Practice Relating to Rule 11. Indiscriminate Attacks
Sweden’s IHL Manual (1991) provides:
The inhuman effect on civilian populations has proved to be particularly great in attacks with a surface-covering effect directed against an area containing separate military targets among the civilian population and civilian objects. Because of their mode of operations, such attacks are termed indiscriminate attacks, meaning that the effects of the weapons strike military targets, civilian persons and civilian objects without discrimination.
Under Sweden’s Penal Code (1962), as amended in 1998, “initiating an indiscriminate attack knowing that such attack will cause exceptionally heavy losses or damage to civilians or to civilian property” constitutes a crime against international law.
At the CDDH, Sweden stated:
Article 46 [now Article 51 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I] might be considered as one of fundamental value for the whole Protocol. This article was elaborated during long negotiations in 1975 and was adopted in the same year by consensus in Committee III.
In 2007, the Swedish Ministers for Foreign Affairs and for International Development Cooperation stated: “Israel must … abide by international law regulations. The indiscriminate attacks in recent times that primarily affect innocent civilians on both sides are entirely unacceptable.”
In 2009, during a debate between party leaders in Parliament, Sweden’s Minister for Education and Research stated: “There are data confirming that, over a number of years, 8,000 rockets have been fired towards Israeli civilian communities by Hamas – indiscriminately. This is a grave breach of international humanitarian law.”
In 2009, in a statement during a meeting with non-governmental organizations operating in Gaza and in the West Bank, Sweden’s Minister for International Development Cooperation stated: “Both Israel and Hamas have acted in breach of humanitarian law. Indiscriminate firing on civilians is prohibited.”