Practice Relating to Rule 147. Reprisals against Protected Objects
Section F. Works and installations containing dangerous forces
France’s Disciplinary Regulations (1975), as amended, states: “By virtue of international conventions regularly ratified or approved: … it is prohibited [to soldiers in combat] … to take hostages, to engage in reprisals or collective punishments”.
France’s LOAC Manual (2001), in the chapter dealing with means and methods of warfare, states: “The law of armed conflict prohibits … the methods of warfare which consist in the recourse: … to reprisals against non-military objectives”.
The manual refers, inter alia
, to Articles 51–56 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I and states: “Reprisals are prohibited against … objects particularly protected”.
Upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, France made a reservation concerning works and installations containing dangerous forces, in which it stated:
The Government of France cannot guarantee absolute protection for works and installations containing dangerous forces, which can contribute to the war effort of the adverse party, or for the defenders of such installations. It will nevertheless take all necessary precautions in conformity with the provisions of Article 56, Article 57 paragraph 2 (a) (iii) and Article 85 paragraph 3 (c), in order to avoid severe collateral losses among the civilian population, including in the case of eventual direct attacks.