Practice Relating to Rule 141. Legal Advisers for Armed Forces
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) states: “The purpose of this … Manual is to provide interim guidance to members of the New Zealand Defence Force, particularly to legal officers engaged in advising commanders, on the customary and treaty law applicable in armed conflict”.
The manual also states:
Some armed forces have trained legal advisers attached to their higher echelons and these officers are competent to indicate what the law is as it affects a particular operation or whether a particular operation or whether a particular act is legally acceptable. By [the 1977 Additional Protocol I] Art. 82 the parties to the Protocol are obliged to ensure that such advisers are available …
The Protocol does not indicate the level of command to which these advisers are to be attached, merely providing that, “when necessary”, they will be available to advise “military commanders at the appropriate level”. The requirement only relates to advice concerning the application of the Geneva Conventions and the Protocol. Art. 82 also provides for these legal advisers being employed to advise on “the appropriate instruction to be given to the armed forces” on these documents.