Practice Relating to Rule 142. Instruction in International Humanitarian Law within Armed Forces
In 2009, Ukraine’s president adopted the Strategy for the international peace-making activities of Ukraine, which states:
3. Priorities, tasks and mechanisms of attaining Ukraine’s national interests in international peace-making actions
… [I]t is necessary to:
improve the … [peace-makers’] knowledge of international humanitarian law … , in particular as regards the performance of their duties as a part of multinational command structures;
5. Organization of the implementation of the Strategy of the international peace-making activities of Ukraine
The goals defined by the Strategy of the international peace-making activities of Ukraine can be achieved by the exercise of their respective powers by the bodies responsible for ensuring the national security of Ukraine, viz. the President of Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, the Council for National Security and Defence of Ukraine, ministries and other central governmental agencies, in accordance with the Constitution and laws of Ukraine.
Ukraine’s IHL Manual (2004) states:
1.5.1. In the performance of their duties, commanders and commanding officers shall be guided by the rules of international humanitarian law that oblige them:
- to organize and participate in the dissemination of knowledge of international humanitarian law amongst their subordinates;
- to ensure the learning of the law of armed conflict within the process of training and education of servicemen;
- to bring to the attention of subordinates that grave breaches of international humanitarian law shall be criminally punished according to Ukrainian legislation;
- to uphold legal order and high military discipline that should guarantee strict adherence to the rules of international humanitarian law in case of an armed conflict by all servicemen;
- to ensure that all servicemen possess identity cards (military IDs), identification discs (distinctive medallions), medical or religious personnel identity cards … ;
- to supervise training of medical personnel and military (civilian) members of legal service as to studying international humanitarian law.
1.6.2. The assistant unit commander responsible for legal work (legal counsellor of the military unit) shall, in times of peace:
- coordinate the work aimed at studying the rules and demands of international humanitarian law within the structures of military administration, large commands, units, military bases, institutions of military education, other agencies and institutions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine;
- to provide necessary methodological assistance to officers who teach laws of war;
- to hold classes on international humanitarian law with various categories of servicemen;
- to organize case studies and tests to evaluate the level of knowledge of laws of war by various categories of servicemen;
- to report to the command cases of unsatisfactory knowledge of the laws of armed conflict by the personnel and reasons for that;
- to inform and consult servicemen concerning the performance of their duties related to the application of the rules and requirements of the laws of war.
1.6.3. During command and staff exercises, the assistant unit commander responsible for legal work (legal counsellor of the military unit) – deputy commander of the exercise for legal issues (legal advisor) shall:
- take part in the preparation of the command and staff exercises documentation regarding rules of engagement;
- monitor compliance with the rules of international humanitarian law by the trainees and make proposals regarding further complication of the situation as to the application of the laws of war;
- report to the commander his/her conclusions as to the level of compliance with the rules and principles of international humanitarian law during the exercise.