Practice Relating to Rule 15. The Principle of Precautions in Attack

Note: For practice concerning measures to spare cultural and religious objects, see Rules 38–41.
Additional Protocol I
Article 57(1) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I states: “In the conduct of military operations, constant care shall be taken to spare the civilian population, civilians and civilian objects.” 
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 57(1). Article 57 was adopted by 90 votes in favour, none against and 4 abstentions. CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.42, 27 May 1977, p. 211.
Additional Protocol II
Article 13(1) of the 1977 Additional Protocol II provides: “The civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against the dangers arising from military operations.” 
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 13(1). Article 13 was adopted by consensus. CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VII, CDDH/SR.52, 6 June 1977, p. 134.
Additional Protocol II (draft)
Article 24(2) of the draft Additional Protocol II submitted by the ICRC to the CDDH provided: “Constant care shall be taken, when conducting military operations, to spare the civilian population, civilians and civilian objects. This rule shall, in particular, apply to the planning, deciding or launching of an attack.” 
CDDH, Official Records, Vol. I, Part Three, Draft Additional Protocols, June 1973, p. 40.
This provision was adopted in Committee III of the CDDH by 50 votes in favour, none against and 11 abstentions. 
CDDH, Official Records, Vol. XIV, CDDH/III/SR.37, 4 April 1975, p. 390, § 13.
Eventually, however, it was deleted in the plenary, because it failed to obtain the necessary two-thirds majority (36 in favour, 19 against and 36 abstentions). 
CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VII, CDDH/SR.52, 6 June 1977, p. 135.
Convention on Cluster Munitions
The preamble to the Convention on Cluster Munitions (2008) states that “in the conduct of military operations constant care shall be taken to spare the civilian population, civilians and civilian objects”. 
Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), Dublin, 30 May 2008, preamble, § 20
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 57 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 57 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.
Australia
Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) states: “In the conduct of military operations, constant care must be taken to spare the civilian population and civilian objects to the maximum extent possible.” 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, § 556.
Australia
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) states that “in the conduct of military operations, constant care must be taken to spare the civilian population and civilian objects to the maximum extent possible.” 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, § 5.61; see also §§ 6.26 and 8.50.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
Belgium
Belgium’s Law of War Manual (1983) states: “When preparing attacks, care shall be taken to spare the civilian population and civilian objects.” 
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) states: “Constant care shall be taken to spare the civilian population and civilian objects.” 
Benin, Le Droit de la Guerre, III fascicules, Forces Armées du Bénin, Ministère de la Défense nationale, 1995, Fascicule III, p. 11.
Burundi
Burundi’s Regulations on International Humanitarian Law (2007) states: “Constant care must be taken to spare the civilian population and civilian objects.” 
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. 92; see also Part I bis, pp. 40 and 80.
The Regulations also states: “During military operations, all measures must be taken, even at the lowest level of hierarchy, to avoid civilians being affected by the shooting.” 
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. 82.
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (1992) states: “A commander must take constant care to spare civilians and civilian objects.”  
Cameroon, Droit international humanitaire et droit de la guerre, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les Forces Armées, Présidence de la République, Ministère de la Défense, Etat-major des Armées, Troisième Division, Edition 1992, p. 95.
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (2006), under the heading “Rules for Conduct in Combat”, states: “Civilians: respect their possessions; do not cause any damage to them”. 
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. 31; see also pp. 51, 77 and 107.
The manual also states: “In case of armed conflict, the protection of [civilian] persons and objects must be the constant concern to commanders.” 
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. 163, § 461.
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) states: “Civilians are entitled to protection from the dangers arising from military operations. In conducting operations care should always be taken to spare civilians and civilian objects.” 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 4-2, § 15.
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001) states in its chapter on targeting: “Civilians are entitled to protection from the dangers arising from military operations. In conducting operations care should always be taken to spare civilians and civilian objects.” 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 411.
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 main aim of the precautions taken when planning military operations is to avoid civilian losses and damage … Precautions must be taken with respect to on-going military operations and to the movements and halts of the armed forces.” 
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 II, Section II, § 2.2.
In Volume 3, the manual also states in the section on conduct of operations: “Care must be taken at all times to spare the civilian population and civilian objects.” 
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 I.
Côte d’Ivoire
Côte d’Ivoire’s Teaching Manual (2007) provides in Book II (Instruction of non-commissioned officers and officers):
I.2 Duties of the non-commissioned officer or officer
Before the action, the non-commissioned officer or officer must:
- understand the given mission, including the environment (civilian population and objects, etc.),
During the action, he must:
- at all times fight with care so as to spare the lives of his men, of civilians, of wounded friends and enemies. 
Côte d’Ivoire, Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre II: Instruction du gradé et du cadre, Manuel de l’instructeur, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, p. 17; see also Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre III, Tome 1: Instruction de l’élève officier d’active de 1ère année, Manuel de l’élève, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, p. 40; 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. 66–67.
In Book III, Volume 1 (Instruction of first-year trainee officers), the Teaching Manual provides:
IV.1. During an attack (57 [Additional Protocol I])
Persons who plan or direct an attack against the enemy evidently wish to achieve their objective and to reduce to the minimum the risks to their own forces. The attacker must at the same time constantly strive to spare civilians and their property. The law contains clear instructions on the manner in which attacks must be planned and executed. 
Côte d’Ivoire, Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre III, Tome 1: Instruction de l’élève officier d’active de 1ère année, Manuel de l’élève, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, p. 48; see also 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, p. 70.
In Book IV (Instruction of heads of division and company commanders), the Teaching Manual provides:
The protection of civilians and of civilian objects is a fundamental principle of the LOAC. Parties to a conflict must distinguish between civilians and combatants as well as between civilian objects and military objectives. Civilians are entitled to protection against the dangers resulting from military operations. In the conduct of operations, one must always take care to spare civilians and civilian objects. 
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. 27–28.
Croatia
Croatia’s Commanders’ Manual (1992) states: “Constant care shall be taken to spare the civilian population, civilian persons and civilian objects.” 
Croatia, Basic Rules of the Law of Armed Conflicts – Commanders’ Manual, Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Defence, 1992, § 43.
Djibouti
Djibouti’s Manual on International Humanitarian Law (2004) states under the heading “Rules of Combat”: “Spare civilians and civilian objects.” 
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, p. 7.
Ecuador
Ecuador’s Naval Manual (1989) states: “All reasonable precautions must be taken to ensure that only military objectives are targeted so that civilians and civilian objects are spared as much as possible from the ravages of war”. 
