record of the 13th meeting, 8 December 2010, UN Doc. A/C.6/65/SR.13, §§ 8, 10 and 11.
Nigeria
According to the Report on the Practice of Nigeria, it is Nigeria’s opinio juris that the distinction between civilian objects and military objectives is part of customary international law. 
Report on the Practice of Nigeria, 1997, Chapter 1.3.
Norway
In 2009, in a statement at the Second Review Conference of the Ottawa Convention on Anti-Personnel Mines, Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs stated: “The principle of distinction is a cornerstone of all international humanitarian law instruments.” 
Norway, Statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs at the Second Review Conference of the Ottawa Convention on Anti-Personnel Mines, Cartagena, Colombia, 3 December 2009.
Pakistan
The Report on the Practice of Pakistan states that the distinction between civilian objects and military objectives seems to be well respected in Pakistan. 
Report on the Practice of Pakistan, 1998, Chapter 1.3.
Republic of Korea
According to the Report on the Practice of the Republic of Korea, it is the Republic of Korea’s opinio juris that the distinction between civilian objects and military objectives is part of customary international law. 
Report on the Practice of the Republic of Korea, 1997, Chapter 1.3.
Somalia
In 2011, in its comments on the concluding observations of the Human Rights Council concerning Somalia’s report, Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government stated: “The Government is committed to … taking all necessary measures to … ensure compliance with IHL including the core principles of distinction … between military objectives and civilian objects”. 
Somalia, Comments by the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia on the concluding observations of the Human Rights Council concerning the report of Somalia, submitted 21 September 2011, § 98.73.
Spain
The Report on the Practice of Spain considers that the principle of distinction between military and non-military objectives is a fundamental principle which should be taken into consideration when planning, directing and executing a military attack. 
Report on the Practice of Spain, 1998, Chapter 1.3.
Spain
In 2010, in its report to the UN General Assembly on the status of the 1977 Additional Protocols, Spain stated:
Article 85 entitled “Principle of Humanity”, contained in Title IV on Operations [of the Royal Ordinances for the Armed Forces (2009)] clearly embodies the spirit of the [1949] Geneva Convention and its [1977] Additional Protocols, as it provides that “[the] … conduct [of members of the armed forces] in any conflict or military operation must conform to the applicable rules of the international treaties on international humanitarian law to which Spain is a party”.
That is further developed in Chapter VI on Ethics in Operations, which goes into specific duties under international humanitarian law … the principle of the distinction … between civilian property and military targets. 
Spain, Report on the Status of the Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and relating to the protection of victims of armed conflict, 5 May 2010, Section 2.
Switzerland
In 2009, in its Strategy on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict 2009–2012, Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs stated: “The fundamental principle of distinction between civilians and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives is often challenged[,] with severe impact for the civilian populations.” 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, Strategy of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs 2009–2012, p. 3.
Switzerland
Switzerland’s ABC of International Humanitarian Law (2009) states:
Civilian objects
International humanitarian law distinguishes between Civilian objects and Military objectives, prohibiting acts of violence against the former. … Civilian objects are all objects which are not military objectives.
Distinction
International humanitarian law protects the civilian population and prohibits attacks against Civilians and Civilian objects. One of its ground rules is the principle of distinction: the parties to a conflict are obliged to conduct military operations exclusively against Military objectives and must therefore always distinguish between Civilians and Combatants as well as between Civilian objects and Military objectives. …
Military objectives
International humanitarian law distinguishes between Civilian objects and military objectives. … Under international humanitarian law military personnel must at all times give full consideration to the nature of a potential target and opt exclusively for those that qualify as genuine military objectives. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, ABC of International Humanitarian Law, 2009, pp. 12, 17 and 30.
Switzerland
In 2012, Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs issued a press release entitled “Appeal by the Swiss authorities for compliance with international humanitarian law in Syria”, which stated:
International humanitarian law is applicable to non-international armed conflict.
4. International humanitarian law is applicable in non-international armed conflicts. All parties to the conflict are therefore obliged to respect its rules in all circumstances, including the rules protecting persons who are [not] or are no [longer] participating in the hostilities, as well as the rules relative to the means and methods of warfare.
Appeal to respect international rules
7. [Switzerland] recalls that in the conduct of military operations, all feasible precautions must be taken with a view to avoid incidental loss of civilian life[,] injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects and collateral damage to civilian property. All parties are subject to the obligation to respect the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, “Appeal by the Swiss authorities for compliance with international humanitarian law in Syria”, Press Release, 15 November 2012.
Switzerland
In 2013, in answer to an interpellation in Parliament regarding the use of drones, Switzerland’s Federal Council stated:
In armed conflicts, strikes carried out with armed drones must respect the rules of the conduct of hostilities as stipulated by international humanitarian law, including the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution, and must therefore not be directed against civilians or civilian objects. For each strike, it is thus necessary to verify that these principles were respected. 
