Practice Relating to Rule 54. Attacks against Objects Indispensable to the Survival of the Civilian Population
Section B. Attacks against objects used to sustain or support the adverse party
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands provides that objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population are not protected if these objects are used as sustenance only for the members of the opposing armed forces or, if not as sustenance, then in direct support of military action of the adverse party.
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states:
There are individual exceptions to the prohibition [on attacking, destroying, removing or rendering useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population]: if the relevant objects are used solely for the subsistence of members of the armed forces or, if not as subsistence, then in direct support of the adversary’s military operations. Another exception exists for a party to a conflict which is defending its own territory. Given the vital importance of the defence of its own territory, a party may, if compelling military necessity dictates, destroy essential objects or make them unusable … Placing parts of one’s own territory under water (flooding) is not forbidden under these rules.