Practice Relating to Rule 65. Perfidy
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands provides:
Treacherous behaviour (also known as perfidy) is … prohibited … Treacherous behaviour consists of acts which are intended to deceive the enemy in order for him to believe that he is faced with a situation which is protected by the humanitarian law of war … Treacherous means misusing the protection given by the law of war.
Under the Military Handbook (1995) of the Netherlands, “treachery means misusing the protection provided by the law of war”.
According to the Handbook, it is a prohibited method of warfare “to perform treacherous acts”.
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands lists “honesty and good faith” as one of five “generally accepted principles of the humanitarian law of war”.
The manual prohibits “[t]reacherous action” and “[a]ction in breach of good faith”.
The manual further states:
There is a narrow borderline between perfidy and ruses of war. Acts of treachery (also called perfidy) are, however, forbidden. Ruses of war may be used. The exact wording of the rule is that it is prohibited to kill, injure or capture an adversary by resort to perfidy. An act of perfidy takes place when an adversary is led to believe that he is protected under the humanitarian law of war. Put more simply, it is forbidden to kill or wound an enemy by treachery. Perfidy also means misuse of the protection conferred by the humanitarian law of war, for example misuse of the emblem of the Red Cross.
In its chapter on non-international armed conflict, the manual states: “Perfidious action is prohibited.”
In its chapter on peace operations, the manual states that the use of methods and means which “violate the principles of humanitarian treatment or of honesty and good faith” must be avoided.
In the same chapter, the manual further provides:
The principle of honesty and good faith holds an important place in peace operations. In army legal literature, this principle can be traced back to the fundamental principles of peace operations, namely transparency, impartiality and mutual respect. Methods such as perfidious action … are prohibited.