Practice Relating to Rule 103. Collective Punishments
Italy’s IHL Manual (1991) states that civilian persons in occupied territory have the right not to be subjected to collective punishment.
Italy’s Law of War Decree (1938), as amended in 1992, provides: “No collective sanction, financial or of any kind, can be imposed on the population because of an individual fault.”
In its judgment in the Priebke case
in 1997, the Military Tribunal of Rome found that the killing of 335 civilians at the Ardeatine caves ordered by the accused as a reprisal for the killing of German officers in Rome by partisans was a war crime. The Court held that the “multiple murder of civilians in occupied territory had been perpetrated beyond the limits set by customary laws on reprisals and by Article 50 of the Hague Regulations on collective punishments”.