Practice Relating to Rule 146. Reprisals against Protected Persons
Section D. Civilians in the power of the adversary
France’s Disciplinary Regulations (1975), as amended, in a provision entitled “Respect for the rules of international law applicable in armed conflicts” dealing with the duties of and prohibitions for combatants, states: “By virtue of the international conventions ratified or approved: … it is prohibited [to soldiers in combat]: … to take hostages, to engage in reprisals or collective punishments”.
France’s LOAC Summary Note (1992) provides: “Civilians in the power of the adversary must be protected against violence and reprisals.”
France’s LOAC Manual (2001), in the chapter dealing with means and methods of warfare, states: “The law of armed conflict prohibits … the methods of warfare which consist in the recourse: … to reprisals against non-military objectives”.
The manual further refers to Article 33 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV and Article 20 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I and states: “Reprisals are prohibited against civilian persons.”
At the CDDH, France made a proposal for a draft Article on reprisals within the 1977 Additional Protocol I – which it later withdrew – which read, inter alia
, as follows: “3. … The measures may not involve any actions prohibited by the Geneva Conventions of 1949.”