Practice Relating to Rule 54. Attacks against Objects Indispensable to the Survival of the Civilian Population

Additional Protocol I
Article 54(2) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I provides:
It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove, or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse Party, whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians, to cause them to move away, or for any other motive. 
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 54(2). Article 54 was adopted by consensus. CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.42, 27 May 1977, p. 208.
Additional Protocol II
Article 14 of the 1977 Additional Protocol II provides:
Starvation of civilians as a method of combat is prohibited. It is therefore prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless, for that purpose, objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works. 
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts (Protocol II), Geneva, 8 June 1977, Article 14. Article 14 was adopted by consensus. CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VII, CDDH/SR.52, 6 June 1977, p. 137.
ICC Statute
Article 8(2)(b)(xxv) of the 1998 ICC Statute provides that “[i]ntentionally using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare by depriving them of objects indispensable to their survival” is a war crime in international armed conflicts. 
Statute of the International Criminal Court, adopted by the UN Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court, Rome, 17 July 1998, UN Doc. A/CONF.183/9, Article 8(2)(b)(xxv).
Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam
Article 3(b) of the 1990 Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam, which deals with the protection of civilians in times of armed conflict, provides: “It is prohibited to fell trees, to damage crops or livestock, and to destroy the enemy’s civilian buildings and installations by shelling, blasting or any other means.” 
Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam, adopted at the 19th Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, Res. 49/19-P, Cairo, 5 August 1990, annexed to Letter dated 19 September 1990 from the Permanent Representative of Egypt to the UN addressed to the UN Secretary-General, UN Doc. A/45/421-S/21797, 20 September 1990, Article 3(b).
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 54(2) 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 54(2) 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.
UN Secretary-General’s Bulletin
Section 6.7 of the 1999 UN Secretary-General’s Bulletin provides:
The United Nations force is prohibited from attacking, destroying, removing or rendering useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuff, crops, livestock and drinking-water installations and supplies. 
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 6.7.
UNTAET Regulation No. 2000/15
The UNTAET Regulation No. 2000/15 establishes panels with exclusive jurisdiction over serious criminal offences, including war crimes. According to Section 6(1)(b)(xxv), “[i]ntentionally using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare by depriving them of objects indispensable to their survival” is a war crime in international armed conflicts. 
Regulation on the Establishment of Panels with Exclusive Jurisdiction over Serious Criminal Offences, UN Doc. UNTAET/REG/2000/15, Dili, 6 June 2000, Section 6(1)(b)(xxv).
Argentina
Argentina’s Law of War Manual (1989) states that, in the course of armed conflicts not of an international character, “objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population enjoy special protection”. 
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, § 7.09.
Australia
Australia’s Commanders’ Guide (1994) states:
It is prohibited to destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works. Military operations involving collateral deprivation are not unlawful as long as the object is not to starve the civilian population. 
Australia, Law of Armed Conflict, Commanders’ Guide, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 Supplement 1 – Interim Edition, 7 March 1994, § 907; see also § 410.
Australia
Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) provides:
Objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population cannot be attacked, destroyed, removed or rendered useless for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works. This includes starving civilians or causing them to move away. 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, § 709; see also §§ 533, 929 and 930.
The manual adds that the destruction of such objects is prohibited, “whatever the motive of such destruction”. 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, § 930.
The manual further stresses that the prohibition of attacking objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population “relates to attacks made for the specific purpose of denying these items to the civilian population. Collateral damage to foodstuffs is not a violation of these rules as long as the intention was to gain a military advantage by attacking a military objective.” 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, § 533.
Australia
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) states:
5.37 … G. P. I [1977 Additional Protocol I] expressly forbids attacks against objects that are indispensable to the survival of the civilian population … This prohibition relates to attacks made for the specific purpose of denying these items to the civilian population. Collateral damage to foodstuffs is not a violation of the rules as long as the intention was to gain a military advantage by attacking a military objective.
7.10 … Objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population cannot be attacked, destroyed, removed or rendered useless for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works. This includes starving civilians or causing them to move away.
9.31 … G. P. I … prohibits the attacking, destruction, spoiling or removal of objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population whatever the motive of such destruction. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, §§ 5.37, 7.10 and 9.31.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
Belgium
Under Belgium’s Law of War Manual (1983), it is prohibited to attack, destroy or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, drinking water and drinking water installations. 
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. 28.
Benin
Benin’s Military Manual (1995) provides: “The following prohibitions shall be respected: … to direct attacks at objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as: foodstuffs, crops, livestock and reserves of drinking water.” 
Benin, Le Droit de la Guerre, III fascicules, Forces Armées du Bénin, Ministère de la Défense nationale, 1995, Fascicule III, p. 12.
Burundi
Burundi’s Regulations on International Humanitarian Law (2007) states:
It is prohibited, for the sole purpose of starving civilians, to attack, destroy, remove, or put out of service objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, in particular:
- foodstuffs;
- agricultural areas which produce foodstuffs;
- harvests;
- livestock;
- drinking water installations or reservoirs;
- irrigation works. 
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. 41; see also Part I bis, p. 5, 58, 81, 88 and 93.
The Regulations further states: “Civilian objects benefit from general protection. … Such protection is directed at inter alia objects indispensable for the survival of the [civilian] population.” 
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. 35; see also Part I bis, p. 19.
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) states that “objects indispensable for the survival of the population” are subject to special protection. 
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. 230, § 543; see also p. 223, § 22.
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) provides:
It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population whatever the motive.
The following are examples of “objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population”:
a. foodstuffs;
b. agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs;
c. crops;
d. livestock;
e. drinking water installations and supplies; and
f. irrigation works. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 4-8, §§ 78 and 79; see also p. 6-4, § 41 (land warfare) and p. 7-3, § 25 (air warfare).
With regard to methods prohibited in non-international armed conflicts, the manual also stipulates: “It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population whatever the motive.” 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 17-5, § 38.
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001) states in its chapter on targeting:
1. It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population for whatever motive.
2. The following are examples of “objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population”:
a. foodstuffs;
b. agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs;
c. crops;
d. livestock;
e. drinking water installations and supplies; and
f. irrigation works. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 445.1–2.
In its chapter on land warfare, the manual further states: “Starvation of civilians as a method of warfare is prohibited. Therefore, it is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population whatever the motive.” 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 618.
In its chapter on air warfare, the manual contains a provision identical to the one in the chapter on land warfare, adding: “The circumstances in which objects indispensable to survival of the civilian population may be attacked are fully described in Chapter 4 (Targeting).” 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 708.
In its chapter on non-international armed conflicts, the manual states:
It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless for that purpose, objects considered indispensable to the survival of the civilian population such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas, livestock, drinking water installations, irrigation works and similar objects. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 1721.
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): “The following prohibitions must be respected: … directing attacks against objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, crops, livestock and drinking-water reservoirs”. 
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 “attacking goods that are indispensable to the survival of the population is forbidden” and that to do so is a war crime. 
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. 78; see also p. 16.
Colombia
Colombia’s Basic Military Manual (1995) provides that the parties to a conflict must “abstain from attacking those objects and installations that … are indispensable for the well-being and survival [of the civilian population]”. 
Colombia, Derecho Internacional Humanitario – Manual Básico para las Personerías y las Fuerzas Armadas de Colombia, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, 1995, p. 22; see also p. 29.
The manual also states that objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as crops and the areas where they are produced, livestock, drinking water installations and irrigation works, are protected objects. 
Colombia, Derecho Internacional Humanitario – Manual Básico para las Personerías y las Fuerzas Armadas de Colombia, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, 1995, p. 25.
In a chapter entitled “Provisions of IHL applicable in Colombia”, the manual states that “in all armed conflicts”, it is prohibited to attack objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population as a method of combat. 
Colombia, Derecho Internacional Humanitario – Manual Básico para las Personerías y las Fuerzas Armadas de Colombia, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, 1995, p. 49.
Côte d’Ivoire
Côte d’Ivoire’s Teaching Manual (2007) provides in Book I (Basic instruction):
The principle of distinction specifies who and what can be attacked and who and what cannot be attacked.
- Who and what cannot be attacked?
- Everything that contributes to the survival of the local populations (fields, crops, granaries, livestock, water supplies, irrigation systems, etc.). 
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. 14–15.