Ecuador, Aspectos Importantes del Derecho Internacional Marítimo que Deben Tener Presente los Comandantes de los Buques, Academia de Guerra Naval, 1989, § 8.1.
France
France’s LOAC Manual (2000) states: “In the conduct of military operations, constant care shall be taken to spare the civilian population, civilians and civilian objects.” 
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, p. 98; see also 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. 4.
Germany
Germany’s Military Manual (1992) states: “The civilian population as such as well as individual civilians … shall be spared as far as possible.” 
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, § 404.
Germany
Germany’s Soldiers’ Manual (2006) states: “When attacking a military objective, all necessary precautions shall be taken to spare as far as possible the civilian population located in the area or in the immediate vicinity of the object.” 
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.
Hungary
Hungary’s Military Manual (1992) states: “All possible measures must be taken to spare civilian persons and objects [and] specifically protected persons and objects.” 
Hungary, A Hadijog, Jegyzet a Katonai, Föiskolák Hallgatói Részére, Magyar Honvédség Szolnoki Repülötiszti Föiskola, 1992, p. 45.
Israel
Israel’s Manual on the Laws of War (1998) states that there is an “obligation to refrain from harming civilians insofar as possible”. 
Israel, Laws of War in the Battlefield, Manual, Military Advocate General Headquarters, Military School, 1998, p. 42.
Israel
Israel’s Manual on the Rules of Warfare (2006) states that there is a “duty to refrain from attacking civilians as far as possible”. 
Israel, Rules of Warfare on the Battlefield, Military Advocate-General’s Corps Command, IDF School of Military Law, Second Edition, 2006, p. 29.
The Manual on the Rules of Warfare (2006) is a second edition of the Manual on the Laws of War (1998).
Italy
Italy’s LOAC Elementary Rules Manual (1991) states: “Constant care shall be taken to spare the civilian population, civilian persons and civilian objects.” 
Italy, Regole elementari di diritto di guerra, SMD-G-012, Stato Maggiore della Difesa, I Reparto, Ufficio Addestramento e Regolamenti, Rome, 1991, § 43.
Madagascar
Madagascar’s Military Manual (1994) states: “Constant care shall be taken to spare the civilian population as well as civilian objects.” 
Madagascar, Le Droit des Conflits Armés, Ministère des Forces Armées, August 1994, Fiche No. 6-O, § 11.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands states: “In the conduct of military operations, constant care shall be taken to spare the civilian population, civilians and civilian objects.” 
Netherlands, Toepassing Humanitair Oorlogsrecht, Voorschift No. 27-412/1, Koninklijke Landmacht, Ministerie van Defensie, 1993, p. V-10.
Netherlands
The Military Handbook (1995) of the Netherlands states: “The civilian population which does not participate in hostilities must be spared.” 
Netherlands, Handboek Militair, Ministerie van Defensie, 1995, p. 7-43, § 6.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states: “Belligerents must take every precaution in their actions against military targets to minimize victims among non-combatants (primarily civilians).” 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0225.
In its chapter on behaviour in battle, the manual states that “the civilian population of one’s own, as well as the adversary’s, side must be spared and protected”. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0507.
The manual further states: “In combat operations, everything practically possible should be done to make sure that the objectives to be attacked are not cultural property.” 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0529.
In addition, the manual provides:
A distinction must be made between precautions when attacking and precautions against the consequences of attacks (therefore “attacks” mean combat actions as a whole). In general, the rule is that, when carrying out military operations, constant care must be taken to spare the civilian population, individual civilians and civilian objects. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0541.
New Zealand
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) states: “In the conduct of military operations, constant care shall be taken to spare the civilian population, civilians and civilian objects.” 
New Zealand, Interim Law of Armed Conflict Manual, DM 112, New Zealand Defence Force, Headquarters, Directorate of Legal Services, Wellington, November 1992, § 518(1).
Nigeria
Nigeria’s Military Manual (1994) lists as one of the basic principles in the conduct of operations, every commander’s duty “to spare the civilian population, civilian persons and civilian objects”. The manual adds: “When planning action that could endanger civilian persons and objects therefore, care and precaution must be emphasised and exercised in the conduct of the war.” 
Nigeria, International Humanitarian Law (IHL), Directorate of Legal Services, Nigerian Army, 1994, p. 42, § 11.
Nigeria
Nigeria’s Military Manual (1994) and Soldiers’ Code of Conduct state: “Civilian persons and objects must be spared.” 
Nigeria, International Humanitarian Law (IHL), Directorate of Legal Services, Nigerian Army, 1994, p. 39, § 5(c); Code of Conduct for Combatants, “The Soldier’s Rules”, Nigerian Army, undated, § 3.
Peru
Peru’s IHL Manual (2004) states:
(8) … [T]he commander assigned to the mission must take the precautions required to ensure respect for international humanitarian law.
(9) Before taking a final decision, the commander must assess the options resulting from his analysis.
He must then assess the following factors:
(a) obstacles to the mission;
(b) precautions required under international humanitarian law;
(c) the estimated cost of the planned operation (for example, expected casualties among his own troops and civilian casualties and material damage in relation to the military advantage that can be expected to be gained).
The commander takes a decision based on his final assessment of these factors and then chooses the solution that poses the least danger to civilians and civilian property (for example, more movement and manoeuvring and less fire, action that involves less risk for the civilian environment) and is in compliance with international humanitarian law. 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial Nº 1394-2004-DE/CCFFAA/CDIH-FFAA, Lima, 1 December 2004, § 24.a.(8) and (9).
The manual further states: “An attacking commander must do everything in his power to protect civilians.” 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial Nº 1394-2004-DE/CCFFAA/CDIH-FFAA, Lima, 1 December 2004, § 26.h.
The manual also states: “In general, in the conduct of military operations, constant care must be taken to spare the civilian population, civilians and civilian objects.”  
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial Nº 1394-2004-DE/CCFFAA/CDIH-FFAA, Lima, 1 December 2004, § 29.f.
The manual also provides:
(12) When the tactical situation permits, commanders should provide the civilian authorities with information on the likely course of military operations and the risks they could pose for the civilian population and civilian property.
(13) Such information often includes recommendations for specific action and/or behaviour (for example, recommendations to take shelter or stay away from specific areas or routes used by the armed forces). 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial Nº 1394-2004-DE/CCFFAA/CDIH-FFAA, Lima, 1 December 2004, § 24.a.(12)–(13).
