Geneva Conventions: Does Anybody Remember?
International law prohibits attacks on civilians.
Posted: 2 Sha'ban 1422, 19 October 2001
Here are some articles from the Geneva Convention that deal with the protection of
civilians in armed conflicts. All UN members are signatories to it. This is international
law. The International Coalition is supposedly waging a war to uphold
International law. Is it? Judge for yourself
Additional to the Geneva Conventions, 1977
PART IV: CIVILIAN POPULATION
Chapter I: Basic Rule and Field of Application
Article 48: Basic Rule
In order to ensure respect for and protection of the civilian population and civilian
objects, the Parties to the conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian
population and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives and
accordingly shall direct their operations only against military objectives.
Chapter II: Civilians and Civilian Population
Article 50: Definition of Civilians and Civilian Population
The presence within the civilian population of individuals who do not come within the
definition of civilians does not deprive the population of its civilian character.
Article 51: Protection of the Civilian Population
- The civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against
dangers arising from military operations. To give effect to this protection, the following
rules, which are additional to other applicable rules of international law, shall be
observed in all circumstances.
- The civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians, shall not be the
object of attack. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread
terror among the civilian population are prohibited.
- Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited. Indiscriminate attacks are:
- those which are not directed at a specific military objective;
- those which employ a method or means of combat which cannot be directed at a
specific military objective; or
- those which employ a method or means of combat the effects of which cannot be
limited as required by this Protocol; and consequently, in each such case, are of a nature
to strike military objectives and civilians or civilian objects without distinction.
- Among others, the following types of attacks are to be considered as indiscriminate: an
attack which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to
civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive
in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.
Chapter III: Civilian Objects
Article 52: General Protection of Civilian Objects
- Civilian objects shall not be the object of attack or of reprisals. Civilian objects are
all objects which are not military objectives as defined in paragraph 2.
- In case of doubt whether an object which is normally dedicated to civilian
purposes, such as a place of worship, a house or other dwelling or a school, is being used
to make an effective contribution to military action, it shall be presumed not to be so
Article 54: Protection of Objects Indispensable to the Survival of the
- Starvation of civilians as a method of warfare is prohibited.
- It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to
the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the
production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and
irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to
the civilian population or to the adverse Party, whatever the motive, whether in order to
starve out civilians, to cause them to move away, or for any other motive.
Article 55: Protection of the Natural Environment
- Care shall be taken in warfare to protect the natural environment against widespread,
long-term and severe damage. This protection includes a prohibition of the use of methods
or means of warfare which are intended or may be expected to cause such damage to the
natural environment and thereby to prejudice the health or survival of the population.
Chapter IV: Precautionary Measures
Article 57: Precautions in Attack
- In the conduct of military operations, constant care shall be taken to spare the
civilian population, civilians and civilian objects.
- With respect to attacks, the following precautions shall be taken:
- those who plan or decide upon an attack shall:
- do everything feasible to verify that the objectives to be attacked are neither
civilians nor civilian objects and are not subject to special protection but are military
objectives within the meaning of paragraph 2 of Article 52 and that it is not prohibited
by the provisions of this Protocol to attack them;
- refrain from deciding to launch any attack which may be expected to cause
incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a
combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct
military advantage anticipated;
- an attack shall be canceled or suspended if it becomes apparent that the
objective is not a military one or is subject to special protection or that the attack may
be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to
civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the
concrete and direct military advantage anticipated;
entire document, click here.