United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Practice Relating to Rule 65. Perfidy
Section F. Simulation of protected status by using the distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions
The UK Military Manual (1958) states: “Abuse of the distinctive sign for the purpose of offensive military action is a violation both of [the 1949 Geneva Convention I], and of the laws of war in general.”
The UK LOAC Pamphlet (1981) states that the “feigning of non-combatant status” is an example of treachery.
The Pamphlet specifies that “medical personnel, chaplains and civilians accompanying the armed forces are non-combatants”.
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states: “The wrongful use of a distinctive emblem may constitute perfidy and thus a war crime.”
In its chapter relating to the wounded and sick, the manual states: “The improper use of medical units to kill, injure or capture the enemy amounts to the war crime of perfidy.”
In its chapter on enforcement of the law of armed conflict, the manual notes:
Additional Protocol I extends the definition of grave breaches to include the following:
b. any of the following acts, when committed wilfully, in violation of the relevant provisions of the protocol, and causing death or serious injury to body or health:
(6) the perfidious use of the distinctive emblem of the red cross, red crescent or of other protective signs recognized by the Conventions or the Protocol.
The UK Geneva Conventions Act (1957), as amended in 1995, punishes “any person, whatever his nationality, who, whether in or outside the United Kingdom, commits, or aids, abets or procures the commission by any other person of, a grave breach of … [the 1977 Additional Protocol I]”.
Under the UK ICC Act (2001), it is a punishable offence to commit a war crime as defined in Article 8(2)(b)(vii) of the 1998 ICC Statute.