Practice Relating to Rule 146. Reprisals against Protected Persons
Section E. Civilians in general
At the CDDH, Poland made a proposal for a draft article on reprisals within the 1977 Additional Protocol I – which it later withdrew – which read, inter alia
, as follows: “Insert a new article after [draft] Article 70 worded as follows: ‘Measures of reprisal against persons and objects protected by the Conventions and by the present Protocol are prohibited’.”
At the CDDH, in its explanation of vote, the representative of Poland stated that the adopted provision of the 1977 Additional Protocol I on the protection of civilians (Article 46 of draft Additional Protocol I which became Article 51)
contained the most important provision of the Protocol, such as the prohibition … of attacks by way of reprisals. The latter often affected the most innocent persons and those who were least able to defend themselves, and gave rise to a mood of desperation which lead to counter-reprisals and to chain reactions which became increasingly difficult to stop.
His delegation therefore welcomed the clear and categorical prohibition of reprisals in [the adopted provision]. The whole article, with its general rules, would fill some of the gaps in existing rules of a more specific character.