Practice Relating to Rule 42. Works and Installations Containing Dangerous Forces
Section A. Attacks against works and installations containing dangerous forces and against military objectives located in their vicinity
The Russian Federation’s Military Manual (1990) states that is prohibited “to launch an attack against works or installations containing dangerous forces in the knowledge that such attack will cause excessive loss of life, injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects”.
The Russian Federation’s Regulations on the Application of IHL (2001) states:
especially dangerous objects are nuclear power stations, dykes, dams whose destruction may release dangerous destructive factors and consequent severe losses among the civilian population. These objects shall not become the object of attack even when they are military objectives if attacking them may result in the above-mentioned consequences.
An especially dangerous object shall lose its immunity (status) if it provides regular, significant and direct support for the enemy military operations (for dams and dykes, it is only possible if they are used for other than their normal functions), moreover, if such an attack is the only feasible way to terminate such support.
With regard to internal armed conflict, the Regulations states:
Especially dangerous objects shall not be made the object of attack, even where these objects are military objectives, if such attack may cause the release of dangerous forces and consequent severe losses among the civilian population.
In 1995, in its judgment in the Situation in Chechnya case
, the Russian Federation’s Constitutional Court recognized the applicability of the 1977 Additional Protocol II to the conflict in Chechnya. While noting that amendments to domestic legislation to ensure its application had not been adopted, the Court stated: “Nevertheless, provisions of [the 1977 Additional Protocol II] regarding … protection … of … installations and structures containing dangerous forces … are binding on both parties to the armed conflict.”