Philippines
The Philippines’ AFP Standing Rules of Engagement (2005) states:
8. General Rules for the Correct Use of Force towards Mission Accomplishment
d. Commanders must be aware of, and sensitive to, the points stated in the definition of strategic implications of tactical operations. In particular, military operations shall be conducted in a manner that shall entail:
1) The least possible impact of such operations on the larger community of non-combatants, especially on their livelihood and normal conduct of everyday life;
2) Minimum evacuation from homes and/or areas of food production. 
Philippines, AFP Standing Rules of Engagement, Armed Forces of the Philippines, General Headquarters, Office of the Chief of Staff, 1 December 2005, § 8(d)(1)–(2).
Romania
Romania’s Soldiers’ Manual (1991) states that combatants must “spare civilians and their property”. 
Romania, Manualul Soldatului, Ghid de comportare în luptă, Asociaţia Română de Drept Umanitar (ARDU), 1991, p. 4.
South Africa
South Africa’s LOAC Teaching Manual (2008) states:
Article 57 of [the 1977] Additional Protocol I determines that constant care shall be taken in the conduct of military operations, to spare the civilian population, civilians and civilian objects.
Protection of protected persons entails the following:
- Constant care must be taken in the conduct of military operations, to spare the civilian population, civilians and civilian objects. 
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. 119 and 124–125.
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) states: “Constant care shall be taken to spare the civilian population, civilian persons and civilian objects.” 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Publicación OR7-004, 2 Tomos, aprobado por el Estado Mayor del Ejército, División de Operaciones, 18 March 1996, Vol. I, § 10.8.e.(1); see also § 2.3.b.(2).
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states:
In the conduct of military operations, constant care must be taken, to the extent possible, to spare the civilian population, civilians and civilian objects. …
The term “to the extent possible” means that the precautions should be practicable or practically possible, taking into account all circumstances prevailing at the time, including humanitarian and military considerations. 
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, § 4.3; see also §§ 3.1.d.(1) and 4.5.a.
Sweden
Sweden’s IHL Manual (1991) states that the precautions in attack “have come about only to protect the civilian population, individual civilians and civilian property in connection with military operations, and particularly when planning, deciding upon and executing attacks”. 
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. 68.
Switzerland
Switzerland’s Regulation on Legal Bases for Conduct during an Engagement (2005) states: “The precautionary measures thus aim to spare as far as possible the population and civilian objects during acts of war.” 
Switzerland, Bases légales du comportement à l’engagement (BCE), Règlement 51.007/IVf, Swiss Army, issued based on Article 10 of the Ordinance for the Organization of the Federal Department for Defence, Civil Protection and Sports of 7 March 2003, entry into force on 1 July 2005, § 171. The German language version notes: “The precautionary measures thus command that in the conduct of any military operations constant care is taken to spare the civilian population and civilian objects as far as possible” [“Die Vorsichtsmassnahmen gebieten es somit, bei jeglichen Kriegshandlungen immer darauf zu achten, dass die Zivilbevölkerung und zivile Objekte nach Möglichkeit verschont bleiben.”]
Togo
Togo’s Military Manual (1996) states: “Constant care shall be taken to spare the civilian population and civilian objects.” 
Togo, Le Droit de la Guerre, III fascicules, Etat-major Général des Forces Armées Togolaises, Ministère de la Défense nationale, 1996, Fascicule III, p. 11.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states: “In the conduct of military operations, constant care shall be taken to spare the civilian population, civilians and civilian objects.” 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 5.32.
United States of America
The US Air Force Pamphlet (1976) states: “In conducting military operations, constant care must be taken to spare the civilian population, civilians, and civilian objects.” 
United States, Air Force Pamphlet 110-31, International Law – The Conduct of Armed Conflict and Air Operations, US Department of the Air Force, 1976, § 5-3(c)(1)(a).
United States of America
The US Naval Handbook (1995) states: “All reasonable precautions must be taken to ensure that only military objectives are targeted so that civilians and civilian objects are spared as much as possible from the ravages of war.” 
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.
United States of America
The US Naval Handbook (2007) states: “The law of targeting, therefore, requires that all reasonable precautions must be taken to ensure that only military objectives are targeted so that noncombatants, civilians, and civilian objects are spared as much as possible from the ravages of war.” 
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, § 8.1.
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).
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 57(1), and any “contravention” of the 1977 Additional Protocol II, including violations of Article 13(1), are punishable offences. 
Ireland, Geneva Conventions Act, 1962, as amended in 1998, Section 4(1) and (4).
Norway
Norway’s Military Penal Code (1902), as amended 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).
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.
Spain
In 2010, in the Couso case, which concerned the killing of a Spanish journalist in Baghdad on 8 April 2003 by troops of the United States of America, the Criminal Chamber of Spain’s Supreme Court noted:
[A]s alleged [by the appellants], the appealed order [presently under review] seems to place an emphasis, in order to terminate the proceedings, on the second section of Article 611(1) of the PC [Penal Code (1995)] when it is clear that on the last occasion the examining magistrate also based his proceedings on the first section referring to those who carry out or order an indiscriminate or excessive attack … [T]he latter should be evaluated by the Court, as was expressed in the dissenting opinion, according to the principles of International Humanitarian and customary law, and not in an anticipated manner. As a result the appealed order lacks the necessary reasoning, as it ignores the substantial grounds [raised] in the second indictment order …
In addition, the appealed order … reaches a conclusion concerning the termination of the proceedings in accordance with Article 637(2) LECr [Law on Criminal Prosecution of 1881] (as the facts did not constitute an offence) solely based on the allegation that there was a mistake by the acting [US] armed forces.
In this way, the order insists on the “credibility that there was a visual mistake concerning the presence of a sniper in the hotel, [and that this was] the reason that the decision to attack the building was [taken], in terms of prevention, in order to secure the area”. 
Spain, Supreme Court, Couso case, Judgment, 13 July 2010, Section II(II), Segundo, § 3, p. 8.
[emphasis in original]
The Court further referred to norms of IHL relevant to the case under review, including Article 51(1) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, 
Spain, Supreme Court, Couso case, Judgment, 13 July 2010, Section II(II), Sexto, § 2, p. 14.
and restated Articles 57(1) and 85(3)(a) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
Spain, Supreme Court, Couso case, Judgment, 13 July 2010, Section II(II), Sexto, § 2, pp. 15–16.
The Court also held:
The appealed decision declared the termination of the proceedings … as it considered that the “facts [of] the case did not constitute an offence” … [H]owever, the proceedings carried out do not permit sharing the conclusions of the first instance tribunal; rather, the facts [denounced] merit being subsumed under the cited penal provisions and the aforementioned norms of International Humanitarian Law. 
