In international law, “attacks” are acts of violence against the adversary, whether in offence or defence and in whatever territory conducted.
This definition applies to
- any act of land, air or sea warfare which may affect the civilian population or civilian objects on land;
- all attacks from the sea or the air against objectives on land.
Attacks on the civilian population as such, acts of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population, and indiscriminate attacks on specified categories of places and civilian objects are prohibited. Precautions must be taken in preparing and carrying out attacks and against the effects of attacks.
ICRC, International Humanitarian Law and the challenges of contemporary armed conflicts in 2015 (Paras. 210, 211)
ICTY, The Prosecutor v. Radovan Karadzic
Syria, Report by UN Commission of Inquiry (March 2017)
Iraq/Syria/UK, Drone Operations against ISIS
Israel/Palestine, Accountability for the Use of Lethal Force
ICC, Confirmation of Charges against LRA Leader
ICRC, Statement - War in Cities ; What is at Stake?
Belgium, Prosecution of Terrorist Crimes in the context of Armed Conflict
Eastern Ukraine, Attacks Against and Military Use of Schools
Eastern Ukraine, OHCHR Report on the Situation: November 2016 - February 2017
Central African Republic, No Class: When Armed Groups Use Schools
OLASOLO Héctor, Unlawful Attacks in Combat Situations: from the ICTY’s Case Law to the Rome Statute, Leiden, M. Nijhoff, 2008, 288 pp.
ROSEN Richard D., “Targeting Enemy Forces in the War on Terror: Preserving Civilian Immunity”, in Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, Vol. 42, No. 3, May 2009, pp. 683-777.
Precautions against the effect of attacks
See Precautions in attack;
Prohibited attacks against the civilian population or intended to spread terror among the civilian population
See also Civilian population; Terror;
AI, Breach of the Principle of Distinction
ICTY, The Prosecutor v. Martic (A. Paras. 8, 10-14 and 24-32)
ICTY, The Prosecutor v. Rajic (A. Paras. 51-56)
ICTY, The Prosecutor v. Galic (Paras. 16-137 and 561)
ICTY, The Prosecutor v. Strugar (A. and B., Paras. 220-222 and 280-288)
Against civilian objects
See also Civilian objects;
Iran/Iraq, UN SC Assessing Violations of IHL
ICTY, The Prosecutor v. Strugar (B. Paras. 223-228 and 282)
Afghanistan, Bombing of a Civilian Truck
Against the civilian population by way of reprisals
Against non defended localities