Practice Relating to Rule 12. Definition of Indiscriminate Attacks
Section B. Attacks which cannot be directed at a specific military objective
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands states:
Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited. Indiscriminate attacks are attacks which can strike military objectives and civilians or civilian objects without distinction. Additional Protocol I mentions a few concrete forms of indiscriminate attacks:
- Attacks which employ means or methods which cannot be directed at a specific military objective.
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states:
[I]t is forbidden to use means and combat methods where the effects cannot be limited to combatants and military targets, and which affect civilians and civilian targets. This is defined as the use of indiscriminate means or indiscriminate attack.
The manual further states:
Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited. This means attacks which, in their implementation, do not distinguish between military objectives and civilians. In AP I [1977 Additional Protocol I], some more specific forms of indiscriminate attack are listed:
- attacks that employ methods or means which cannot be directed at a military objective …
Iraq’s SCUD rocket attacks on towns in Israel and Saudi Arabia during the second Gulf War (1990–91) are considered an example of indiscriminate attacks.
In its chapter on peace operations, the manual states that the use of methods and means which “have effects that, if used or implemented, cannot be limited to the strictly intended target” must be avoided.