Spain, Supreme Court, Couso case, Judgment, 13 July 2010, Section II(II), Sexto, § 2, p. 16.
[emphasis in original]
In deciding upon a breach of the law due to the failure to apply the national and international provisions on the principle of precaution, the Court held:
1. … [T]here is no indication that the hotel was being used as a “shield” to commit an action against the accused, as was claimed by the Prosecution Service at one point and accepted by the appealed order. There is no trace – as opposed to what is stated in the order – that there was a visual mistake concerning the presence of a sniper … in the hotel. … [There is also no evidence] that the [US] tank was fired upon in the 35 minutes prior [to the attack on the hotel] or that there was anti-vehicle artillery capable of reaching it from the hotel, taking into account that the tank was more than 1500 metres away and that an RPG grenade launcher does not reach more than 650 metres. …
2. Due to their similarity with this matter, we must refer to what has been said in relation to the fifth and sixth issues raised by the previous appellants concerning the existence of rational indications of the commission of an offence which violate the ius in bello, namely the norms of International Humanitarian Law that must be observed by belligerents. 
Spain, Supreme Court, Couso case, Judgment, 13 July 2010, Section II(III), Octavo, §§ 1–2, p. 17; see also Section II(II), Sexto, § 2, p. 16.
[emphasis in original]
The Court upheld the appeal against the order of 23 October 2009 by the Third Section of the Criminal Chamber of the Spanish National Court, which declared the termination of the proceedings, and held that “the proceedings must continue, and the outstanding preparatory enquiries must be undertaken, as well as any others arising from the clarification of the events under investigation.” 
Spain, Supreme Court, Couso case, Judgment, 13 July 2010, Section III, pp. 20–21.
Algeria
The Report on the Practice of Algeria states that during the war of independence the Armée de Libération Nationale (ALN) always tried to avoid hostilities in towns in order to spare needless casualties among the civilian population. 
Report on the Practice of Algeria, 1997, Chapter 1.5, referring to El Moudjahid, Vol. 1, p. 440.
Australia
In 2009, in a ministerial statement before the House of Representatives on the situation in Sri Lanka, Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs stated: “Australia calls on all those involved in the fighting to make protecting civilians an absolute priority … All parties must ensure that civilians can leave the conflict zone safely.” 
Australia, House of Representatives, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ministerial statement: Situation in Sri Lanka, Hansard, 5 February 2009, p. 623.
While the core challenges in the protection of civilians identified in the previous reports of the Secretary-General still need our sustained attention, the new report also identifies several protection policy priorities that need to be explored. In particular the following “emerging” issues would benefit from our attention, and the Group of Friends stands ready to act as a platform to advance them. …
… [O]n the issue of lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS), the Group is of the view that further discussions are needed and it welcomes the fact that the issue will be examined in Geneva in May 2014, in the framework of the CCW [Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons]. The Group hopes that such discussions will also examine the issue with due consideration to the protection of civilians as part of a comprehensive debate including legal, military operational, technological and ethical perspectives. In time discussion should focus on the relevance of such systems to the protection of civilians, in particular in the context of IHL and with regard to the principles of distinction, precaution and proportionality. 
Australia, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland during a UN Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict made on behalf of the Group of Friends on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, namely Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay, 12 February 2014, p. 2.
While the core challenges in the protection of civilians identified in the previous reports of the Secretary-General still need our sustained attention, the new report also identifies several protection policy priorities that need to be explored. In particular the following “emerging” issues would benefit from our attention, and the Group of Friends stands ready to act as a platform to advance them. …
… [O]n the issue of lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS), the Group is of the view that further discussions are needed and it welcomes the fact that the issue will be examined in Geneva in May 2014, in the framework of the CCW [Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons]. The Group hopes that such discussions will also examine the issue with due consideration to the protection of civilians as part of a comprehensive debate including legal, military operational, technological and ethical perspectives. In time discussion should focus on the relevance of such systems to the protection of civilians, in particular in the context of IHL and with regard to the principles of distinction, precaution and proportionality. 
Belgium, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland during a UN Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict made on behalf of the Group of Friends on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, namely Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay, 12 February 2014, p. 2.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
In 1992, the Presidency of the Republika Srpska of Bosnia and Herzegovina made an urgent appeal “to spare [the] civilian population from all attacks”. 
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republika Srpska, Appeal of the Presidency concerning the International Committee of the Red Cross Operations, Pale, 7 June 1992.
While the core challenges in the protection of civilians identified in the previous reports of the Secretary-General still need our sustained attention, the new report also identifies several protection policy priorities that need to be explored. In particular the following “emerging” issues would benefit from our attention, and the Group of Friends stands ready to act as a platform to advance them. …
… [O]n the issue of lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS), the Group is of the view that further discussions are needed and it welcomes the fact that the issue will be examined in Geneva in May 2014, in the framework of the CCW [Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons]. The Group hopes that such discussions will also examine the issue with due consideration to the protection of civilians as part of a comprehensive debate including legal, military operational, technological and ethical perspectives. In time discussion should focus on the relevance of such systems to the protection of civilians, in particular in the context of IHL and with regard to the principles of distinction, precaution and proportionality.  
Brazil, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland during a UN Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict made on behalf of the Group of Friends on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, namely Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay, 12 February 2014, p. 2.
Canada
In 2012, in a statement on the strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations, the permanent representative of Canada stated: “We urge all parties to the conflict [in Syria] to fully respect their obligations, especially their obligations to take constant care to spare the civilian population from the effects of hostilities.” 
Canada, Statement by the permanent representative of Canada on the strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations, 13 December 2012.
While the core challenges in the protection of civilians identified in the previous reports of the Secretary-General still need our sustained attention, the new report also identifies several protection policy priorities that need to be explored. In particular the following “emerging” issues would benefit from our attention, and the Group of Friends stands ready to act as a platform to advance them. …
… [O]n the issue of lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS), the Group is of the view that further discussions are needed and it welcomes the fact that the issue will be examined in Geneva in May 2014, in the framework of the CCW [Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons]. The Group hopes that such discussions will also examine the issue with due consideration to the protection of civilians as part of a comprehensive debate including legal, military operational, technological and ethical perspectives. In time discussion should focus on the relevance of such systems to the protection of civilians, in particular in the context of IHL and with regard to the principles of distinction, precaution and proportionality. 
Canada, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland during a UN Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict made on behalf of the Group of Friends on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, namely Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay, 12 February 2014, p. 2.