Switzerland, Answer by the Federal Council to interpellation 13.3245 in Parliament regarding the use of drones, 29 May 2013.
Switzerland
In 2013, in a statement at the Meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the permanent representative of Switzerland stated:
The community of States cannot remain indifferent to the human suffering caused by armed conflicts. It was in direct response to this fundamental concern that the CCW [1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons] and its protocols were adopted, with a view to prohibiting or limiting the use of certain specific types of weapons known to inflict superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering, or to strike indiscriminately.
In this regard, Switzerland is deeply concerned by the alleged use of weapons in Syria falling within the ambit of the CCW and its respective protocols, such as the alleged use of anti-personnel mines as well as the alleged use of incendiary weapons in populated areas causing severe human suffering. We call upon all parties to the conflict to comply with their obligations under international law, in particular the principles of distinction, precaution, and proportionality. 
Switzerland, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland at the Meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, 14 November 2013.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In reply to a question in the House of Lords concerning the Gulf War, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State of the Ministry of Defence stated:
The Geneva Conventions contain no provisions expressly regulating targeting in armed conflict. The Hague Regulations of 1907 and customary international law do, however, incorporate the twin principles of distinction between military and civilian objects, and of proportionality so far as the risk of collateral civilian damage from an attack on a military objective is concerned. These principles and associated rules of international law were observed at all times by coalition forces in the planning and execution of attacks against Iraq. 
United Kingdom, House of Lords, Statement by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, 22 July 1991, Hansard, Vol. 531, Written Answers, col. 43.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In its written statement submitted to the ICJ in the Nuclear Weapons case in 1995, the United Kingdom stated: “The parties to an armed conflict are required to discriminate between civilians and civilian objects on the one hand and combatants and military objectives on the other and to direct their attacks only against the latter.” 
United Kingdom, Written statement submitted to the ICJ, Nuclear Weapons case, 16 June 1995, § 3.67.
United States of America
In 1991, in response to an ICRC memorandum on the applicability of IHL in the Gulf region, the US Department of the Army pointed out: “The obligation of distinguishing combatants and military objectives from civilians and civilian objects is a shared responsibility of the attacker, defender, and the civilian population as such.” 
United States, Letter from the Department of the Army to the legal adviser of the US armed forces deployed in the Gulf region, 11 January 1991, § 8(E), Report on US Practice, 1997, Chapter 1.4.
United States of America
In 1992, in its final report to Congress on the conduct of the Gulf War, the US Department of Defense stated that Article 48 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I “is generally regarded as a codification of the customary practice of nations, and therefore binding on all”. 
United States, Department of Defense, Final Report to Congress on the Conduct of the Persian Gulf War, 10 April 1992, Appendix O, The Role of the Law of War, ILM, Vol. 31, 1992, p. 625.
The report also stated: “The law of war with respect to targeting, collateral damage and collateral civilian casualties is derived from the principle of discrimination; that is, the necessity for distinguishing … between legitimate military targets and civilian objects.” 
United States, Department of Defense, Final Report to Congress on the Conduct of the Persian Gulf War, 10 April 1992, Appendix O, The Role of the Law of War, ILM, Vol. 31, 1992, p. 621.
United States of America
In March 2010, in a speech given at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law, the US Department of State’s Legal Adviser stated:
[T]his Administration has carefully reviewed the rules governing targeting operations to ensure that these operations are conducted consistently with law of war principles, including:
- First, the principle of distinction, which requires that attacks be limited to military objectives and that … civilian objects shall not be the object of the attack;
In U.S. operations against al-Qaeda and its associated forces – including lethal operations conducted with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles – great care is taken to adhere to these principles in both planning and execution, to ensure that only legitimate objectives are targeted. 
United States, “The Obama Administration and International Law”, speech by the Legal Adviser, US Department of State at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law, Washington DC, 25 March 2010.
[emphasis in original]
Viet Nam
In 2008, during a debate in the UN Security Council on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, the representative of Viet Nam stated that “parties to armed conflict should comply with the [principle] … of humanitarian law relating to distinction”. 
Viet Nam, Statement before the UN Security Council during a debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, 27 May 2008, p. 14.
Yugoslavia, Federal Republic of
The Report on the Practice of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) states that the “armed conflict in Croatia in which [the] YPA [Yugoslav People’s Army] participated was particularly characterized by the disregard of the obligation to respect the distinction between civilian objects and military objectives”. The report considers, however, that:
In evaluating the official position of [the] FRY, it is important to point out that during October 1991 [the] Chief of General Staff of the YPA issued two orders instructing troops to strictly comply with rules of humanitarian law … The fact that the YPA had sent a commission of inquiry to Dubrovnik to establish the effects of [the] shelling indicates the awareness of the need to respect the distinction between civilian objects and military objectives. Opinio juris existed, however, the relevant rule was not respected in practice. 
Report on the Practice of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, 1997, Chapter 1.3.
