Practice Relating to Rule 36. Demilitarized Zones
Section A. Establishment of demilitarized zones
Côte d’Ivoire’s Teaching Manual (2007) provides in Book III, Volume 1 (Instruction of first-year trainee officers):
IV.2. Protected zones
The law of armed conflicts makes provision for various protected zones or localities. It is important to know the raison d’être of these zones. These zones can have different names, but they always have two elements in common:
- to protect civilian and military victims against the effects of hostilities;
- to keep these victims separate, guaranteeing that there are no military objectives in the defined zones.
Thus, if the enemy respects the law, the victims run no risk of suffering from the effects of the hostilities. Attacks against these zones or localities are prohibited.
IV.7. Demilitarized zones
These zones are areas in which combat is excluded, established in order to protect the civilian population against attacks. They can be towns, villages, or even a stretch of land separating two enemy parties. They are created by an agreement concluded between the parties. All the military personnel, mobile weapons and mobile military equipment must be evacuated. Demilitarized zones must not be occupied, nor used in any manner whatsoever for military purposes. The party which is in control of such a zone must, so far as possible, mark its perimeter by such signs as may be agreed upon with the enemy.
In Book III, Volume 2 (Instruction of second-year trainee officers), the Teaching Manual provides:
In order to protect the civilian population as a whole or particularly vulnerable persons (the sick, wounded, infirm, elderly, children, etc.), it is possible, by common agreement between the parties, to establish safety zones
, both during the conflict (for example in the form of an “open town”), or “demilitarized zones” in time of peace. Such zones must not be attacked militarily. On the other hand, they must also no longer be defended against the advancing of the enemy. Their only objective is to ensure the physical survival of the population which is sheltered there.
[emphasis in original]
In Book IV (Instruction of heads of division and company commanders), the Teaching Manual provides:
II.3.4. Demilitarized zones
A demilitarized zone must normally respect the following conditions:
- all combatants, as well as mobile weapons and mobile military equipment, must have been evacuated;
- no hostile use shall be made of fixed military installations or establishments;
- no acts of hostility shall be committed by the authorities or by the population;
- any activity linked to the military effort must have ceased.
The Party which is in control of a demilitarized zone shall mark it, so far as possible, by such signs as may be agreed upon with the other Party. These signs shall be displayed where they are clearly visible, especially on the perimeter of the demilitarized zone and on roads.