While the core challenges in the protection of civilians identified in the previous reports of the Secretary-General still need our sustained attention, the new report also identifies several protection policy priorities that need to be explored. In particular the following “emerging” issues would benefit from our attention, and the Group of Friends stands ready to act as a platform to advance them. …
… [O]n the issue of lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS), the Group is of the view that further discussions are needed and it welcomes the fact that the issue will be examined in Geneva in May 2014, in the framework of the CCW [Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons]. The Group hopes that such discussions will also examine the issue with due consideration to the protection of civilians as part of a comprehensive debate including legal, military operational, technological and ethical perspectives. In time discussion should focus on the relevance of such systems to the protection of civilians, in particular in the context of IHL and with regard to the principles of distinction, precaution and proportionality. 
France, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland during a UN Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict made on behalf of the Group of Friends on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, namely Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay, 12 February 2014, p. 2.
While the core challenges in the protection of civilians identified in the previous reports of the Secretary-General still need our sustained attention, the new report also identifies several protection policy priorities that need to be explored. In particular the following “emerging” issues would benefit from our attention, and the Group of Friends stands ready to act as a platform to advance them. …
… [O]n the issue of lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS), the Group is of the view that further discussions are needed and it welcomes the fact that the issue will be examined in Geneva in May 2014, in the framework of the CCW [Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons]. The Group hopes that such discussions will also examine the issue with due consideration to the protection of civilians as part of a comprehensive debate including legal, military operational, technological and ethical perspectives. In time discussion should focus on the relevance of such systems to the protection of civilians, in particular in the context of IHL and with regard to the principles of distinction, precaution and proportionality. 
Germany, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland during a UN Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict made on behalf of the Group of Friends on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, namely Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay, 12 February 2014, p. 2.
Indonesia
On the basis of an interview with a senior officer of the armed forces, the Report on the Practice of Indonesia states that the Indonesian armed forces normally observe the precautions listed in Article 57 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
Report on the Practice of Indonesia, 1997, Interview with a senior officer of the Indonesian armed forces, Chapter 1.6.
Israel
In 2008, in a background paper on Israel’s operations in Gaza, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated:
In practice, two key questions arise in relation to the legitimacy of the planning … of an operation: 1) Is the target itself a legitimate military objective? and 2) Even if the target is in itself legitimate, is there likely to be disproportionate injury and damage to the civilian population and civilian property. 
Israel, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Background paper, Responding to Hamas Attacks from Gaza: Issues of Proportionality, December 2008, § 1.
Israel
In July 2010, in a second update of its July 2009 report on Israeli operations in Gaza between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated:
150. The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] has adopted important new written procedures and doctrine designed to enhance the protection of civilians in urban warfare, including by further emphasizing that the protection of civilians is an integral part of a commander’s mission. In addition, the procedures require increased attention to civilian matters in operational planning. Although protection of civilians during military operations has long been part of IDF training and doctrine, the new procedures mandate additional comprehensive protection. These revised procedures stem from general understandings and lessons learned both in Gaza and other military operations conducted by Israel in recent years.
151. The new procedures and doctrine also specify steps to better insulate the civilian population from combat operations and to limit unnecessary damage to civilian property and infrastructure, and require integration of civilian interests into the planning of combat operations. This involves advance research into and the precise identification and marking of existing infrastructure, including that pertaining to water, food and power supplies, sewage, health services, educational institutions, religious sites, economic sites, factories, stores, communications and media, and other sensitive sites as well as cultural institutions.
152. Furthermore, the new written procedures mandate the planning for a number of additional provisions aimed at safeguarding the civilian population. This includes: safe havens for civilians to take refuge; evacuation routes for civilians to safely escape combat areas; medical treatment for civilians; methods for effectively communicating with and instructing the population; and provisions for humanitarian access during curfews, closures and limitations on movement. Finally, the new written procedures require the assignment of a Humanitarian Affairs Officer integrated in each combat unit beginning at the battalion level and up, with responsibilities for advising the commanding officer and educating the soldiers with regard to: the protection of civilians; civilian property and infrastructure; the planning of humanitarian assistance; the coordination of humanitarian movement; and the documentation of humanitarian safeguards employed by the IDF.
153. While the majority of these issues were already addressed in various operational orders and guidelines in existence prior to the Gaza Operation, the new revised procedures are important because they are comprehensive and applicable to all stages of military operations, including the crucial stage of planning. 
Israel, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Gaza Operation Investigations: Second Update, 19 July 2010, §§ 150–153.
[footnote in original omitted]
While the core challenges in the protection of civilians identified in the previous reports of the Secretary-General still need our sustained attention, the new report also identifies several protection policy priorities that need to be explored. In particular the following “emerging” issues would benefit from our attention, and the Group of Friends stands ready to act as a platform to advance them. …
… [O]n the issue of lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS), the Group is of the view that further discussions are needed and it welcomes the fact that the issue will be examined in Geneva in May 2014, in the framework of the CCW [Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons]. The Group hopes that such discussions will also examine the issue with due consideration to the protection of civilians as part of a comprehensive debate including legal, military operational, technological and ethical perspectives. In time discussion should focus on the relevance of such systems to the protection of civilians, in particular in the context of IHL and with regard to the principles of distinction, precaution and proportionality.  
Italy, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland during a UN Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict made on behalf of the Group of Friends on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, namely Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay, 12 February 2014, p. 2.
While the core challenges in the protection of civilians identified in the previous reports of the Secretary-General still need our sustained attention, the new report also identifies several protection policy priorities that need to be explored. In particular the following “emerging” issues would benefit from our attention, and the Group of Friends stands ready to act as a platform to advance them. …
… [O]n the issue of lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS), the Group is of the view that further discussions are needed and it welcomes the fact that the issue will be examined in Geneva in May 2014, in the framework of the CCW [Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons]. The Group hopes that such discussions will also examine the issue with due consideration to the protection of civilians as part of a comprehensive debate including legal, military operational, technological and ethical perspectives. In time discussion should focus on the relevance of such systems to the protection of civilians, in particular in the context of IHL and with regard to the principles of distinction, precaution and proportionality. 
Japan, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland during a UN Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict made on behalf of the Group of Friends on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, namely Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay, 12 February 2014, p. 2.
Liberia
In 1971, during a debate in the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly concerning respect for human rights in armed conflicts, Liberia stated that it “agreed wholeheartedly with the principle that, in the conduct of military operations, every effort should be made to spare civilian populations … as affirmed in [principle 3] of General Assembly resolution 2675 (XXV)”. 
