Practice Relating to Rule 92. Mutilation and Medical, Scientific or Biological Experiments
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) provides that the sick, wounded and shipwrecked “must not be subject to any medical procedure which is not required by their state of health or which is inconsistent with accepted medical standards”.
The manual further states that the 1949 Geneva Convention IV prohibits the parties from “taking any measure of such character as to cause the physical suffering … of protected persons in their hands”, including mutilation and medical or scientific experiments not necessitated by the medical treatment of a protected person.
The manual considers biological experiments as a grave breach of the 1949 Geneva Conventions I and II. It adds:
[The 1977 Additional Protocol I], Art. 11, makes a number of medical practices grave breaches of the Protocol … It is a grave breach to carry out on persons detained by an adverse Party, even with their consent, physical mutilations, medical or scientific experiments or removal of tissue or organs for transplantation, except where such action is justified by the medical needs of the person affected.
New Zealand’s Geneva Conventions Act (1958), as amended in 1987, provides:
Any person who in New Zealand or elsewhere commits, or aids or abets or procures the commission by another person of, a grave breach of any of the [1949 Geneva] Conventions or of [the 1977 Additional Protocol I] is guilty of an indictable offence.
Under New Zealand’s International Crimes and ICC Act (2000), war crimes include the crimes defined in Article 8(2)(b)(x) and (e)(xi) of the 1998 ICC Statute.