Practice Relating to Rule 142. Instruction in International Humanitarian Law within Armed Forces
The Russian Federation’s Military Manual (1990) states that, in time of peace, commanders must
promote among the members of the USSR Armed Forces knowledge of IHL, to study it within the system of military … training, to distribute among subordinates texts of international legal instruments and legislative acts defining the conduct of the members of the army and the navy during an armed conflict.
The Russian Federation’s Regulations on the Application of IHL (2001) states:
171. International humanitarian law shall be trained both in peacetime and in time of war as part of servicemen’s training and education. International humanitarian law training shall be integrated in combat (commanders’) training curricula …
172. The aim of international humanitarian law training is to prepare servicemen to discharge their duty in a complex situation in compliance with international humanitarian law.
The Russian Federation’s Order on the Publication of the Geneva Conventions and Protocols (1990) requires the Vice-Ministers of Defence and commanders at several levels:
–to ensure, in the context of the legal preparation of the personnel, the study of the Geneva Conventions … the Protocols and the instructions on the application of the rules of international humanitarian law by the armed forces of the USSR;
–to take into account the provisions of the [above-]mentioned documents during studies and teaching.
At the 27th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in 1999, the Russian Federation pledged to “broaden the campaign of dissemination of the International Humanitarian Law and, in particular, among the military who participate in the international peace-keeping operations”.
In an order issued in 2001 on measures to ensure respect for international humanitarian law by the armed forces of the Russian Federation, the Russian Federation’s Minister of Defence stated:
With a view of implementing the international treaties relative to the international humanitarian law, I Hereby Order:
1.That the deputy defence ministers of the Russian Federation, commanders-in-chief of the Russian Armed Forces services, military districts (fleets) commanders, arms commanders, chiefs of the main and central directorates of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, armies, divisions and military units commanders, chiefs of the organizations of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation ensure:
- training in international humanitarian law for the personnel of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, in accordance with the Constitution, the legislation of the Russian Federation, requirements of the military regulations of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the legal acts of the Defence Minister of the Russian Federation relating to international humanitarian law respect;
- strict observance by the personnel of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation of the combat regulations and combat support regulations requirements, while strictly respecting international humanitarian law;
- issuing orders, directives and other service documents needed for the conduct of classes, exercises and events envisaged by the combat training plans, while taking into consideration international humanitarian law rules.
2.That Chief of the Defence Ministry Chancellery ensures that IHL training materials developed in accordance with the established procedure be duly distributed to the servicemen of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.
In 2010, in a report to the UN Secretary-General on the status of the 1977 Additional Protocols, the Russian Federation stated:
3. Study of the provisions of Additional Protocols I and II to the Geneva Conventions (1949) in military education and training
The theory of international humanitarian law is part of the study programme at military higher education establishments. International humanitarian law issues are included in general and specialized military courses at the higher education establishments of the Ministry of Defence.
Since 2000, courses for officers to improve their knowledge of the law of armed conflict have been held at the base housing the Russian Federation Joint Armed Forces Academy (the Army’s military training and education centre). In 2009, about 150 instructors were trained in international humanitarian law in accordance with the qualifying requirements. In the first half of 2010, there were two groups of trainees and 57 instructors were trained in international humanitarian law.
3.2 Troop training
Members of the Armed Forces study practical issues during regular combat training.
Members of all categories of the military study international humanitarian law as part of their social and constitutional studies (from 2 to 6 hours, depending on the category of trainees).
Practical issues are studied in the context of professional training for officers of military administrative bodies, and in leadership training for commissioned and non-commissioned officers.
In 2010, in its fifth periodic report to the Committee against Torture, the Russian Federation stated: “Military personnel study international legal norms in the sphere of human rights and international humanitarian law, notably the prohibition on the use of torture, as part of their theoretical training, including for command positions.”
The Russian Federation’s Regulations on the Application of IHL (2001) states:
In their service activities commanding officers shall be guided by generally accepted principles and rules of international humanitarian law that oblige them:
a) in peace time:
- to organize and be personally involved in the dissemination of international humanitarian law amongst the subordinated personnel; to ensure that it is studied within the process of training and education of servicemen drawing their attention to the fact that the legislation of the Russian Federation provides for criminal responsibility for some breaches of international humanitarian law;
- to constantly maintain law and order and stern military discipline thus ensuring that the subordinates strictly observe the rules of international humanitarian law in the event of armed conflict;
- to invite the commander’s assistant on legal matters acting as the legal adviser in the event of armed conflict to take part in organizing combat training;
- to supervise the training of medical personnel and legal service officers related to studying and carrying out the rules of international humanitarian law;
b) in the event of armed conflict:
- to set an example in the respect of international humanitarian law rules;
- to ensure knowledge and strict respect of international humanitarian law by the subordinated personnel;
- to repress violations of international humanitarian law by the subordinated personnel, if any, call to account the offenders and report to the superior commander.
The Internal Service Regulations of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (2007) provides:
General Obligations of Commanders (Superiors)
77. … A commander (superior) must organize legal instruction of the subordinate members of the Armed Forces in the course of combat training with a view to their assimilating the established legal minimum and IHL rules. In the course of carrying out combat missions by a military unit, the commander (superior) guided by requirements of field manuals, must take measures aimed at respecting IHL rules and bring to disciplinary responsibility those guilty of breaching them. In the event of discovering constituent elements of criminal offence in the actions (omissions) of his subordinates, the commander of the unit shall institute criminal proceedings, in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation.
A commander (superior), when considering issues pertaining to IHL rules, shall rely on the assistance of a legal adviser when necessary.
83. A commander (superior) must improve his personal professional level of training and methods of management of a unit:
- know the normative legal acts of the Russian Federation within the limits of the legal minimum and IHL rules and act in strict compliance therewith, and to demand that his subordinates respect them.