Liberia, Statement before the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly, UN Doc. A/C.3/SR.1890, 1 December 1971, § 8.
Malaysia
According to the Report on the Practice of Malaysia, the obligation to take constant care to spare the civilian population and civilian objects in the conduct of military operations forms part of Malaysian practice. 
Report on the Practice of Malaysia, 1997, Answers to additional questions on Chapter 1.6.
Netherlands
According to the Government of the Netherlands, commanders have to take all the precautionary measures required by Article 57 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I when carrying out an attack. 
Netherlands, Lower House of Parliament, Memorandum in response to the report on the ratification of the Additional Protocols, 1985–1986 Session, Doc. 18 277 (R 1247), No. 6, 16 December 1985, p. 7, § 17.
Netherlands
In 2006, in reply to a written question from the Parliament concerning measures taken to prevent civilian casualties when attacking targets from the air, the Minister of Defence of the Netherlands stated: “In practice, Dutch fighter pilots will not commence with the attack on a target, if the possibility exists that civilians are in the vicinity of that target.” 
Netherlands, Lower House of Parliament, Statement by the Minister of Defence, Handelingen, 2005–2006 Session, 18 September 2006, Appendix No. 2149, p. 4572.
Netherlands
In 2007, in reply to a written question from the Parliament regarding civilian casualties in Afghanistan, the Ministers of Defence and Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands stated:
The Netherlands takes every measure to prevent civilian casualties. Every time the Dutch air force supports OEF-units, the Dutch Rules of Engagement apply. These Rules state that the crews of F-16’s, before commencing with the attack, at all times need to positively identify the designated target, identify whether unarmed civilians are in the vicinity of the target and collateral damage can be avoided. If these preconditions cannot be met, then the mission should be aborted. Until now, this has occurred a number of times. 
Netherlands, Lower House of Parliament, Statement by Ministers of Defence and Foreign Affairs, 25 June 2007, Handelingen, 2006–2007 Session, Appendix No. 1940, p. 4104.
While the core challenges in the protection of civilians identified in the previous reports of the Secretary-General still need our sustained attention, the new report also identifies several protection policy priorities that need to be explored. In particular the following “emerging” issues would benefit from our attention, and the Group of Friends stands ready to act as a platform to advance them. …
… [O]n the issue of lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS), the Group is of the view that further discussions are needed and it welcomes the fact that the issue will be examined in Geneva in May 2014, in the framework of the CCW [Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons]. The Group hopes that such discussions will also examine the issue with due consideration to the protection of civilians as part of a comprehensive debate including legal, military operational, technological and ethical perspectives. In time discussion should focus on the relevance of such systems to the protection of civilians, in particular in the context of IHL and with regard to the principles of distinction, precaution and proportionality. 
Norway, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland during a UN Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict made on behalf of the Group of Friends on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, namely Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay, 12 February 2014, p. 2.
Somalia
In 2011, in its report to the Human Rights Council, Somalia stated: “The Government forces are also bound to respect customary IHL rules relating to the prohibited methods and means of warfare including … precautions in attack”. 
Somalia, Report to the Human Rights Council, 11 April 2011, UN Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/11/SOM/1, § 76.
Somalia
In 2011, during the consideration of Somalia’s report to the Human Rights Council, a statement of the delegation of Somalia was summarized by the Council as follows: “The principle … of precaution must be respected in the conduct of military operations.” 
Somalia, Statement by the Delegation of Somalia before the Human Rights Council during the consideration of the report of Somalia, published in the Report of the Working Group of the Human Rights Council on the Universal Periodic Review, 11 July 2011, UN Doc. A/HRC/18/6, § 68.
Somalia
In 2011, in its comments on the concluding observations of the Human Rights Council concerning Somalia’s report, Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government stated: “The Government is taking all necessary measures to protect the lives of civilians.” 
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, § 98.76.
South Africa
In its consideration of the legality of the 1978 attack by the South African Defence Forces on the South Western Africa People’s Organisation’s (SWAPO) base/refugee camp at Kassinga in Angola, the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission stated: “International humanitarian law stipulates that a distinction must at all times be made between persons taking part in hostilities and civilians, with the latter being spared as much as possible.” 
South Africa, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, 1998, Vol. 2, pp. 52–55, §§ 44–45.
Humanitarian law is based on a number of fundamental principles. They are apparent in current treaties and customary law and express the core of humanitarian law. They concern the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution, the prohibition on causing superfluous damage and unnecessary suffering and the principle of non-discrimination as well as the so called Martens Clause. 
Sweden, Government Bill 2013/14:146 on criminal liability for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, 20 February 2014, p. 33.
Switzerland
Switzerland’s ABC of International Humanitarian Law (2009) states:
Precaution
Although military operations can be legitimately carried out against Military objectives only, this does not prevent civilians or civilian objects from being harmed. In order to protect them, international humanitarian law requires that, in the conduct of military operations, constant care shall be taken to spare civilians and civilian objects. This is what is called the principle of precaution. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, ABC of International Humanitarian Law , 2009, p. 34.
Switzerland
In 2009, in a statement before the UN Security Council during an open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, the permanent representative of Switzerland stated:
The current situation in Gaza cries out to us the importance of the issue we are discussing today. The main victims of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are civilians. Switzerland is deeply shocked by the very high number of civilians that have been killed or wounded in this conflict, and in particular the high number of child victims. …
Switzerland therefore reiterates its call for … strict compliance with international law by all parties to the conflict. This includes in particular the obligation to respect the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution. 
Switzerland, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland before the UN Security Council on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, 14 January 2009, p. 5.
Switzerland
In 2010, in its Report on IHL and Current Armed Conflicts, Switzerland’s Federal Council stated:
Military responses to guerrilla tactics must be in conformity with the requirements of international humanitarian law. There is a consensus today that the majority of the provisions of [the 1977] Additional Protocol I apply equally to non-international armed conflicts, through customary law. … Even if combatants blend in with the civilian population and use it as a human shield in violation of the law, measures should be taken in order to carry out attacks in a targeted manner and to spare civilians as much as feasible (for example by warning them in advance). 
Switzerland, Federal Council, Report on IHL and Armed Conflicts, 17 September 2010, Section 3.4, p. 13.
[footnotes in original omitted]
Switzerland
In 2012, Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs issued a press release entitled “Official visit by the Palestinian President”, which stated:
During the meeting, the Head of the FDFA [Federal Department of Foreign Affairs] expressed his deep concern at the escalation of violence throughout the region. It is crucial that all measures of precaution be taken so as to spare the civilian population from the effects of the hostilities being conducted in one of the most densely populated zones in the world. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, “Official visit by the Palestinian President”, Press Release, 15 November 2012.