Zimbabwe
The Report on the Practice of Zimbabwe refers to the principle of distinction as set forth in Article 52 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I and states that this principle can undoubtedly be regarded as a customary rule of IHL. The report also points out that the distinction between civilian and military objectives is more problematic in non-international armed conflicts, as guerrillas tend to mingle with the civilian population and civilian facilities, rendering the principle difficult to implement. 
Report on the Practice of Zimbabwe, 1998, Chapter 1.3.
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International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
In its judgment in the Blaškić case in 2000, the ICTY Trial Chamber held: “The parties to the conflict are obliged to attempt to distinguish between military targets and civilian … property.” 
ICTY, Blaškić case, Judgment, 3 March 2000, § 180.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
In the Slobodan Milošević case before the ICTY in 2002, the accused, a former president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, was charged, inter alia, with unlawful attacks on civilian objects as a violation of the laws or customs of war “as recognized by Article 52(1) of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and customary law, punishable under Articles 3 and 7(1) and 7(3) of the [1993 ICTY] Statute”. 
ICTY, Slobodan Milošević case, First Amended Indictment (Croatia), 23 October 2002, §§ 77–83, Count 32.
The role alleged to Milošević in a campaign to forcibly remove non-Serb civilians from areas of Croatia formed the context of these charges. 
ICTY, Slobodan Milošević case, First Amended Indictment (Croatia), 23 October 2002, § 6.
Following the death of the accused, proceedings were terminated by the Trial Chamber on 14 March 2006.
Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission
In its Western Front, Aerial Bombardment and Related Claims (Eritrea’s Claim) partial award in 2005, the Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission, in considering the principle of distinction between civilian objects and military objectives, stated:
The provisions of [the 1977 Additional] Geneva Protocol I cited … express customary international humanitarian law. Those provisions … emphasize the importance of distinguishing between … civilian objects and military objectives. 
Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission, Western Front, Aerial Bombardment and Related Claims, Eritrea’s Claim, Partial Award, 19 December 2005, § 95.
(footnote in original omitted)
ICRC
To fulfil its task of disseminating IHL, the ICRC has delegates around the world teaching armed and security forces that there is a duty to distinguish between civilian objects and military objectives. 
Frédéric de Mulinen, Handbook on the Law of War for Armed Forces, ICRC, Geneva, 1987, § 387.
ICRC
In an appeal issued in 1984 in the context of the Iran–Iraq War, the ICRC stated:
In violation of the laws and customs of war, and in particular of the essential principle that military targets must be distinguished from civilian persons and objects, the Iraqi armed forces have continued to bomb Iranian civilian zones. 
ICRC, Press Release No. 1480, Conflict between Iran and Iraq and breaches of international humanitarian law: a renewed ICRC appeal, 15 February 1984, IRRC, No. 239, 1984, pp. 113–115.
ICRC
In a Memorandum on the Applicability of International Humanitarian Law sent in 1990 to all States party to the 1949 Geneva Conventions in the context of the Gulf War, the ICRC stated: “The following general rules are recognized as binding on any party to an armed conflict: … a distinction must be made in all circumstances between combatants and military objectives on the one hand, and civilians and civilian objects on the other.” 
ICRC, Memorandum on the Applicability of International Humanitarian Law, 14 December 1990, § II, IRRC, No. 280, 1991, p. 24.
ICRC
In a communication to the press in 1993, the ICRC reminded the parties to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh of their obligation “to distinguish at all times between combatants and military objectives on the one hand and civilians and civilian property on the other”. 
ICRC, Communication to the Press No. 93/25, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: 60,000 civilians flee fighting in south-western Azerbaijan, 19 August 1993.
ICRC
In a communication to the press in 1993, the ICRC reminded the parties to the conflict in Georgia of their obligation “to distinguish at all times between combatants and military objectives on the one hand and civilians and civilian objects on the other”. 
ICRC, Communication to the Press No. 93/31, Georgia: ICRC Activities in Abkhazia, 20 September 1993.
ICRC
In 1994, in a Memorandum on Respect for International Humanitarian Law in Angola, the ICRC stated that “a clear distinction must be made in all circumstances between civilians and civilian objects on the one hand and combatants and military objectives on the other”. 
ICRC, Memorandum on Respect for International Humanitarian Law in Angola, 8 June 1994, § II, IRRC, No. 320, 1997, p. 503.
ICRC
In 1994, in a Memorandum on Compliance with International Humanitarian Law by the Forces Participating in Opération Turquoise in the Great Lakes region, the ICRC stated: “A clear distinction must be made, in all circumstances, between civilian persons who do not participate in confrontations and refrain from acts of violence and civilian objects on the one hand, and combatants and military objectives on the other.” 
ICRC, Memorandum on Compliance with International Humanitarian Law by the Forces Participating in Opération Turquoise, 23 June 1994, § II, reprinted in Marco Sassòli and Antoine A. Bouvier, How Does Law Protect in War?, ICRC, Geneva, 1999, p. 1308.
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