In Book III, Volume 2 (Instruction of second-year trainee officers), the Teaching Manual provides:
II.2.5. Protection of goods indispensable for the survival of the population
It is prohibited to use starvation as a method of warfare against the civilian population, i.e. to resort to the former concept of siege. It is therefore prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works. 
Côte d’Ivoire, 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. 31.
In Book IV (Instruction of heads of division and company commanders), the Teaching Manual provides:
Chapter 3. Protection
II.2.3. Objects indispensible to the survival of the population
It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, whatever the motive. …
Examples of “objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population”:
- foodstuffs;
- agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs;
- crops;
- livestock;
- drinking water installations and supplies;
- irrigation works.
Chapter 4. Methods and means of warfare
I.2.9. Recourse to the starvation of the civilian population
Starvation of civilians as a method of combat is prohibited. Consequently, it is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, whatever the motive. 
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, pp. 31, 37, 45 and 51.
Djibouti
Djibouti’s Manual on International Humanitarian Law (2004) states:
It is … prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population (such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas, harvests, livestock, drinking water installations and reservoirs, works of irrigation). 
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, pp. 31–32.
Ecuador
Ecuador’s Naval Manual (1989) prohibits the “intentional destruction of food, crops, livestock, drinking water and other objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, for the specific purpose of denying the civilian population of their use”. 
Ecuador, Aspectos Importantes del Derecho Internacional Marítimo que Deben Tener Presente los Comandantes de los Buques, Academia de Guerra Naval, 1989, § 8.1.2.
Ethiopia
According to Ethiopia’s Standing Rules of Engagement (2007), “things decisive to the survival of the civilian community” do not constitute military objectives. 
Ethiopia, Standing Rules of Engagement, National Defense Force, Addis Ababa, 2007, § 8.4.1.
France
France’s LOAC Summary Note (1992) provides: “It is prohibited … to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the population (foodstuffs, livestock, crops, drinking water, etc.).” 
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, § 4.2.
France
France’s LOAC Teaching Note (2000) states: “Objects indispensable to the survival of the population must absolutely be preserved (crops, livestock, foodstuffs, drinking water …).” 
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. 6.
France
France’s LOAC Manual (2001) incorporates the content of Article 54(2) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
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, pp. 30 and 31.
Germany
Germany’s Soldiers’ Manual (1991) provides: “The objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population (e.g. drinking water installations) may not be destroyed.” 
Germany, Taschenkarte, Humanitäres Völkerrecht in bewaffneten Konflikten – Grundsätze, Bearbeitet nach ZDv 15/2, Humanitäres Völkerrecht in bewaffneten Konflikten – Handbuch, Zentrum Innere Führung, June 1991, p. 4.
Germany
Germany’s Military Manual (1992) provides:
It is … prohibited to attack … objects indispensable to the civilian population, e.g. production of foodstuffs, clothing, drinking water installations, with the aim to prevent the civilian population from being supplied. 
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, § 463.
The manual further states:
Grave breaches of international humanitarian law are in particular: … starvation of civilians by destroying, removing or rendering useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population (e.g. foodstuffs, means for the production of foodstuffs, drinking water installations and supplies, irrigation works). 
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, § 1209.
Germany
Germany’s Soldiers’ Manual (2006) states: “The objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population (e.g. drinking water installations) may not be destroyed.” 
Germany, Druckschrift Einsatz Nr. 03, Humanitäres Völkerrecht in bewaffneten Konflikten – Grundsätze, Erarbeitet nach ZDv 15/2, Humanitäres Völkerrecht in bewaffneten Konflikten – Handbuch, DSK SF009320187, Bundesministerium der Verteidigung, R II 3, August 2006, p. 4.
India
India’s Police Manual (1986) provides:
The Central or State Government may, if satisfied with respect to any person that with a view to preventing him from acting in any manner prejudicial to … the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the community it is necessary so to do, make an order directing that such person be detained. 
India, Police Manual for Handling Civil Disturbances, Home Ministry, Government of Maharashtra, Bombay, 1986, p. 24.
[emphasis in original]
Indonesia
Indonesia’s Military Manual (1982) states that it is prohibited to attack foodstuffs, agricultural areas, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies, including irrigation works. 
Indonesia, The Basics of International Humanitarian Law, Legal Division of the Indonesian Armed Forces, 1982, p. 56, § 127(c).
Israel
Israel’s Manual on the Laws of War (1998) states: “It is prohibited to attack targets essential to the continued survival of the civilian population.” 
Israel, Laws of War in the Battlefield, Manual, Military Advocate General Headquarters, Military School, 1998, p. 35.
Israel
Israel’s Manual on the Rules of Warfare (2006) states:
Attack on the population’s survival resources: targets must not be attacked that are vital to the continuation of the civilian population’s survival. War must not be waged by means of a “scorched earth” policy, that is to say intentional attack on food products, farmland, sanitation facilities etc., at such a level as would lead to the starvation of the civilian population. 
Israel, Rules of Warfare on the Battlefield, Military Advocate-General’s Corps Command, IDF School of Military Law, Second Edition, 2006, p. 25.
The Manual on the Rules of Warfare (2006) is a second edition of the Manual on the Laws of War (1998).
Kenya
Kenya’s LOAC Manual (1997) provides: “It is forbidden … to direct attacks at objects indispensable for the survival of the civilian population such as food-stuff, crops, livestock and drinking water.” 
Kenya, Law of Armed Conflict, Military Basic Course (ORS), 4 Précis, The School of Military Police, 1997, Précis No. 4, pp. 2 and 3.
Madagascar
Under Madagascar’s Military Manual (1994), it is prohibited to destroy objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population. 
Madagascar, Le Droit des Conflits Armés, Ministère des Forces Armées, August 1994, Fiche No. 2-T, § 27.
Netherlands
Under the Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands, it is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population whatever the motive. It includes in the category of objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, foodstuffs, agricultural areas, crops, drinking water installations, irrigation works and other supplies. 
Netherlands, Toepassing Humanitair Oorlogsrecht, Voorschift No. 27-412/1, Koninklijke Landmacht, Ministerie van Defensie, 1993, p. V-7.
In addition, the manual specifically prohibits “attack, destruction, removal and rendering useless of objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and irrigation works” in non-international armed conflicts. 
Netherlands, Toepassing Humanitair Oorlogsrecht, Voorschift No. 27-412/1, Koninklijke Landmacht, Ministerie van Defensie, 1993, p. XI-6.
Netherlands
Under the Military Handbook (1995) of the Netherlands, it is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population. It includes in the category of objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, foodstuffs, agricultural areas, crops, drinking water installations, irrigation works and other supplies. 
Netherlands, Handboek Militair, Ministerie van Defensie, 1995, p. 7-44.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states:
0534. It is prohibited to starve civilians. It is also prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless such objects as are indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas where foodstuffs are produced, crops, livestock, drinking-water installations and irrigation systems. It is irrelevant here whether the motive of the action is to starve the civilian population or some other motive.
0535. A power station or, more generally, the power supply can be of fundamental importance to the civilian population. Any attack should take account of this aspect. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, §§ 0534–0535.
In its chapter on non-international armed conflict, the manual states:
Objects important to the survival of civilian populations should be spared. This means that the following acts are prohibited: to attack, destroy, remove or render unusable essential objects such as foods, farmland, crops, livestock, drinking-water installations and irrigation works. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 1033.
New Zealand
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) states:
[The 1977 Additional Protocol I] Art. 54 expands the customary protection as follows: …
It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse Party, whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians, to cause them to move away, or for any other motive.
This prohibition does not, however, extend to attacks carried out for some specific purpose other than that of denying sustenance to the civilian population. 
New Zealand, Military Manual (1992), § 504(2) (land warfare), including footnote 9; see also § 613(2) (air warfare).
[emphasis in original]
The manual also states:
[The 1977 Additional Protocol II] forbids starvation as a method of combat: it is prohibited for that purpose to attack, destroy, remove or render useless for that purpose objects considered indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas, livestock, drinking water installations, irrigation works, and the like.
In other words, deprivation of food and other materials necessary to sustain the population cannot be used by a government as a method of pressure against civilians supporting rebels. 
New Zealand, Interim Law of Armed Conflict Manual, DM 112, New Zealand Defence Force, Headquarters, Directorate of Legal Services, Wellington, November 1992, § 1820, including footnote 75.
