Practice Relating to Rule 139. Respect for International Humanitarian Law
Cuba’s Regulation of the Internal Order of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (2002) states:
The serviceman, independently of his or her hierarchical level and the post he or she holds, has the following general duties:
f) Have knowledge of, and apply during armed conflict, in accordance with his or her category or military hierarchy, the norms and principles of International Humanitarian Law.
In 2010, in its report to the UN General Assembly on the Status of the 1977 Additional Protocols, Cuba stated:
Cuba would like to reaffirm that only if all States foreswore expansionist wars and committed themselves to multilateralism, the United Nations and its Charter, would it be possible to enhance respect for humanitarian rules governing the protection of civilians in any armed conflict. Significant efforts should also be made to fully implement international humanitarian law at the national level and ensure its broadest dissemination.
Cuba highly values and lives up to its status as a party to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977, and reaffirms its commitment to the defence of international humanitarian law. Cuba has incorporated all the requisite guarantees in its domestic law to ensure strict compliance with those instruments, especially the rules relating to the protection of civilians.
In 2010, in a statement before the UN General Assembly on the status of the Protocols Additional to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of Armed Conflicts, the representative of Cuba stated:
Cuba would like to reiterate its resolute commitment to international humanitarian law, and especially, to the four Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocols thereto. Nothing justifies the violation of these norms of international law and we oppose as a matter of principle the attempts by certain States to reinterpret these norms with the aim of evading strict compliance with them.
Increasingly, the civilian population are the victims and direct targets of all kinds of abuses committed by armed forces involved in conflicts. The constant imperialist aggression and permanent interference in the internal affairs of third world countries, the pillage of their wealth … , the systematic destruction of the infrastructure of these countries and the indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians, are the fundamental causes of current violations of international humanitarian law.
Today more than ever it is imperative to consolidate the legal regime applicable to armed conflicts through its universal acceptance. The United Nations is called on to secure strict compliance with the rules relative to the protection of civilians in armed conflict. We strongly support broad debate of this issue within the framework of the Sixth Commission of the United Nations General Assembly.
Cuba highly values and honours its status as State Party to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the two 1977 Additional Protocols thereto and reaffirms its position with respect to upholding international humanitarian law. Cuba’s national legislation has incorporated all the necessary guarantees for the strict observance of these rules, and in particular those relating to the protection of civilians.
Finally, Cuba reiterates its willingness to work towards the global implementation of the rules of international humanitarian law and continues to collaborate with the International Committee of the Red Cross and its various associations in the noble endeavour of spreading … respect for international humanitarian law.