Excerpts of the Geneva Protocols
"Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protocol of Victims of International
Armed Conflicts (Protocol 1)," June 8, 1977. From Chapter II, "Civilians and Civilian Population," Article 51, "Protection
of the Civilian Population":
1. 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.
2. 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 civilians population are prohibited.
3. Civilians shall enjoy the protection afforded by this Section, unless and for such time as they take a direct
part in hostilities.
4. Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited. Indiscriminate attacks are:
a. Those which are not directed at a specific military objective;
b. Those which employ a method or means of combat which cannot be directed at a specific military
c. 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.
5. Among others, the following types of attacks are to be considered as indiscriminate:
(a). An attack by bombardment by any methods or means which treats as a single military objective a number of clearly
separated and distinct military objectives located in a city, town, village or other area containing a similar concentration
of civilians or civilian objects; and
(b). 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