Nigeria
Nigeria’s Military Manual (1994) provides: “Attack, destruction, removal of objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population is prohibited.” 
Nigeria, International Humanitarian Law (IHL), Directorate of Legal Services, Nigerian Army, 1994, p. 42, § 11.
Peru
Peru’s IHL Manual (2004) states:
It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies, irrigation works, etc., for the specific purpose of starving out civilians. 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial Nº 1394-2004-DE/CCFFAA/CDIH-FFAA, Lima, 1 December 2004, § 27.d.(2).
The manual further states: “Attacks on … objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population (essential public services) are considered to be war crimes.” 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial Nº 1394-2004-DE/CCFFAA/CDIH-FFAA, Lima, 1 December 2004, § 31.a.
Peru
Peru’s IHL and Human Rights Manual (2010) states:
It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies, irrigation works, etc., for the specific purpose of starving out civilians. 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario y Derechos Humanos para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial No. 049-2010/DE/VPD, Lima, 21 May 2010, § 29(d)(2), p. 238; see also p. 398.
The manual further states: “Attacks on … objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population (essential public services) are considered to be war crimes.” 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario y Derechos Humanos para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial No. 049-2010/DE/VPD, Lima, 21 May 2010, § 32(a), p. 248.
Philippines
The Philippine Army Soldier’s Handbook on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (2006) provides:
During combat operation:
12. Avoid destroying crops, properties and possessions. During military operations, avoid damaging plants and properties along the way. Avoid using incendiary that […] would set fire combustible materials such as “sawali,” “nipa” and other indigenous materials usually used for huts in the village. If unavoidable, pay for the damaged properties as soon as the combat operations are over or else repair or replace the damages.
14. Do not disrupt nor dislocate the livelihood source of the civilian populace. When the conflict is not massive and can be contained in a particular area, do not involve areas that are populated by civilians. 
Philippines, Philippine Army Soldier’s Handbook on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, A Practical Guide for Internal Security Operations, 2006, p. 58, §§ 12 and 14.
Russian Federation
The Russian Federation’s Regulations on the Application of IHL (2001) states:
It is prohibited to destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable for the survival of the civilian population (foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works). 
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, § 22; see also § 7 (prohibited methods of warfare).
With regard to internal armed conflict, the Regulations states: “Starvation of civilians as a method of combat is prohibited. It is therefore prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population.” 
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, § 85.
Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone’s Instructor Manual (2007) provides: “Don’t attack or destroy items which [civilians] depend upon for survival (foodstuffs, drinking water, agricultural areas, crops and livestock, irrigation systems).” 
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. 36; see also p. 19.
South Africa
South Africa’s LOAC Manual (1996) provides: “Objects which are essential to the survival of the civilian population (such as livestock, irrigation works and water supply) must not be attacked.” 
South Africa, Presentation on the South African Approach to International Humanitarian Law, Appendix A, Chapter 4: International Humanitarian Law (The Law of Armed Conflict), National Defence Force, 1996, § 28(c).
South Africa
South Africa’s Revised Civic Education Manual (2004) states: “Objects which are essential to the survival of the civilian population (such as livestock, irrigation works and water supply) must not be attacked.” 
South Africa, Revised Civic Education Manual, South African National Defence Force, 2004, Chapter 4, § 50(c).
South Africa
South Africa’s LOAC Teaching Manual (2008) states:
[1977] Additional Protocol I article 54 grants special protection of objects that are objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population[;] this article determines the following:
- It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects that are indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, for the specific purpose of denying the civilian population or an adverse Party their sustenance value.
- This prohibition is absolute, irrespective of what the motive is for attacking, destroying, removing or rendering useless objects that are indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, whether the motive is to starve out civilians, to cause civilians to move away, or for any other motive.
- Objects that are indispensable to the survival of the civilian population are things such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works.
In this regard, note should also be taken of [1977] Additional Protocol II article 14, which extends the protection of objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population to non-international armed conflicts.
Conclusion
Special protection is granted to objects that are indispensable to the survival of the civilian population in both international armed conflicts and civil war. It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless such objects, for the specific purpose of denying the civilian population or an adverse Party their sustenance value. Starvation of civilians as a method of warfare is prohibited. 
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, pp. 115–116 and 123.
The manual also states:
Prohibited Methods of Combat
The rule regarding methods of combat is that the survival of the civilian population must at all times be ensured as far as possible. (Additional Protocol I article 54.)
The starvation of civilian persons as a method of warfare is prohibited. It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as food-stuffs, agricultural areas for the production of food-stuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of starvation. 
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. 180.
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) states that it is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population “with the intent to starve the civilian population”. 
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, § 3.3.c.(4); see also § 4.5.b.(2).
The manual also gives as examples of such objects, foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and reserves, irrigation works, etc. 
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, § 4.5.b.(2); see also §§ 1.3.d.(3) and 3.3.c.(4).
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states:
It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects essential to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works, with the intention of starving out the civilian population. 
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, § 3.3.c.(4); see also §§ 1.3.d.(3), 4.5.b.(2).(b) and 7.3.b.(2).(d).
Sweden
Sweden’s IHL Manual (1991) states:
Article 54:2 [of the 1977 Additional Protocol I] … prohibits attack on such property as is essential for the survival of a civilian population for the purpose of depriving the civilian population or the adversary of vital necessities, in order to starve them out or compel them to leave an area, or for any other reason. It is equally forbidden to remove such property or render it useless. The property which shall receive protection in the first instance is foodstuffs and agricultural areas, crops, cattle, plant and reservoirs for drinking water and irrigation works. This list is incomplete, and further objects could be added. It may be pertinent to list also civilian dwellings in cold areas, which considerably increase the scope of the article. Yet it is less probable that such an extension would gain general approval. Moreover, civilian dwellings have protection in Article 52, even though this is far from sufficient.
The prohibition in Article 54:2 [of the 1977 Additional Protocol I] applies only to attack, removal or incapacitation performed for the purpose given – thus the article offers no protection against unintentional injury or losses arising from an attack that has other purposes. Attack on a hostile force deployed in the neighbourhood of a community may thus for example lead to damage to a nearby grain store without these secondary effects involving a breach of Article 54. 
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. 60.
Switzerland
Switzerland’s Basic Military Manual (1987) states: “Objects vital to the civilian population, such as drinking water, foodstuffs, crops and livestock as well as agricultural areas, must not be rendered useless.” 
Switzerland, Lois et coutumes de la guerre (Extrait et commentaire), Règlement 51.7/II f, Armée Suisse, 1987, Article 35.
Switzerland
Switzerland’s Regulation on Legal Bases for Conduct during an Engagement (2005) states:
201 Pillage and wilful damage to civilian property, as well as to facilities and objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population (e.g. water supply), are prohibited at any time and in any place.
14 Protected objects
14.4 Objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population
215 It is prohibited to attack or destroy objects essential for the civilian population, such as foodstuffs or water supply installations as well as stocks of these goods and irrigation works.
15.2 Prohibited methods of warfare
225 Indiscriminate attacks, i.e. attacks which cannot distinguish between protected persons/objects and military objectives, as well as attacks directed against protected persons/objects or acts of revenge are prohibited in any place and at any time.
226 Starvation of and threats against the civilian population, destroying essential objects such as water sources, stocks of foodstuffs and seeds, as well as deliberately damaging the environment, are prohibited in any place and at any time.
17 Sanctions for violations of the international law of armed conflict
237 The following in particular are criminal offences: … harmful acts against internationally 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 on the Organization of the Federal Department for Defence, Civil Protection and Sports of 7 March 2003, entry into force on 1 July 2005, §§ 201, 215, 225–226 and 237.
Togo
Togo’s Military Manual (1996) provides: “The following prohibitions shall be respected: … to direct attacks at objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as: foodstuffs, crops, livestock and reserves of drinking water.” 
Togo, Le Droit de la Guerre, III fascicules, Etat-major Général des Forces Armées Togolaises, Ministère de la Défense nationale, 1996, Fascicule III, p. 12.
Ukraine
Ukraine’s IHL Manual (2004) states:
1.3.2 The following methods of warfare shall be prohibited:
- destroying, exporting or impairing of objects which are indispensable to the survival of the civilian population.
2.3.5.1. During combat in an urban environment the commander (commanding officer) and staff shall take into account:
- [the] presence and location of objects indispensable for the survival of the civilian population and other objects (areas) protected by international humanitarian law.
