Practice Related to Rule 95. Forced Labour
Section B. Compelling persons to serve in the forces of a hostile power
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) refers to Article 23 of the 1907 Hague Regulations and provides: “A belligerent is forbidden to compel the subjects of the hostile party to take part in the operations of war directed against their own country, even if they were in the service of the belligerent before the commencement of the war.” It further provides:
The Occupying Power must not compel protected persons to serve in its armed or auxiliary forces but [Article 51 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV] lays down expressly that pressure or propaganda which aims at securing voluntary enlistment in those forces is prohibited. To compel the population of occupied territory so to enlist is a grave breach of [the 1949 Geneva Convention IV].
According to the manual, it is a grave breach of the 1949 Geneva Conventions III and IV to compel a prisoner of war and a protected civilian to serve in the forces of the hostile power.
The manual also states that it is a war crime and an offence against the law of armed conflict to compel “enemy nationals to take part in hostilities against their own State, even if they were members of the particular belligerent’s forces before the beginning of the conflict”.
New Zealand’s Geneva Conventions Act (1958), as amended in 1987, provides that “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 … 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)(a)(vi) and(b)(xv) of the 1998 ICC Statute.