Practice Relating to Rule 1. The Principle of Distinction between Civilians and Combatants
Section C. Attacks against civilians
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) states: “The civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians, shall not be the object of attack.”
The manual further states that “making the civilian population or individual civilians the object of attack” constitutes a grave breach.
With respect to non-international armed conflicts in particular, the manual states:
As in international armed conflict, the civilian population and civilians are to be protected against the dangers arising from the conflict. Neither the civilian population nor individual civilians may be made the object of attack.
New Zealand’s Geneva Conventions Act (1958), as amended in 1987, provides: “Any person who in New Zealand or elsewhere commits, or aids or abets or procures the commission by another person of, a grave breach … of [the 1977 Additional Protocol I] is guilty of an indictable offence.”
Under New Zealand’s International Crimes and ICC Act (2000), war crimes include the crimes defined in Article 8(2)(b)(i) and (e)(i) of the 1998 ICC Statute.