"definite" advantage toward military operations. Examples: enemy equipment, munitions factories, roads, bridges,
railroads, or electrical powers stations.
Warning Requirement. (FM 27-10, para. 43,; see HR, art. 26.) General requirement to warn before a bombardment.
Only applies if civilians are present. Exception: if it is an assault (any surprise attack or an attack where surprise is a key
element). GP I, Article 57(2)(c), however, requires warning of civilians before an attack (not necessarily a
bombardment), unless circumstances do not permit (this is considered customary international law by the U.S.).
Defended Places. (FM 27-10, paras. 39 & 40, change 1.) As a general rule, any place the enemy chooses to defend
makes it subject to attack. Defended places include: a fort or fortified place; a place occupied by a combatant force or
through which a force is passing; and a city or town that is surrounded by defensive positions under circumstances that
the city or town is indivisible from the defensive positions. See also, GP I, Article 51(5)(a), which seems to clarify this
rule. Specifically, it prohibits bombardments that treat "as a single military objective a number of clearly separated and
distinct military objectives located in a city, town, or village. . . ."
Undefended places. The attack or bombardment of towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings, which are undefended, is
prohibited. (HR, art. 25.) An inhabited place may be declared an undefended place (and open for occupation) if the
following criteria are met:
All combatants and mobile military equipment are removed;
No hostile use made of fixed military installations or establishments;
No acts of hostilities shall be committed by the authorities or by the population; and
No activities in support of military operations shall be undertaken (presence of enemy medical units, enemy sick and
wounded, and enemy police forces are allowed). (FM 27-10, art. 39b, change 1.)
To gain protection as an undefended place, the city must be open to occupation by the adverse party.
(GP I, art. 59)
Natural environment. The environment cannot be the object of reprisals. In the course of normal military operations,
care must be taken to protect the natural environment against "long-term, widespread, and severe damage." (GP I, art. 55
- U.S. specifically objects to this article, as the terminology is so vague as to be ineffective.)
Protected Areas. Hospital or safety zones may be established for the protection of the wounded and sick or civilians. (FM
27-10, para. 45.) Articles 8 and 11 of the 1954 Hague Cultural Property Convention provide that certain cultural sites
may be designated in an "International Register of Cultural Property under Special Protections." The Vatican and art
storage areas in Europe have been designated under the convention as "specially protected." The U.S. asserts that the
Hague Cultural Property Convention special protection regime does not reflect customary international law.
Civilians. Prohibition against attacking civilians or civilian property. (FM 27-10, para. 246; GP I, art. 51(2).)
Presumption of civilian property attaches to objects traditionally associated with civilian use (dwellings, school, etc.) (GP
I, art. 52(3)), as contrasted with military objectives such as industrial facilities such as munitions factories, which remain
legitimate military objectives even if manned by civilian workers.
Protection of Medical Units and Establishments - Hospitals.(FM 27-10, paras. 257 and 258; GWS art. 19). Fixed or
mobile medical units shall be respected and protected. They shall not be intentionally attacked. Protection shall not
cease, unless they are used to commit "acts harmful to the enemy." Warning requirement before attacking a hospital in
which individuals are committing "acts harmful to the enemy." The hospital is given a reasonable time to comply with
warning before attack. When receiving fire from a hospital, there is no duty to warn before returning fire in self-defense.
Example: Richmond Hills Hospital, Grenada.
Law of War