Practice Relating to Rule 115. Disposal of the Dead

Geneva Convention I
Article 17, third paragraph, of the 1949 Geneva Convention I provides that graves shall be “grouped if possible according to the nationality of the deceased”. 
Convention (I) for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field, Geneva, 12 August 1949, Article 17, third para.
Geneva Convention III
Article 120, fourth paragraph, of the 1949 Geneva Convention III provides: “Whenever possible, deceased prisoners of war who depended on the same Power shall be interred in the same place.” 
Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, Geneva, 12 August 1949, Article 120, fourth para.
NATO Standardization Agreement 2070
Paragraph 9 of the 1999 NATO Standardization Agreement 2070 states: “Burials are to be grouped by nationalities. Different areas for separate graves, trench or group burials are to be allotted to each nationality.” 
Standardization Agreement 2070, Edition 4, Emergency War Burial Procedures, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Military Agency for Standardization, Brussels, 6 April 1999, § 9.
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Argentina
Argentina’s Law of War Manual (1969) provides that graves “shall be grouped if possible according to the nationality of the dead”. 
Argentina, Leyes de Guerra, RC-46-1, Público, II Edición 1969, Ejército Argentino, Edición original aprobado por el Comandante en Jefe del Ejército, 9 May 1967, § 3.005.
Australia
Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) provides that the graves of the deceased shall “be grouped by nationality”. 
Australia Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, § 999.
Australia
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) states that the graves of the deceased shall be “grouped by nationality”. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, § 9.104.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Instructors’ Manual (1992) provides that the deceased shall be buried by nationality. 
Cameroon, Droit International Humanitaire et Droit de la Guerre, Manuel de l’Instructeur en vigueur dans les Forces Armées, Présidence de la République, Ministère de la Défense, Etat-major des Armées, Troisième Division, Edition 1992, p. 119, § 431(2).
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (2006), under the heading “The Case of Deceased Prisoners of War”, states: “The deceased of the same nationality must be buried at the same place.” 
Cameroon, Droit des conflits armés et droit international humanitaire, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les forces de défense, Ministère de la Défense, Présidence de la République, Etat-major des Armées, 2006, p. 265, § 621.
Canada
Canada’s Prisoner of War Handling and Detainees Manual (2004) states with regard to the funeral arrangements for prisoners of war (PW): “Wherever possible, deceased PW who depended on the same Power are [to be] buried in the same location.” 
Canada, Prisoner of War Handling, Detainees, Interrogation and Tactical Questioning in International Operations, B-GJ-005-110/FP-020, National Defence Headquarters, 1 August 2004, § 3F17.5.c(3).
Netherlands
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands provides: “Graves shall be grouped if possible according to the nationality of the deceased.” 
Netherlands, Toepassing Humanitair Oorlogsrecht, Voorschift No. 27-412/1, Koninklijke Landmacht, Ministerie van Defensie, 1993, p. VI-2.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states: “Mortal remains must be located according to nationality, as far as possible.” 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0610.
Poland
Poland’s Procedures Governing the Interment of Soldiers Killed in Action (2009) states: “When selecting the burial site and digging the graves, the aim should be to ensure that: … [they] are grouped according to nationality”. 
Poland, Norma Obronna NO-02-A053:2004, Działania wojenne Procedury pochówku poległych i zmarłych, enacted by decision No. 134/MON related to the Approval and Enforcement of Regulatory Instruments in Respect of State Defence and Security, 21 April 2009, published in the Official Gazette of the Ministry of National Defence, No. 8, Item 99, April 2009, Section 2.2.
The Procedures also states: “Civilian members of the armed forces who had not participated in hostilities shall be buried in line with procedures established for the burial of the bodies of soldiers.” 
Poland, Norma Obronna NO-02-A053:2004, Działania wojenne Procedury pochówku poległych i zmarłych, enacted by decision No. 134/MON related to the Approval and Enforcement of Regulatory Instruments in Respect of State Defence and Security, 21 April 2009, published in the Official Gazette of the Ministry of National Defence, No. 8, Item 99, April 2009, Section 2.4.2.
South Africa
South Africa’s LOAC Teaching Manual (2008) states:
- Parties to the conflict shall further ensure that[:]
- the dead are honourably interred, if possible according to the rites of the religion to which they belonged;
- their graves are grouped if possible according to the nationality of the deceased[.] 
South Africa, Advanced Law of Armed Conflict Teaching Manual, School of Military Justice, 1 April 2008, as amended to 25 October 2013, Learning Unit 2, p. 107.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states: “Graves must be respected and properly maintained. They must be marked so that they may always be found and should, if possible, be grouped according to the nationality of the deceased.” 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 7.36.
United States of America
The US Field Manual (1956) provides that the “graves [of the dead] are … grouped if possible according to the nationality of the deceased”. 
United States, Field Manual 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare, US Department of the Army, 18 July 1956, as modified by Change No. 1, 15 July 1976, § 218.
Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia’s Military Manual (1988) provides that military graves should, if possible, be grouped by nationality. 
Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of, Propisi o Primeri Pravila Medjunarodnog Ratnog Prava u Oruzanim Snagama SFRJ, PrU-2, Savezni Sekretarijat za Narodnu Odbranu (Pravna Uprava), 1988, Article 168.
Bangladesh
Bangladesh’s International Crimes (Tribunal) Act (1973) states that the “violation of any humanitarian rules applicable in armed conflicts laid down in the Geneva Conventions of 1949” is a crime. 
Bangladesh, International Crimes (Tribunal) Act, 1973, Section 3(2)(e).
Denmark
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (1973), as amended in 1978, provides:
Any person who uses war instruments or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or the general rules of international law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. a fine, lenient imprisonment or up to 12 years’ imprisonment]. 
Denmark, Military Criminal Code, 1973, as amended in 1978, § 25(1).
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (2005) provides:
Any person who deliberately uses war means [“krigsmiddel”] or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or international customary law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. imprisonment up to life imprisonment]. 
Denmark, Military Criminal Code, 2005, § 36(2).
Ireland
Under Ireland’s Geneva Conventions Act (1962), as amended in 1998, any “minor breach” of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, including violations of Article 17 of the Geneva Convention I and Article 120 of the Geneva Convention III, is a punishable offence. 
Ireland, Geneva Conventions Act, 1962, as amended in 1998, Section 4(1) and (4).
Norway
Norway’s Military Penal Code (1902), as amended in 1981, provides:
Anyone who contravenes or is accessory to the contravention of provisions relating to the protection of persons or property laid down in … the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 … is liable to imprisonment. 
Norway, Military Penal Code, 1902, as amended in 1981, § 108(a).
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UN Commission of Experts Established pursuant to Security Council Resolution 780 (1992)
In 1994, in its final report on grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and other violations of IHL committed in the former Yugoslavia, the UN Commission of Experts Established pursuant to Security Council Resolution 780 (1992) stated, with respect to its investigation into mass graves: “Victims should be grouped by nationality.” 
UN Commission of Experts Established pursuant to Security Council Resolution 780, 1992, Final report, Annex Summaries and Conclusions, UN Doc. S/1994/674/Add.2 (Vol. I), 31 May 1995, § 503(b).
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ICRC
To fulfil its task of disseminating IHL, the ICRC has delegates around the world teaching armed and security forces that: “Wherever possible, the dead of the same nationality shall be buried at the same place.” 
Frédéric de Mulinen, Handbook on the Law of War for Armed Forces, ICRC, Geneva, 1987, § 735.
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