2.3.5.2. If combat is conducted on water obstacles (seashore, islands etc.) it is prohibited to destroy dykes, dams and objects indispensable for the survival of the civilian population. 
Ukraine, Manual on the Application of IHL Rules, Ministry of Defence, 11 September 2004, §§ 1.3.2 and 2.3.5.1–2.3.5.2.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Pamphlet (1981) provides: “It is forbidden … to direct attacks at objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population such as foodstuffs, crops, livestock and drinking water.” 
United Kingdom, The Law of Armed Conflict, D/DAT/13/35/66, Army Code 71130 (Revised 1981), Ministry of Defence, prepared under the Direction of The Chief of the General Staff, 1981, Section 4, p. 14, § 5(g).
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
According to the UK LOAC Manual (2004), it is prohibited
to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse Party, whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians, to cause them to move away, or for any other motive. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 5.27.
The manual further provides:
Extensive destruction not justified by military necessity, particularly of things indispensable to the survival of the civilian population (including food, agricultural areas, drinking water installations, irrigation works and the natural environment) with a view to denying them to the civilian population or the adverse party is prohibited and may amount to a grave breach. … The cumulative effect of this is to ban the type of general destruction known as a “scorched earth policy” in occupied territory. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, §§ 11.91 11 –11.91.1.
In its chapter on air operations, the manual states: “Air bombardment must not destroy or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population.” 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 12.26.
With regard to internal armed conflict, the manual states:
15.19. Starvation of civilians as a method of warfare is prohibited.
15.19.1. The right to life is a non-derogable human right. Violence to the life and person of civilians is prohibited, whatever method is adopted to achieve it. It follows that the destruction of crops, foodstuffs and water sources, to such an extent that starvation is likely to follow, is also prohibited. The same applies to sieges, blockades, embargoes, or the blocking of relief supplies with the intention of causing starvation. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, §§ 15.19–15.19.1.
United States of America
The US Naval Handbook (1995) prohibits the “intentional destruction of food, crops, livestock, drinking water and other objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, for the specific purpose of denying the civilian population of their use”.  
United States, The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations, NWP 1-14M/MCWP 5-2.1/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 Transportation, US Coast Guard, October 1995 (formerly NWP 9 (Rev. A)/FMFM 1-10, October 1989), § 8.1.2.
United States of America
The Annotated Supplement to the US Naval Handbook (1997) provides that the rule prohibiting the intentional destruction of objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population for the specific purpose of denying the civilian population of their use is a “customary rule … accepted by the United States … and is codified in [the 1977 Additional Protocol I], art. 54(2)”. 
United States, Annotated Supplement to the Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations, prepared by the Oceans Law and Policy Department, Center for Naval Warfare Studies, Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, November 1997, § 8.1.2, footnote 15.
United States of America
The US Naval Handbook (2007) states: “The intentional destruction of food, crops, livestock, drinking water, and other objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, for the specific purpose of denying the civilian population of their use, is prohibited.” 
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, § 8.3.
Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of
Under the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia’s Military Manual (1988), it is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, with the intent to deprive the population of those objects, regardless of the motive (in order to starve the population, to force it to move or for any other motive). The manual gives the following examples of objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population: agricultural areas, places of food production, crops, livestock, drinking water installations, reservoirs for drinking water and irrigation works. 
Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of, Propisi o Primeri Pravila Medjunarodnog Ratnog Prava u Oruzanim Snagama SFRJ, PrU-2, Savezni Sekretarijat za Narodnu Odbranu (Pravna Uprava), 1988, § 74.
Australia
Australia’s Criminal Code Act (1995), as amended to 2007, states with respect to serious war crimes that are committed in the course of an international armed conflict:
268.51 War crimedestroying or seizing the enemy’s property
(1) A person (the perpetrator) commits an offence if:
(a) the perpetrator destroys or seizes certain property; and
(b) the property is property of an adverse party; and
(c) the property is protected from the destruction or seizure under article 18 of the Third Geneva Convention, article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention or article 54 of Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions; and
(d) the perpetrator knows of, or is reckless as to, the factual circumstances that establish that the property is so protected; and
(e) the destruction or seizure is not justified by military necessity; and
(f) the perpetrator’s conduct takes place in the context of, and is associated with, an international armed conflict.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 15 years.
(2) Strict liability applies to paragraph (1)(c). 
Australia, Criminal Code Act, 1995, as amended to 2007, Chapter 8, § 268.51, p. 335.
The Criminal Code Act also states with respect to war crimes that are serious violations of the laws and customs of war applicable in a non-international armed conflict:
268.94 War crime – destroying or seizing an adversary’s property
(1) A person (the perpetrator) commits an offence if:
(a) the perpetrator destroys or seizes certain property; and
(b) the property is property of an adversary; and
(c) the property is protected from the destruction or seizure under article 14 of Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions; and
(d) the perpetrator knows of, or is reckless as to, the factual circumstances that establish that the property is so protected; and
(e) the destruction or seizure is not justified by military necessity; and
(f) the perpetrator’s conduct takes place in the context of, and is associated with, an armed conflict that is not an international armed conflict.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 15 years
(2) Strict liability applies to paragraph (1)(c). 
Australia, Criminal Code Act, 1995, as amended to 2007, Chapter 8, § 268.94, pp. 368–369.
Australia
Australia’s ICC (Consequential Amendments) Act (2002) incorporates in the Criminal Code the war crimes defined in the 1998 ICC Statute, including “any intentional deprivation of civilians of objects indispensable to their survival” in international armed conflicts. 
Australia, ICC (Consequential Amendments) Act, 2002, Schedule 1, § 268.67(1)(a)(i).
Canada
Canada’s Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act (2000) provides that the war crimes defined in Article 8(2) of the 1998 ICC Statute are “crimes according to customary international law” and, as such, indictable offences under the Act. 
Canada, Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act, 2000, Section 4(1) and (4).
Colombia
Colombia’s Penal Code (2000) imposes a criminal sanction on “anyone who, during an armed conflict, attacks, renders useless, damages, removes or appropriates objects or elements indispensable to the survival of the civilian population”. 
Colombia, Penal Code, 2000, Article 160; see also Article 154.
Congo
The Congo’s Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity Act (1998) defines war crimes with reference to the categories of crimes defined in Article 8 of the 1998 ICC Statute. 
Congo, Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity Act, 1998, Article 4.
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic’s Criminal Code (1961), as amended in 1999, punishes any “person who in wartime … destroys or seriously disrupts a source of the necessities of life for civilians in an occupied area or contact zone”. 
Czech Republic, Criminal Code, 1961, as amended in 1999, Article 263a(2)(a).
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).
Estonia
Under Estonia’s Penal Code (2001), “a person who … destroys or renders useless food or water supplies, sown crops or domestic animals indispensable to the survival of the civilian population” commits a war crime. 
Estonia, Penal Code, 2001, § 95.
Ethiopia
Ethiopia’s Criminal Code (2004) states:
Article 270.- War Crimes against the Civilian Population.
Whoever, in time of … occupation organizes, orders or engages in, against the civilian population and in violation of the rules of public international law and of international humanitarian conventions:
(i) the confiscation, destruction, removal, rendering useless or appropriation of property such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works, health centres, schools …
is punishable with rigorous imprisonment from five years to twenty-five years, or, in more serious cases, with life imprisonment or death. 
Ethiopia, Criminal Code, 2004, Article 270(i).
Georgia
Under Georgia’s Criminal Code (1999), any war crime provided for by the 1998 ICC Statute, which is not explicitly mentioned in the Code, such as “intentionally using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare by depriving them of objects indispensable to their survival” in international armed conflicts, is a crime. 
Georgia, Criminal Code, 1999, Article 413(d).
Germany
Germany’s Law Introducing the International Crimes Code (2002) punishes anyone who, in connection with an international or a non-international armed conflict, “uses starvation of civilians as a method of warfare by depriving them of objects indispensable to their survival”. 
Germany, Law Introducing the International Crimes Code, 2002, Article 1, § 11(1)(5).
Iraq
Iraq’s Military Penal Code (1940) punishes anyone who destroys or wrecks, without necessity, “moveable or immovable property, cuts down trees, destroys agricultural crops or orders to commit such acts”. 
Iraq, Military Penal Code, 1940, Article 113.
