United States of America
Practice Relating to Rule 102. Individual Criminal Responsibility
The US Field Manual (1956) reproduces Article 33 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV.
The US Air Force Pamphlet (1976) refers to Article 33 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV and states that “collective penalties (punishment of a protected person for offences which he has not personally committed)” are prohibited.
In the Calley case
in 1973, a US army officer was convicted of murder for killing South Vietnamese civilians. The US Army Court of Military Review dismissed the argument that the acts were lawful reprisals for illegal acts of the enemy and held: “Slaughtering many for the presumed delicts of a few is not a lawful response to the delicts … Reprisal by summary execution of the helpless is forbidden in the laws of land warfare.”
According to the Report on US Practice, “Articles 4, 5 and 6 [of the 1977 Additional Protocol II] reflect general US policy on treatment of persons in the power of an adverse party in armed conflicts governed by common Article 3” of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. The report also notes: “It is the opinio juris
of the US that persons detained in connection with an internal armed conflict are entitled to humane treatment as specified in Articles 4, 5 and 6 [of the 1977 Additional Protocol II].”