Practice Relating to Rule 141. Legal Advisers for Armed Forces
Belgium’s Law of War Manual (1983), referring to Articles 47 and 49 of the 1949 Geneva Convention I, Articles 48 and 50 of the 1949 Geneva Convention II, Articles 127 and 129 of the 1949 Geneva Convention III, Articles 144 and 146 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV and Article 82 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, provides that “the States signatory to the [1949 Geneva] Conventions undertook to take a series of measures to promote respect thereof”, among which it lists “the appointment of legal advisers to military commands”.
In 1999, in its second periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Belgium stated: “Mention should be made of certain administrative and educational measures for the enforcement of humanitarian law: … a team of lawyers and an adviser on the law of armed conflicts are attached to each detachment serving abroad.”
In 2001, in its initial report to the Committee against Torture, Belgium stated:
In each of the armed forces, advisors in the area of armed conflict may be asked to follow up the contents of the course [organized for the armed forces on armed conflict law] that relate to the prohibition of torture.
In 2006, in its written replies to the questions raised by the Committee on the Rights of the Child with regard to Belgium’s initial report under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, Belgium stated:
The Belgian armed forces have introduced advisers on the law of armed conflict (CDCAs) in military units and headquarters. These advisers are responsible for advising commanders during operations.
In 2006, in its second periodic report to the Committee against Torture, Belgium stated: “The armed forces have introduced a network of advisers on the law of armed conflict (CDCAs) in military units and headquarters who are responsible for advising commanders in this field.”