Ireland
Ireland’s Geneva Conventions Act (1962), as amended in 1998, provides that any “minor breach” of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, including violations of Article 54(2), as well as any “contravention” of the 1977 Additional Protocol II, including violations of Article 14, are punishable offences. 
Ireland, Geneva Conventions Act, 1962, as amended in 1998, Section 4(1) and (4).
Islamic Republic of Iran
The Islamic Republic of Iran’s Army Penal and Procedure Code (1939) states that “whenever a group of military persons ravage or demolish the foodstuffs … of the people, whether they are armed or not, [the individuals involved] will be sentenced to … solitary imprisonment of two to 10 years”. 
Islamic Republic of Iran, Army Penal and Procedure Code, 1939, Article 385.
Mali
Under Mali’s Penal Code (2001), “deliberately starving civilians as a method of warfare, by depriving them of objects indispensable to their survival” is a war crime in international armed conflicts. 
Mali, Penal Code, 2001, Article 31(i)(25).
Mexico
Mexico’s Code of Military Justice (1933), as amended in 1996, punishes anyone who “makes requisition of foodstuffs”. 
Mexico, Code of Military Justice, 1933, as amended in 1996, Article 215.
The Code also punishes “anyone who, taking advantage of his own authority or the authority of the armed forces, maliciously and arbitrarily destroys foodstuffs, when it is not required by military operations”. 
Mexico, Code of Military Justice as amended, 1933, Article 334.
Netherlands
The Definition of War Crimes Decree (1946) of the Netherlands considers as a war crime the “intentional withholding of medical supplies from civilians”. 
Netherlands, Definition of War Crimes Decree, 1946, Article 1.
Netherlands
Under the International Crimes Act (2003) of the Netherlands, “intentionally using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare by depriving them of objects indispensable to their survival” is a crime, when committed in an international armed conflict. 
Netherlands, International Crimes Act, 2003, Article 5(5)(l).
New Zealand
Under New Zealand’s International Crimes and ICC Act (2000), war crimes include the crime defined in Article 8(2)(b)(xxv) of the 1998 ICC Statute. 
New Zealand, International Crimes and ICC Act, 2000, Section 11(2).
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 Code of Military Justice (1980) imposes penalties on members of the armed forces who destroy or endanger public services vital to the survival of the population, such as water supplies. 
Peru, Code of Military Justice, 1980, Article 95(3).
Republic of Korea
The Republic of Korea’s ICC Act (2007) provides for the punishment of anyone who commits the following war crime in both international and non-international armed conflicts: “Using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare by depriving them of objects indispensable to their survival … in violation of international humanitarian law.” 
Republic of Korea, ICC Act, 2007, Article 13(1)(5).
Slovakia
Slovakia’s Criminal Code (1961), as amended, punishes any “person who in wartime … destroys or seriously disrupts a source of the necessities of life for civilians in an occupied area or contact zone”. 
Slovakia, Criminal Code, 1961, as amended, Article 263a(2)(a).
South Africa
South Africa’s ICC Act (2002) reproduces the war crimes listed in the 1998 ICC Statute, including in international armed conflicts: “intentionally using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare by depriving them of objects indispensable to their survival”. 
South Africa, ICC Act, 2002, Schedule 1, Part 3, § (b)(xxv).
Spain
Spain’s Penal Code (1995) punishes “anyone who, during an armed conflict, … attacks, destroys, removes or renders useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population”. 
Spain, Penal Code, 1995, Article 613(1)(c); see also Article 612(3).
Spain
Spain’s Penal Code (1995), as amended in 2010, states:
1. Anyone who in the event of an armed conflict commits or orders to be committed any of the following acts shall be punished with four to six years’ imprisonment:
e. Attacking, destroying, removing or rendering useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population …
2. … In all other cases mentioned in the above article, the higher sentence can be imposed when extensive and important destructions are caused to the property, objects or installations or [the acts] are of extreme gravity. 
Spain, Penal Code, 1995, as amended on 23 June 2010, Article 613(1)(e) and (2); see also Article 612(3).
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Under the UK ICC Act (2001), it is a punishable offence to commit a war crime as defined in Article 8(2)(b)(xxv) of the 1998 ICC Statute. 
United Kingdom, ICC Act, 2001, Sections 50(1) and 51(1) (England and Wales) and Section 58(1) (Northern Ireland).
Uruguay
Uruguay’s Law on Cooperation with the ICC (2006) states:
26.2. Persons and objects affected by the war crimes set out in the present provision are persons and objects which international law protects in international or internal armed conflict.
26.3. The following are war crimes:
36. Attacking, destroying, removing or rendering useless objects indispensable for the survival of the civilian population (supplies, livestock, drinking water installations, etc.). 
Uruguay, Law on Cooperation with the ICC, 2006, Article 26.2 and 26.3.36.
Viet Nam
Viet Nam’s Penal Code (1990) punishes “anyone who, in time of peace or in time of war, … destroys vital resources”. 
Viet Nam, Penal Code, 1990, Article 278.
Viet Nam
Viet Nam’s Penal Code (1999) provides for the punishment of those “who, in time of peace or time of war … destroy the source of [the population’s] livelihood”. 
Viet Nam, Penal Code, 1999, § 342.
Canada
In 2013, in the Sapkota case, Canada’s Federal Court dismissed a request for review of a decision denying refugee protection to the applicant on grounds of complicity in crimes against humanity in Nepal between 1991 and 2009. While reviewing the submissions of the respondent, Canada’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, the Court stated: “The Respondent notes that the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court … is endorsed in Canada as a source of customary law.” 
Canada, Federal Court, Sapkota case, Reasons for Judgment and Judgment, 15 July 2013, § 28.
Colombia
In 2007, in the Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, the Plenary Chamber of Colombia’s Constitutional Court stated that the prohibition of attacks on objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population in the 1977 Additional Protocol II “has attained customary status, mainly due to its impact on State practice and on conflicts in the last decades”. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, Judgment of 25 April 2007, p. 68.
The Court also held:
The principle of distinction is complex and encompasses a number of treaty and customary norms applicable in internal armed conflicts, in addition to, in many cases, enjoying ius cogens status. These rules [include] … the prohibition to direct attacks against a civilian population’s basic means of survival. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, Judgment of 25 April 2007, pp. 84–86.
The Court further held that an “element of the principle of distinction is the prohibition against attacking objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, which includes the prohibition … to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to their survival.” 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, Judgment of 25 April 2007, p. 96.
(footnote in original omitted)
Croatia
In the Perišić and Others case before a Croatian district court in 1997, after a trial in absentia, several persons were convicted of ordering the shelling of the city of Zadar and its surroundings, inter alia, on the basis of Article 14 of the 1977 Additional Protocol II, as incorporated in Article 120(1) of Croatia’s Criminal Code of 1993. 
Croatia, District Court of Zadar, Perišić and Others case, Judgment, 24 April 1997.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
In 2009, in the Basele Lutula and Others case, the Military Garrison Court of Kisangani convicted Mai-Mai militia members of various crimes, including destruction of property. The Court stated:
Destruction and damage without malicious intent (article 113 of CPL II [Penal Code])
Pursuant to article 113 of the Penal Code enacted by the ordinance of 28 February 1913: “whoever, even without malicious intent, destroys or damages, without any right or title, … movable or immovable property is liable to punishment of up to seven days’ imprisonment and a fine … ”.
It follows from this definition that this offence requires the combination of the following constitutive elements: protected objects, a material act and a moral element.
Article 113 can be applied with regard to [the following protected objects]:
- fruit and ornamental … [trees]
- wood (chopped) …
- palm tree …
- harvests
The law does not require that the destroyed or damaged property belongs to another person.
The material act consists of destroying or damaging the above-mentioned objects as specified by law.
The moral element which characterizes this offence … is a simple [and] general one. The perpetrator must act voluntarily but without malicious intent or without title or right.
In the present case, the defendants Kipeleka Nyembo, Okanga Likunde, Osumaka Loleka and Koti Okoke knew that they were breaking the law when they were … cutting down fruit trees which are protected by law, namely mango, palm and avocado trees. 
Democratic Republic of the Congo, Military Garrison Court of Kisangani, Basele Lutula and Others case, Judgment, 3 June 2009, pp. 13–15.
