World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Israel: Loss of Protection for Civilian Objects

23 July 2014

Loss of Protection for Civilian Objects (Mosques, Schools, and Hospitals etc.)

A core principle of the law of armed conflict is the 'principle of distinction' - the obligation imposed on each party to a conflict to ensure at all times that a distinction is made between combatants and civilians. This principle is reflected in Article 48 to the Additional Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions:

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.

One of the first and foremost inferences from the principle of distinction is that, "…civilian objects shall not be the object of attack or of reprisals “ i.e., deliberate attacks against civilian objects are generally forbidden.

However, when a civilian object such as a mosque, a school, a hospital and the like is used for military purposes including as a command center; as a site for firing weaponry and launching rockets; as a place to conceal and store weapons, they are no longer considered to be civilian objects and thus lose their protections and become legitimate military objects which may be the target of an attack.

Whether an object is considered civilian, and thus granted protection against attack, or a legitimate military object, is determined not by its intrinsic function but rather if its "nature, location purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action."[ii] As stipulated by the International Committee of the Red Cross Commentary, military action may be comprised of:

… all objects directly used by the armed forces: weapons, equipment, transports, fortifications, depots, buildings occupied by armed forces, staff headquarters, communications centers etc.

In the recent Protective Edge operation we have witnessed Hamas commandeer otherwise civilian sites – schools, UN infrastructure, hospitals, private homes, mosques – and use them for military purposes, including for weapons storage; the establishment of command and control centers and for the firing of weapons and launching of rockets. Those civilian objects which are used by Hamas for military purposes lose their protection and turn into legitimate military objects.

As international law expert Prof. Yoram Dinstein noted:

Certain objects are by nature dedicated to civilian purposes: the templates are places of worship, civilian dwellings, schools and hospitals. As long as they fulfill their normal functions such objects must not be considered military objects. Still in the fluctuations that occur during combat, civilian objects may be used (or more precisely abused) by the enemy- contrary to the normal function- in a manner making an effective contribution to military action. If and when that is the case, even churches and hospitals become military objectives.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Ban Condemns Killing Of Former Lesotho Military Commander

United Nations Secretary-General today condemned the killing of Lt. Gen. Maaparankoe Mahao, former Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force, on 25 June, near Maseru. More>>

Ban Welcomes US Supreme Court Ruling On Same-Sex Marriage

Ban welcomes US Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing right to same-sex marriage Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) pride march. Photo: OHCHR/Joseph Smida More>>

UN Agency Welcomes EU Measures On Refugee Arrivals

Afghan refugees in front of the abandoned hotel Captain Elias on Kos Island, Greece, where hundreds of refugees and migrants are waiting for their registration. Photo: UNHCR/J. Akkash More>>

Increase In Voluntary Blood Donors Can Save Millions Of Lives

Increase in voluntary blood donors can save millions of lives, UN health agency says on World Day More>>

Kenya: Funding Shortage Means Food Cut To 500,000 Refugees

Funding shortage forces UN agency to temporarily cut food aid to 500,000 refugees in Kenya More>>

UN Launches Education Appeal In Fight Against Child Labour

12 June 2015 – The United Nations has announced it is marking the 2015 edition of the World Day Against Child Labour with a call for the international community to invest in quality education as a key step in the fight against child employment ... More>>

Pope Francis & UN Agency On Sustainability Of Agriculture

Pope Francis (centre) with delegates to the 39th FAO Conference during a special audience at the Vatican. Photo: FAO More>>

South Sudan: Call For De-Escalation Of In-Country Conflict

Women and children have suffered devastating attacks in South Sudan’s Unity State. Photo: UNICEF/South Sudan/Sebastian Rich More>>

Burundi: Emergency Support To Refugees Fleeing Burundi Crisis

Burundians fleeing pre-election violence rest on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in the Democratic Republic of Congo after a gruelling 22-hour boat journey. More than 100,000 Burundians have fled over the past month, arriving in Tanzania, Rwanda and ... More>>

Afghanistan: Commitment To Advancing Women's Rights

While the outgoing senior United Nations rights official in Afghanistan said she expected the human rights advances made “will be sustained, will not be rolled back, and will not be sacrificed,” she lamented the high level of violence against ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news