United States of America
Practice Relating to Rule 7. The Principle of Distinction between Civilian Objects and Military Objectives
Section D. Attacks against places of civilian concentration, including schools
The US Rules of Engagement for Operation Desert Storm (1991) gives the following instruction:
Do not fire into civilian populated areas or buildings which are not defended or being used for military purposes. [S]chools … will not be engaged except in self-defense. Do not attack traditional civilian objects, such as houses, unless they are being used by the enemy for military purposes and neutralization assists in mission accomplishment.
The US Naval Handbook (1995) states: “The wanton or deliberate destruction of areas of concentrated civilian habitation, including cities, towns, and villages, is prohibited.”
The US Naval Handbook (2007) states that examples of war crimes that could be considered as grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions include: “Wanton destruction of cities, towns, and villages or devastation not justified by the requirements of military operations.”
In 1991, in a report submitted to the UN Security Council on operations in the Gulf War, the United States denounced Iraq’s firing of surface-to-surface missiles at Saudi Arabia and Israel and stated: “Particularly in regard to Israel, Iraq has targeted these missiles against civilian areas in an obvious sign of Iraqi disregard for civilian casualties.”