Israel
In its judgment in the Albasyouni case in 2008, concerning a petition regarding the Israeli Government’s decision to reduce or limit the supply of fuel and electricity to the Gaza Strip, Israel’s High Court of Justice stated:
13. … Finally, the Respondents referred in their brief also to Article 54 of the First Protocol [1977 Additional Protocol I], which … prohibits a party to attack, destroy, remove, or render useless installations that are vital to the civilian population, including food storehouses, agricultural fields, and drinking-water installations.
15. The above indicates, therefore, that the Respondents do not disagree that they are bound by the humanitarian obligations imposed upon them, which require the State of Israel to … refrain from causing intentional injury to humanitarian installations. …
22. … [T]he State of Israel is required to act against the terrorist organizations within the framework of the law and in accordance with the dictates of international law, and to refrain from deliberately harming the civilian population located in the Gaza Strip. 
Israel, High Court of Justice, Albasyouni case, Judgment, 30 January 2008, §§ 13, 15 and 22.
Russian Federation
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 … facilities required for the survival of the civilian population … are binding on both parties to the armed conflict.” 
Russian Federation, Constitutional Court, Situation in Chechnya case, Judgment, 31 July 1995, § 5.
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. …
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:
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.
United States of America
In 2008, in the Agent Orange case, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld the dismissal of the case by the District Court, finding that the Plaintiffs had failed to demonstrate a violation of international law. In its judgment, the Court of Appeals stated:
The sources of international law relied on by Plaintiffs do not support a universally-accepted norm prohibiting the wartime use of Agent Orange that is defined with the degree of specificity required by Sosa Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain, 542 U.S. 692 (2004)]. Although the herbicide campaign may have been controversial, the record before us supports the conclusion that Agent Orange was used as a defoliant and not as a poison designed for or targeting human populations. Inasmuch as Agent Orange was intended for defoliation and for destruction of crops only, its use did not violate the international norms relied upon here, since those norms would not necessarily prohibit the deployment of materials that are only secondarily, and not intentionally, harmful to humans. 
United States, US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Agent Orange case, Judgment, 22 February 2008, pp. 26 and 27.
Australia
In its oral pleadings before the ICJ in the Nuclear Weapons case in 1995, Australia declared:
Another area of the law in which there have been significant recent developments is that of the protection of the civilian population in times of armed conflict. A significant step further was taken as recently as 1977, with the adoption of the Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions. Australia, together with the bulk of the international community, believes that the essential terms of the Protocol should be regarded as reflecting customary international law …
Article 54, paragraph 2, provides that a Party may not
“attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse Party”. 
Australia, Oral pleadings before the ICJ, Nuclear Weapons case, 30 October 1995, Verbatim Record CR 95/22, p. 46.
Austria
In 1992, during a debate in the UN Security Council on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria declared that the “withholding of food and essential humanitarian goods is a central element in the policy of ‘ethnic cleansing’ against the non-Serbian population”. 
Austria, Statement before the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/PV. 3114, 14 September 1992, p. 109.
Belgium
At the CDDH, Belgium sponsored a draft article on the prohibition of starvation which contained the rule that it is “forbidden to attack, destroy, remove or render useless, crops, drinking water supplies, irrigation works, livestock, foodstuffs or food producing areas for the purpose of denying them to the enemy or the civilian population”. 
Belgium, Proposal of amendment to Article 48 of the draft Additional Protocol I submitted to the CDDH, Official Records, Vol. III, CDDH/III/67, 19 March 1974, p. 218.
Colombia
In 1994, in reply to a questionnaire from the House of Representatives, Colombia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs quoted Article 14 of the 1977 Additional Protocol II. 
Colombia, Presidency of the Republic, Office of the High Commissioner for Peace, National Plan for the Dissemination of IHL, Reply of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Questionnaire No. 012 of Commission II of the House of Representatives, 7 October 1994, p. 6.
Colombia
The Report on the Practice of Colombia refers to a draft internal working paper in which the Colombian Government stated that it was prohibited “to make the civilian population suffer from hunger or thirst and to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects for this purpose”. 
Report on the Practice of Colombia, 1998, Chapter 4.1, referring to Presidential Council, Proposal of the Government to the Coordinator Guerrillerra Simón Bolívar to humanize war, Draft Internal Working Paper, Part entitled “El Derecho Internacional Humanitario”, § 2(h).
Djibouti
In 2010, in the History and Geography Textbook for 8th Grade, Djibouti’s Ministry of National Education and Higher Education, under the heading “Basic rules of IHL” and in a section on “Weapons and tactics”, stated: “It is prohibited to destroy objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population (foodstuffs, agricultural areas, drinking water installations, etc.).ˮ 
Djibouti, Ministry of National Education and Higher Education, History and Geography Textbook for 8th Grade, 2010, p. 194.
Djibouti
In 2011, in the History and Geography Textbook for 9th Grade, Djibouti’s Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training stated:
[1977] Additional Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions
Article 14 (…) It is … prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless, for that purpose, objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works. 
Djibouti, Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training, History and Geography Textbook for 9th Grade, 2011, p. 218.
Egypt
According to the Report on the Practice of Egypt, “attacks against … objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population are … prohibited” in Egypt. 
Report on the Practice of Egypt, 1997, Chapter 4.1.
France
Upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, France stated that it
considers that paragraph 2, Article 54 does not prohibit attacks carried out for a specific purpose, with the exception of those which aim at depriving the civilian population of objects indispensable to its survival and of those targeting objects which, although used by the adverse party, are not used solely for the sustenance of members of the armed forces. 
France, Reservations and declarations made upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, 11 April 2001, § 14.
Germany
At the 26th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in 1995, Germany stated: “The deprivation of resources necessary for survival, such as water, [has] been used repeatedly and [has] to be condemned.” 
Germany, Statement at the 26th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, Geneva, 3–7 December 1995.
Israel
According to the Report on the Practice of Israel, “the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] does not practice or condone the attack, destruction, removal or the rendering useless of objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population of the enemy, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the enemy or its civilian population”. 
Report on the Practice of Israel, 1997, Chapter 4.1.
Jordan
According to the Report on the Practice of Jordan, “Islamic law proscribes … the attack on objects that are indispensable to the survival of the civilian population”. 
Report on the Practice of Jordan, 1997, Chapter 4.1.
Kuwait
In 1990, in a letter addressed to the UN Secretary-General, Kuwait denounced Iraqi “practices, which are an affront to mankind and which violate all the values of Islam and of civilization, the principles of human rights and the relevant Geneva Conventions … [including] [c]learing of warehouses and co-operative societies of foodstuffs with a view to causing starvation among citizens”. 
Kuwait, Letter dated 5 August 1990 to the UN Secretary-General, UN Doc. S/21439, 5 August 1990.
Malaysia
The Report on the Practice of Malaysia states that Malaysia’s security forces, during the conflict against the communist opposition, left unharmed objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as cattle and water sources or supply. 
Report on the Practice of Malaysia, 1997, Chapter 4.1.
Philippines
The Guidelines on Evacuations adopted in 1991 by the Presidential Human Rights Committee of the Philippines provides:
The military is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable for the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural means for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestocks, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works [1977 Additional Protocol II, Art. 14]. 
Philippines, Presidential Human Rights Committee, Resolution No. 91-001 Providing for Guidelines on Evacuations, Manila, 26 March 1991, § 2.
Rwanda
On the basis of replies by army officers to a questionnaire, the Report on the Practice of Rwanda notes that it is a crime to attack objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, stating that it violates the principle of distinction between civilian objects and military objectives. 
Report on the Practice of Rwanda, 1997, Replies by army officers to a questionnaire, Chapter 4.1.
Somalia
In 1998, an ICRC publication entitled “Spared from the Spear” recorded traditional Somali practice in warfare as follows:
The leader … gave out the following instructions which were to be strictly followed:
12. You should leave the cleft-hoofed animals (i.e. cattle, sheep and goats) for the use of weak household members; and if a woman comes to you crying on account of a particular animal, then leave it behind for her. 
Somalia, Spared from the Spear, 1998, p. 25
The publication also described traditional Somali practice as follows:
[A]nimals such as cattle, sheep and goats, donkeys, mules and even burden camels (i.e. those used for transportation), were exempted from looting, since they formed the basic means of subsistence for the weak members of society such as women and children who did not take part in fighting. This was a measure designed to safeguard the general interest of society. In the same way, public utilities and resources which benefited all and belonged to no one in particular were not destroyed during conflict. For example, the setting of fire to bushes or grassy plains, thus destroying the grazing that supports the herds of livestock and the filling up or poisoning of water wells were strongly disapproved of and rarely done, if at all, since the damage resulting therefrom would affect everyone.
