Practice Relating to Rule 146. Reprisals against Protected Persons
Section D. Civilians in the power of the adversary
Argentina’s Law of War Manual (1969), in the chapter dealing with the “Protection of civilian persons in times of war”, which contains “provisions common to the territories of the belligerent parties and occupied territories”, states: “Measures of reprisal with respect to protected persons and their property remain equally prohibited.”
Argentina’s Regulation for the Treatment of POWs (1985), in a part dealing with interned civilians, states: “Reprisals against innocent interned [persons] are prohibited.”
Argentina’s Law of War Manual (1989), in a part dealing with the “Treatment given to protected persons”, which contains “provisions common to the territories of the belligerent parties and occupied territories”, refers to Article 33 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV and provides: “Remain absolutely prohibited: … measures of reprisal against protected persons and their objects”.
In an annex containing a list of “Fundamental rules of International Humanitarian Law applicable in armed conflict”, the manual provides: “Civilian persons who find themselves in the hands of the adversary … will be protected against all acts of violence and reprisals.”
In the Priebke case
in 1995, Argentina’s Public Prosecutor of First Instance, dealing with Italy’s request to extradite the accused, held that the alleged killing in reprisal of 330 civilians and prisoners of war committed by German soldiers in the Ardeatine Caves in Italy during the Second World War was “an act which must be qualified as a war crime”.