Practice Relating to Rule 103. Collective Punishments
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) forbids collective punishment against prisoners of war, civilians in general and in occupied territories, whether in international or internal armed conflicts.
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001) states in its chapter on the treatment of prisoners of war (PWs): “Collective punishment for individual acts, corporal punishment, imprisonment in premises without daylight and any form of torture or cruelty, are forbidden.”
In its chapter on the treatment of civilians in the hands of a party to the conflict or an occupying power and, more specifically, in a section entitled “Provisions common to the territories of the parties to the conflict and to occupied territories”, the manual states:
[The 1949 Geneva Convention IV] prohibits taking any measure, which will cause physical suffering to protected persons or will lead to their extermination … The following are expressly prohibited:
b. collective penalties and measures of intimidation and terrorism.
In the same chapter, in a section entitled “Additional Protocol I”, the manual further states:
1. [The 1977 Additional Protocol I] provides that all persons in the power of a party to the conflict are entitled to at least a minimum of humane treatment without adverse discrimination on grounds of race, gender, language, religion, political discrimination or similar criteria. It states in part:
2. The following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever, whether committed by civilian or by military agents:
d. collective punishments; and
e. threats to commit any of the foregoing acts.
In its chapter on rights and duties of occupying powers, the manual also states: “The following measures of population control are forbidden at all times: … d. punishment for acts of others, that is, reprisals or collective penalties”.
In its chapter on non-international armed conflicts, the manual states:
Although [the 1977 Additional Protocol II] contains no provisions relating to enforcement or punishment of breaches, it does contain a statement of fundamental guarantees prohibiting at any time and anywhere:
b. collective punishment;
g. threats to commit any of the foregoing.
Canada’s Prisoner of War Handling and Detainees Manual (2004), in the section dealing with prisoner-of-war rations and messing, states: “Collective punishments involving restriction of food allowances are not to be imposed”.