National Implementation of IHL
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Law of 16 June 1993 relative to the repression of serious violations of international humanitarian law, as amended (abrogated)

This law provides for the repression of grave breaches of the four 1949 Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol I of 1977, and of violations of Additional Protocol II. It defines the respective jurisdictions of military and civilian courts.

In 1999, provisions were added to cover genocide and crimes against humanity. The text of these provisions is based on the 1948 Genocide Convention and the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The title of the law ("Law relative to the repression of grave breaches of the Geneva International Conventions of 12 August 1949 and Protocols I and II of 8 June 1977 additional to these Conventions") was consequently adapted to take these additions into account. Article 2, which sets out the penalties, has also been modified. Moreover, it is now explicitly stated that immunity attached to official capacity does not preclude application of the law.

The law of 23 April 2003 introduced substantial changes were introduced in that, first of all, it added to the list of crimes against humanity three crimes that were previously left out, thus bringing it in line with the Rome Statute. Secondly, it included a number of violations of IHL and slightly redefined others in order to cover as widely as possible all grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocol I, on the one hand, and all war crimes as defined in the Rome Statute, on the other. Moreover, specific provisions were added that criminalize the serious violations of Protocol II to the 1954 Hague Convention which are defined in Article 15 of that Protocol. The law also provided that the international immunity attached to an official position could prevent its application, within the limits set by international law. Other sections of the amended law modified the jurisdiction of Belgian courts over crimes covered by it. In particular, a mechanism was introduced to filter out cases that do not present a minimum link with Belgium.

In August 2003, this law was abrogated and its content inserted mutatis mutandis in other exsting laws (Penal Code, Code of the Judiciary, Code of Criminal Investigation, etc.)