Switzerland
In 2013, in answer to an interpellation in Parliament regarding the use of drones, Switzerland’s Federal Council stated:
In armed conflicts, strikes carried out with armed drones must respect the rules of the conduct of hostilities as stipulated by international humanitarian law, including the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution, and must therefore not be directed against civilians or civilian objects. For each strike, it is thus necessary to verify that these principles were respected. 
Switzerland, Answer by the Federal Council to interpellation 13.3245 in Parliament regarding the use of drones, 29 May 2013.
Switzerland
In 2013, in a statement before the UN Security Council during a debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict made on behalf of the group of friends on the protection of civilians, Switzerland’s chargé d’affaires a.i. stated: “Parties to conflict too often fail to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law, which requires all parties to conflict to spare the civilian population from the effects of hostilities.” 
Switzerland, Statement by the chargé d’affaires a.i. of Switzerland before the UN Security Council during a debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict made on behalf of the Group of Friends on the Protection of Civilians, namely Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay, 19 August 2013.
Switzerland
In 2013, in a statement at the Meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the permanent representative of Switzerland stated:
The community of States cannot remain indifferent to the human suffering caused by armed conflicts. It was in direct response to this fundamental concern that the CCW [1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons] and its protocols were adopted, with a view to prohibiting or limiting the use of certain specific types of weapons known to inflict superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering, or to strike indiscriminately.
In this regard, Switzerland is deeply concerned by the alleged use of weapons in Syria falling within the ambit of the CCW and its respective protocols, such as the alleged use of anti-personnel mines as well as the alleged use of incendiary weapons in populated areas causing severe human suffering. We call upon all parties to the conflict to comply with their obligations under international law, in particular the principles of distinction, precaution, and proportionality. 
Switzerland, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland at the Meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, 14 November 2013.
Syrian Arab Republic
The Report on the Practice of the Syrian Arab Republic asserts that the Syrian Arab Republic considers Article 57 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I to be part of customary international law. 
Report on the Practice of the Syrian Arab Republic, 1997, Chapter 1.6.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 1938, during a debate in the House of Commons, the UK Prime Minister listed among rules of international law applicable to warfare on land, at sea and from the air the rule that “reasonable care must be taken in attacking these military objectives so that by carelessness a civilian population in the neighbourhood is not bombed”. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Statement by the Prime Minister, Sir Neville Chamberlain, 21 June 1938, Hansard, Vol. 337, cols. 937–938.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK Government Strategy on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict (2010) states: “IHL requires parties to a conflict to respect and protect civilians. … They must take constant care to spare civilians and civilian objects from the effects of hostilities.” 
United Kingdom, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Government Strategy on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, March 2010, p. 4.
While the core challenges in the protection of civilians identified in the previous reports of the Secretary-General still need our sustained attention, the new report also identifies several protection policy priorities that need to be explored. In particular the following “emerging” issues would benefit from our attention, and the Group of Friends stands ready to act as a platform to advance them. …
… [O]n the issue of lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS), the Group is of the view that further discussions are needed and it welcomes the fact that the issue will be examined in Geneva in May 2014, in the framework of the CCW [Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons]. The Group hopes that such discussions will also examine the issue with due consideration to the protection of civilians as part of a comprehensive debate including legal, military operational, technological and ethical perspectives. In time discussion should focus on the relevance of such systems to the protection of civilians, in particular in the context of IHL and with regard to the principles of distinction, precaution and proportionality. 
United Kingdom, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland during a UN Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict made on behalf of the Group of Friends on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, namely Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay, 12 February 2014, p. 2.
United States of America
In 1972, the General Counsel of the US Department of Defense stated that the United States regarded the principle contained in UN General Assembly Resolution 2444 (XXIII) of 1968 that “a distinction must be made at all times between persons taking part in the hostilities and members of the civilian population to the effect that the civilians be spared as much as possible … as declaratory of existing customary international law”. 
United States, Letter from J. Fred Buzhardt, General Counsel of the Department of Defense, to Senator Edward Kennedy, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Refugees of the Committee on the Judiciary, 22 September 1972, AJIL, Vol. 67, 1973, p. 122.
United States of America
According to the Report on US Practice, it is the opinio juris of the United States that a “distinction must be made between persons taking part in the hostilities and members of the civilian population to the effect that the civilians be spared as much as possible”. 
Report on US Practice, 1997, Chapter 1.4.
While the core challenges in the protection of civilians identified in the previous reports of the Secretary-General still need our sustained attention, the new report also identifies several protection policy priorities that need to be explored. In particular the following “emerging” issues would benefit from our attention, and the Group of Friends stands ready to act as a platform to advance them. …
… [O]n the issue of lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS), the Group is of the view that further discussions are needed and it welcomes the fact that the issue will be examined in Geneva in May 2014, in the framework of the CCW [Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons]. The Group hopes that such discussions will also examine the issue with due consideration to the protection of civilians as part of a comprehensive debate including legal, military operational, technological and ethical perspectives. In time discussion should focus on the relevance of such systems to the protection of civilians, in particular in the context of IHL and with regard to the principles of distinction, precaution and proportionality. 
Uruguay, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland during a UN Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict made on behalf of the Group of Friends on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, namely Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay, 12 February 2014, p. 2.
Zimbabwe
The Report on the Practice of Zimbabwe states that the provisions of Article 57 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I would be regarded as customary by Zimbabwe because of its adoption of the Geneva Conventions Amendment Act which incorporates the 1977 Additional Protocol I into Zimbabwe’s law and practice. 
Report on the Practice of Zimbabwe, 1998, Chapter 1.6.
UN General Assembly
UN General Assembly Resolution 2444 (XXIII), adopted in 1968, affirmed Resolution XXVIII of the 20th International Conference of the Red Cross in 1965 and the basic humanitarian principle applicable in all armed conflicts laid down therein that “distinction must be made at all times between persons taking part in the hostilities and members of the civilian population to the effect that the latter be spared as much as possible”. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 2444 (XXIII), 19 December 1968, § 1(c), voting record: 111-0-0-15.
UN General Assembly
UN General Assembly Resolution 2675 (XXV), adopted in 1970, states: “In the conduct of military operations, every effort should be made to spare civilian populations from the ravages of war, and all necessary precautions should be taken to avoid injury, loss or damage to civilian populations.” 
UN General Assembly, Res. 2675 (XXV), 9 December 1970, § 3, voting record: 109-0-8-10.
