National Implementation of IHL
  • Print page
  • Disclaimer
Law on serious violations of international humanitarian law, 2003
Loi du 5 août 2003 relative à la répression des infractions graves au droit international humanitaire

Moniteur belge, 2003-08-07, no 286, pp. 40506-4051, (last accessed on 22.05.2013)

The law of 5 August 2003 includes the crimes listed previously and introduces them into the Penal Code. It also maintains the imprescriptibility of these crimes by modifying the Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure. Moreover, the following elements have been transposed into the Penal Code: the forms of participation in the commission of a crime; the exclusion of any defence based on interests or necessity of a political, military or national nature, even in the context of reprisals; and the exclusion of the defence of superior orders when, in the specific circumstances, the order could clearly have led to the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law. The law also develops further the limitations laid down for its application under the rules of immunity as they derive from international law. It substantially modifies the criteria establishing the jurisdiction of Belgian courts. These last modifications have been introduced into the Code of Criminal Procedure. A link is now required between a case and Belgium for the courts to have jurisdiction over it: this can be territorial, active personality or passive personality jurisdiction. However, the Federal Prosecutor may initiate proceedings relating to a case that has no link with Belgium if so demanded by international treaty or customary law.

Related laws and/or case-law: Penal Code, 1987 (as of 2012); Criminal Procedure Code, 1808 (as of 2011); Law on the repression of international humanitarian law, 1999; Law on serious violations of international humanitarian law, 2003; Law on cooperation with the International Criminal Court and International Criminal Tribunals, 2004

File TypeSizeFile Name
application/pdf 126 KB Belgium - Law on serious violations of international humanitarian law, 2003 [fr - fl].pdf