The burning of crops and the destruction of fruit trees were also unacceptable. Likewise, it was forbidden to randomly kill livestock and to slaughter female animals in general and pregnant ones in particular, unless compelled to do so by absolute necessity.
Such restrictions were based on the traditional view that fighting should be confined to men and that society and the resources essential to its sustenance should be preserved and protected. 
Somalia, Spared from the Spear, 1998, p. 49.
In 2011, in its comments on the concluding observations of the Human Rights Council concerning Somalia’s report, the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia referred to “Spared from the Spear” as its “own Geneva Conventions”:
In times of hostilities, the Biri-Ma-Geydo (Spared from the Spear), i.e. Somalia’s own “Geneva Conventions”[,] which existed long before the adoption of the Hague and Geneva Conventions, mitigated and regulated the conduct of clan hostilities and the treatment of immune groups. 
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, § 4.
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. Other provisions provide special protection for certain specific civilian objects, some of which are expected to bear distinctive signs: … goods indispensable for the survival of the population … Civilian objects are all objects which are not military objectives. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, ABC of International Humanitarian Law, 2009, p. 12.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
At the CDDH, the United Kingdom sponsored a draft article on the prohibition of starvation which contained the rule that it is “forbidden to attack, destroy, remove or render useless, crops, drinking water supplies, irrigation works, livestock, foodstuffs or food producing areas for the purpose of denying them to the enemy or the civilian population”. 
United Kingdom, Proposal of amendment to Article 48 of the draft Additional Protocol I submitted to the CDDH, Official Records, Vol. III, CDDH/III/67, 19 March 1974, p. 218, § 2.
The United Kingdom favoured an exhaustive list of objects considered indispensable to the survival of the civilian population instead of an illustrative list “to achieve greater clarity”. 
United Kingdom, Statement at the CDDH, Official Records, Vol. XIV, CDDH/III/SR.16, 19 March 1974, p. 139, § 56; see also Statement at the CDDH, Official Records, Vol. IV, CDDH/III/SR.17, 19 March 1974, p. 148, § 31.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, the United Kingdom stated that it “understands that paragraph 2 [of Article 54] has no application to attacks that are carried out for a specific purpose other than denying sustenance to the civilian population or the adverse party”. 
United Kingdom, Reservations and declarations made upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, 28 January 1998, § l.
United States of America
During the Korean War, the Commanding General of the US Far East Air Force refused to bomb dams in North Korea since he was “concerned over the political impact of destroying food crops” which would have resulted from such attacks. 
Robert F. Futrell, The United States Air Force in Korea 1950-1953, Office of Air Force History, US Air Force, Washington, D.C., Revised edition, 1983, p. 667.
Venezuela
In 1992, during a debate in the UN Security Council on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Venezuela declared:
Nor must we forget that the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide clearly states that genocide means inflicting on a group of human beings conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part. Article 54 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions also prohibits the destruction of infrastructure basic to life, such as electricity, drinking water, sewage and other public services. Such are the acts today being perpetrated in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. 
Venezuela, Statement before the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/PV. 3119, 6 October 1992, p. 9.
UN Security Council
In 1993, in a statement by its President on the situation in Sarajevo, the UN Security Council demanded “an end to the disruption of public utilities (including water, electricity, fuel and communications) by the Bosnian Serb party”. 
UN Security Council, Statement by the President, UN Doc. S/26134, 22 July 1993, p. 1.
UN Security Council
In 1998, in a statement by its President on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the UN Security Council recalled “the unacceptability of the destruction or rendering useless of objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, and in particular of using cuts in the electricity and water supply as a weapon against the population”. 
UN Security Council, Statement by the President, UN Doc. S/PRST/1998/26, 31 August 1998, p. 1.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 1990, the UN Commission on Human Rights expressed its “deepest concern at the worsening of the armed conflict in El Salvador”. It also expressed its “serious concern at the systematic attacks on the economic infrastructure which severely impaired the present and future enjoyment of important economic, social and cultural rights by the Salvadorian people” and requested that the parties to the conflict “guarantee respect for humanitarian standards applicable to non-international armed conflicts such as that in El Salvador”. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 1990/77, 7 March 1990, §§ 4 and 10, adopted without a vote.
UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 1993 on the situation of human rights in Iraq, the UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights expressed its deep concern about “the programme undertaken by the Iraqi Government to drain the southern marshlands”. It also called upon the Iraqi Government to stop “all draining schemes and destruction of the marshes” in southern Iraq. 
UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights, Res. 1993/20, 20 August 1993, preamble and § 2.
UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 1995 on the situation of human rights in Iraq, the UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights expressed its concern about “economic policy decisions depriving part of the national territory of supplies of medicines and foodstuffs”, as well as about “information that the population continues to flee the marshlands region … because of … the programme conducted by the Iraqi Government to drain the southern marshlands, which ha[s] led to a mass exodus”. The Sub-Commission called upon the Iraqi Government immediately “to cease all draining schemes and destruction of the marshes”. 
UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights, Res. 1995/3, 18 August 1995, preamble and § 2.
UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 1996 on the situation of human rights in Iraq, the UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights expressed its concern about “economic policy decisions depriving part of the national territory of supplies of medicines and foodstuffs”. 
UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights, Res. 1996/5, 19 August 1996, preamble.
UN Commission on Human Rights (Special Rapporteur)
In 1993, in a report on the situation of human rights in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, the Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights denounced the destruction of water treatment stations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which had exposed the civilian population to dehydration and disease. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Former Yugoslavia, Press Release HR/3462, 30 July 1993, § 6.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs
In 1998, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs issued a joint statement on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in which they expressed their concern that:
The humanitarian situation on the ground is steadily deteriorating, in particular in Kinshasa where electricity and water supplies have been disrupted sporadically over recent days … The United Nations and its agencies call on those who instigated these acts to immediately restore all vital basic services, in particular power supply and drinking-water to the capital, and to refrain from wilfully endangering the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children. 
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Press Release on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 21 August 1998, §§ 4 and 5.
UN Commission of Experts Established pursuant to Paragraph 1 of Security Council Resolution 935 (1994)
In 1994, in its interim report on grave violations of IHL in Rwanda, the UN Commission of Experts Established pursuant to Paragraph 1 of Security Council Resolution 935 (1994) determined that certain provisions of the 1977 Additional Protocol II, including Article 14, were violated in Rwanda “on a systematic, widespread and flagrant basis”. 
UN Commission of Experts Established pursuant to Paragraph 1 of Security Council Resolution 935 (1994), Interim report, UN Doc. S/1994/1125, 4 October 1994, Annex, § 107.
European Union
In a press statement issued in 1998 on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the EU Presidency condemned “acts of violence against civilians and any actions having a direct impact on the population, like … activities causing unnecessary suffering, as for instance the interruption of the provision of electricity that has severe humanitarian … consequences”. 
EU, Press Statement by the Presidency on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 27 August 1998.
OAU Conference of African Ministers of Health
In a resolution on health and war adopted in 1995, the OAU Conference of African Ministers of Health called upon member States to ban “the destruction or putting out of use the indispensable goods for the survival of the civilian population, such as food, livestock, drinking water installations and reservoirs and irrigation infrastructures”. 
OAU, Conference of African Ministers of Health, 26–28 April 1995, Res. 14(V), § 5(b).
International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (1995)
The 26th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in 1995 adopted a resolution on the protection of the civilian population in period of armed conflict in which it stressed “the prohibition on attacking, destroying, removing or rendering useless any objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population” and further stressed that “water is a vital resource for victims of armed conflict and the civilian population and is indispensable to their survival”. 
26th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, Geneva, 3–7 December 1995, Res. II, §§ E(b) and F(a).
International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (1999)
The Plan of Action for the years 2000–2003 adopted in 1999 by the 27th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent proposed that “States stress the provisions of international humanitarian law … on attacking, destroying, removing or rendering useless, for that purpose, objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population”. 
27th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, Geneva, 31 October–6 November 1999, Res. I, Annex 2, Plan of Action for the years 2000–2003, Actions proposed for final goal 1.1, § 2.