No data.
International Conference of the Red Cross (1965)
The 20th International Conference of the Red Cross in 1965 adopted a resolution on protection of civilian populations against the dangers of indiscriminate warfare in which it solemnly declared:
All Governments and other authorities responsible for action in armed conflicts should conform at least to the following principles: … that distinction must be made at all times between persons taking part in the hostilities and members of the civilian population to the effect that the latter be spared as much as possible. 
20th International Conference of the Red Cross, Vienna, 2–9 October 1965, Res. XXVIII.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
In its judgment in the Kupreškić case in 2000, the ICTY Trial Chamber stated that Article 57 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I was now part of customary international law, not only because it specified and fleshed out general pre-existing norms, but also because it did not appear to be contested by any State, including those who had not ratified the Protocol. The Trial Chamber also noted that in the case of attacks on military objectives causing damage to civilians, “international law contains a general principle prescribing that reasonable care must be taken in attacking military objectives so that civilians are not needlessly injured through carelessness”. 
ICTY, Kupreškić case, Judgment, 14 January 2000, § 524.
With reference to the Martens Clause, the Chamber held:
The prescriptions of … [Article 57 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I] (and of the corresponding customary rules) must be interpreted so as to construe as narrowly as possible the discretionary power to attack belligerents and, by the same token, so as to expand the protection accorded to civilians. 
ICTY, Kupreškić case, Judgment, 14 January 2000, § 525.
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 necessity of precautions in attack directed at protecting civilians, stated:
… The Commission also recognizes that not all of the obligations of Section III of Part III of [1949] Geneva Convention IV (the section that deals with occupied territories) can reasonably be applied to an armed force anticipating combat and present in an area for only a few days. Nevertheless, a State is obligated by the remainder of that Convention and by customary international humanitarian law to take appropriate measures to protect enemy civilians and civilian property present within areas under the control of its armed forces. 
Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission, Western Front, Aerial Bombardment and Related Claims, Eritrea’s Claim, Partial Award, 19 December 2005, § 27.
ICRC
To fulfil its task of disseminating IHL, the ICRC has delegates around the world teaching armed and security forces that: “Constant care shall be taken to spare the civilian population, civilian persons and civilian objects.” 
Frédéric de Mulinen, Handbook on the Law of War for Armed Forces, ICRC, Geneva, 1987, § 388.
ICRC
In an appeal issued in October 1973, the ICRC urged all the belligerents in the conflict in the Middle East (Egypt, Iraq, Israel and the Syrian Arab Republic) to observe forthwith, in particular, the provisions of, inter alia, Article 50(1) of the draft Additional Protocol I, which stated that “constant care shall be taken, when conducting military operations, to spare the civilian population, civilians and civilian objects”. All governments concerned replied favourably. 
ICRC, The International Committee’s Action in the Middle East, IRRC, No. 152, 1973, pp. 584–585.
ICRC
The ICRC Commentary on the Additional Protocols considers that the obligation to take constant care to spare the civilian population, civilians and civilian objects
appropriately supplements the basic rule [of distinction] … It is quite clear that by respecting this obligation the Parties to the conflict will spare the civilian population, civilians and civilian objects … This is only an enunciation of a general principle which is already recognized in customary law. 
Yves Sandoz et al. (eds.), Commentary on the Additional Protocols, ICRC, Geneva, 1987, § 2191.
ICRC
In a press release issued in 1991 in the context of the Gulf War, the ICRC insisted that “all necessary precautions be taken by those conducting the hostilities to spare civilians”. 
ICRC, Press Release No. 1658, Gulf War: ICRC reminds States of their obligations, 17 January 1991, IRRC, No. 280, 1991, p. 26.
ICRC
On several occasions, the ICRC has reminded the parties to the conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh, Afghanistan and Chechnya of their obligation to take all possible measures to spare the civilian population and civilian facilities. 
ICRC, Press Release No. 1670, Nagorno-Karabakh: ICRC calls for respect for humanitarian rules, 12 March 1992; Press Release No. 1764, Afghanistan: ICRC calls for respect for the civilian population, 8 February 1994; Press Release No. 1793, Chechnya: The ICRC urges respect for humanitarian rules, 28 November 1994.
ICRC
In a press release issued in 1992 during the conflict in Tajikistan, the ICRC urged the parties “to take every possible precaution to spare civilians”. 
ICRC, Press Release, Tajikistan: ICRC urges respect for humanitarian rules, ICRC Dushanbe, 25 November 1992.
ICRC
In a press release issued in 1994 in the context of the conflict in Yemen, the ICRC called upon all combatants “to spare the civilian population”. 
ICRC, Press Release No. 1773, Fighting in Yemen, 9 May 1994.
ICRC
In a communication to the press issued in 1999 concerning NATO’s intervention in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the ICRC stated: “Those conducting hostilities must take all necessary precautions to spare civilians.” 
ICRC, Communication to the Press No. 99/15, Nato intervention in Yugoslavia: ICRC reminds States of their obligations, 24 March 1999, IRRC, No. 834, 1999, p. 408.
ICRC
In 1999, in a statement following the start of NATO operations against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the ICRC noted:
Thousands of Serb and Romany families also face an uncertain future, having fled their homes in Kosovo out of fear of airstrikes or retaliation. Among the essential principles of international humanitarian law are the requirements that civilians be spared violence. 
ICRC, Statement: The Balkan conflict and respect for international humanitarian law, 26 April 1999, IRRC, No. 834, 1999, p. 410.
ICRC
In a communication to the press in 2000, the ICRC appealed to Israel and Lebanon to ensure that in the conduct of military operations constant care was taken to spare the civilian population, civilians and civilian objects. 
ICRC, Communication to the Press No. 00/10, Lebanon and Northern Israel: ICRC appeals for civilians to be spared and respect for civilian infrastructure, 5 May 2000.
ICRC
In a communication to the press in 2000, during the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the ICRC stated: “The belligerents are also duty bound to take all necessary steps to safeguard the civilian population from the dangers of military operations.” 
ICRC, Communication to the Press No. 00/14, Eritrea/Ethiopia: ICRC urges respect for humanitarian law, 12 May 2000.
ICRC
In a communication to the press in 2000, the ICRC reminded all those involved in the violence in the Near East that “armed and security forces must spare and protect all civilians who are not or are no longer taking part in the clashes, in particular children, women and the elderly”. 
ICRC, Communication to the Press No. 00/42, ICRC Appeal to All Involved in Violence in the Near East, 21 November 2000.
No data.