Practice Relating to Rule 149. Responsibility for Violations of International Humanitarian Law
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) provides: “Parties to the conflict are responsible for all acts committed by persons forming part of its armed forces.”
The manual further states: “No state is allowed to absolve itself of any liability in respect to the Geneva Conventions.”
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001) states in its chapter entitled “Communications and contact between opposing forces”:
Any agreement made by belligerent commanders must be adhered to, and any breach of its conditions would involve international responsibility if ordered by a government, and personal liability, (which might amount to a war crime) if committed by an individual on his or her own authority.
In its chapter entitled “Preventative and enforcement measures and the role of protecting powers”, the manual states:
1. Parties to the conflict are responsible for all acts committed by persons forming part of its armed forces. [A] state which violates the LOAC shall, if the case demands, be liable to pay compensation.
2. No state is allowed to absolve itself of any liability in respect to the Geneva Conventions.
In 2005, in a statement before the UN Commission on Human Rights on the human rights situation in Sudan, made on behalf of Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the representative of Canada stated that “the Government of Sudan is responsible for the lack of protection afforded to civilians and for many … serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law amounting to crimes”.