The Laws of Armed Conflicts: A Collection of Conventions, Resolutions, and Other Documents

By Dietrich Schindler; Jiri Toman | Go to book overview
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No. 34
THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN MILITARY
OBJECTIVES AND NON-MILITARY OBJECTIVES
IN GENERAL AND PARTICULARLY THE
PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH WEAPONS OF
MASS DESTRUCTION
Resolution adopted by the Institute of International Law at its session at Edinburgh, 9 September 1969INTRODUCTORY NOTE: This resolution is intended to state the existing law. It was adopted by 60 votes to one, with two abstentions.AUTHENTIC TEXT: French.TEXT PUBLISHED IN: Annuaire de l'Institut de Droit international, Session d'Edimbourg, 1969, Vol. 53, n, p. 358 (French), p. 375 (English); Institut de Droit international, Tableau des Résolutions adoptées, 1957–1991, 1992, pp. 66–69 (Engl., French); Droit des conflits armés, pp. 327–328 (French); AJIL, Vol. 66, pp. 470–471 (Engl.); ICRC website: www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf.The Institute of International Law,Reaffirming the existing rules of international law whereby the recourse to force is prohibited in international relations,Considering that, if an armed conflict occurs in spite of these rules, the protection of civilian populations is one of the essential obligations of the parties,Having in mind the general principles of international law, the customary rules and the conventions and agreements which clearly restrict the extent to which the parties engaged in a conflict may harm the adversary,Having also in mind that these rules, which are enforced by international and national courts, have been formally confirmed on several occasions by a large number of international organizations and especially by the United Nations Organization,Being of the opinion that these rules have kept their full validity notwithstanding the infringements suffered,Having in mind that the consequences which the indiscriminate conduct of hostilities and particularly the use of nuclear, chemical and bacteriological weapons, may involve for civilian populations and for mankind as a whole,Notes that the following rules form part of the principles to be observed in armed conflicts by any de jure or de facto government, or by any other authority responsible for the conduct of hostilities:
1. The obligation to respect the distinction between military objectives and non-military objects as well as between persons participating in the hostilities and members of the civilian population remains a fundamental principle of the international law in force.
2. There can be considered as military objectives only those which, by their very nature or purpose or use, make an effective contribution to military action, or exhibit a generally recognized military significance, such that their total or partial

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