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 prohibition on attacks against objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, stated:
103. In its defense, [one party] asserted that … the reservoir was a legitimate military objective under the applicable customary international humanitarian law … [and] that Article 54 of [the 1977 Additional] Geneva Protocol I was a new development in 1977 that had not become a part of customary international humanitarian law by the 1998–2000 war.
104. The Commission recognizes the difficulty it faces in deciding this question, as there have been less than three decades for State practice relating to Article 54 to develop since its adoption in 1977. Article 54 represented a significant advance in the prior law when it was included in the Protocol in 1977, so it cannot be presumed that it had become part of customary international humanitarian law more than 20 years later. However, the Commission also notes the compelling humanitarian nature of that limited prohibition, as well as States’ increased emphasis on avoiding unnecessary injury and suffering by civilians resulting from armed conflict. The Commission also considers highly significant the fact that none of the 160 States that have become Parties to the Protocol has made any reservation or statement of interpretation rejecting or limiting the binding nature of that prohibition. Only two of those statements relate to the scope of the prohibition. One, by the United Kingdom, merely emphasizes what paragraph 2 of Article 54 says, i.e., that it prohibits only attacks that have the specific purpose of denying sustenance to the civilian population or the adverse Party. The other, by France, preserves a right to attack objects used solely for the sustenance of members of the armed forces. All other statements referring to Article 54 also refer to other articles, and relate solely to the thorny issue of the right of reprisal. The United States has not yet ratified Geneva Protocol I, but the Commission notes with interest that the United States Annotated Supplement (1997) to its Naval Handbook (1995) makes the significant comment that the rule prohibiting the intentional destruction of objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population for the specific purpose of denying the civilian population of their use is a “customary rule” accepted by the United States and codified by Article 54, paragraph 2, of Protocol I.
105. While the Protocol had not attained universal acceptance by the time these attacks occurred in 1999 and 2000, it had been very widely accepted. The Commission believes that, in those circumstances, a treaty provision of a compelling humanitarian nature that has not been questioned by any statements of reservation or interpretation and is not inconsistent with general State practice in the two decades since the conclusion of the treaty may reasonably be considered to have come to reflect customary international humanitarian law. Recalling the purpose of Article 54, the Commission concludes that the provisions of Article 54 that prohibit attack against drinking water installations and supplies that are indispensable to the survival of the civilian population for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the adverse Party had become part of customary international humanitarian law by 1999. 
Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission, Western Front, Aerial Bombardment and Related Claims, Eritrea’s Claim, Partial Award, 19 December 2005, §§ 103–105.
ICRC
To fulfil its task of disseminating IHL, the ICRC has delegates around the world teaching armed and security forces that:
It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population (e.g. foodstuffs, agricultural areas producing foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies, irrigation works) for the specific purpose of starvation. 
Frédéric de Mulinen, Handbook on the Law of War for Armed Forces, ICRC, Geneva, 1987, § 396.
ICRC
In an appeal issued in 1979 with respect to the conflict in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, the ICRC specifically requested the Transitional Government in Salisbury to “stop the destruction and confiscation by its armed forces of goods (food stocks, cattle) that are essential for the survival of the civilian population in the war-affected areas”. 
ICRC, Conflict in Southern Africa: ICRC appeal, 19 March 1979, § 6, IRRC, No. 209, 1979, p. 88.
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 ICRC invites States which are not party to 1977 Protocol I to respect, in the event of armed conflict, the following articles of the Protocol, which stem from the basic principle of civilian immunity from attack:
– Article 54: protection of objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population. 
ICRC, Memorandum on the Applicability of International Humanitarian Law, 14 December 1990, § II, IRRC, No. 280, 1991, p. 25.
National Society (Croatia)
In an appeal issued in 1991, the Croatian Red Cross and other Croatian organizations qualified the destruction of waterways and electrical transmission during the conflict in the former Yugoslavia as violations of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. 
Croatian Red Cross, Bishop’s conference Caritas, Medical section of the “Matica hrvatska” central national cultural association, Almae matris Croaticae alumni and the Croatian society for victimology, Appeal to all international health and humanitarian organizations, S.O.S. for people oppressed in Croatia, 18 July 1991.
ICRC
In an appeal issued in 1991, the ICRC enjoined the parties to the conflict in Yugoslavia “not to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population”. 
ICRC, Appeal in behalf of civilians in Yugoslavia, Geneva, 4 October 1991.
Council of Delegates (1991)
At its Budapest Session in 1991, the Council of Delegates adopted a resolution on the protection of the civilian population against famine in situations of armed conflict. In it, it reminded the authorities concerned and the armed forces under their command of their “obligation to apply international humanitarian law, in particular the following humanitarian principles … the prohibition on attacking, destroying, removing or rendering useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population”. 
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, Council of Delegates, Budapest Session, 28–30 November 1991, Res. 13, § 1.
ICRC
In a press release issued in 1992, the ICRC enjoined the parties to the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina “not to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population”. 
ICRC, Press Release No. 1705, Bosnia and Herzegovina: ICRC calls for protection of civilians, 10 April 1992.
ICRC
In two press releases issued in 1992, the ICRC enjoined the parties to the conflict in Afghanistan not to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population. 
ICRC, Press Release No. 1712, Afghanistan: ICRC appeals for compliance with humanitarian rules, 5 May 1992; Press Release No. 1726, Afghanistan: New ICRC appeal for compliance with humanitarian rules, 14 August 1992.
ICRC
In 1994, in a Memorandum on Respect for International Humanitarian Law in Angola, the ICRC stated: “It is prohibited to attack, destroy or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies.” 
ICRC, Memorandum on Respect for International Humanitarian Law in Angola, 8 June 1994, § II, IRRC, No. 320, 1997, p. 504.
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: “Objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, crops, livestock and drinking water installations and supplies, must not be attacked, destroyed or rendered useless.” 
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. 1309.
Institute of International Law
In a resolution adopted during its Edinburgh Session in 1969, the Institute of International Law stated:
Neither the civilian population nor any of the objects expressly protected by conventions or agreements can be considered as military objectives, nor yet … under whatsoever circumstances the means indispensable for the survival of the civilian population. 
Institute of International Law, Edinburgh Session, Resolution on the Distinction between Military Objectives and Non-military Objectives in General and Particularly the Problems Associated with Weapons of Mass Destruction, 9 September 1969, § 3.
Turku Declaration of Minimum Humanitarian Standards
The Turku Declaration of Minimum Humanitarian Standards, adopted by an expert meeting convened by the Institute for Human Rights of Åbo Akademi University in Turku/Åbo, Finland in 1990, states that “deliberate deprivation of access to necessary food, drinking water and medicine” is prohibited. 
Turku Declaration of Minimum Humanitarian Standards, adopted by an expert meeting convened by the Institute for Human Rights, Åbo Akademi University, Turku/Åbo, 30 November–2 December 1990, Article 3(2)(f), IRRC, No. 282, 1991, p. 331.
International Institute of Humanitarian Law
The Rules of International Humanitarian Law Governing the Conduct of Hostilities in Non-international Armed Conflicts, adopted in 1990 by the Council of the International Institute of Humanitarian Law, provide: “The general rule prohibiting attacks against the civilian population implies, as a corollary, the prohibition to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population.” 
International Institute of Humanitarian Law, Rules of International Humanitarian Law Governing the Conduct of Hostilities in Non-international Armed Conflicts, Rule A7, IRRC, No. 278, 1990, p. 393.
International Institute of Humanitarian Law
In 1995, the International Institute of Humanitarian Law stated that any declaration on minimum humanitarian standards should be based on “principles … of jus cogens, expressing basic humanitarian consideration[s] which are recognized to be universally binding”. According to the Institute, this includes the principle that “it is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable for the survival of the civilian population”.  
International Institute of Humanitarian Law, Comments on the Declaration of Minimum Humanitarian Standards submitted to the UN Secretary-General, §§ 1 and 15, reprinted in the Report of the Secretary-General prepared pursuant to UN Commission on Human Rights resolution 1995/29, UN Doc. E/CN.4/1996/80, 28 November 1995, pp. 8 and 10.
Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A)
The Report on SPLM/A Practice notes that the SPLM/A, when attacking government garrisons and other positions, does not spare objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population. The report cites examples such as the indiscriminate bombing of Juba and other towns in southern Sudan. 
Report on SPLM/A Practice, 1998, Chapter 4.1.