Related Rule
Belgium
Practice Relating to Rule 142. Instruction in International Humanitarian Law within Armed Forces
Belgium’s Law of War Manual (1983) states: “The study [of the law of war] is required for those who may be concerned by its provisions.” 
Belgium, Droit Pénal et Disciplinaire Militaire et Droit de la Guerre, Deuxième Partie, Droit de la Guerre, Ecole Royale Militaire, par J. Maes, Chargé de cours, Avocat-général près la Cour Militaire, D/1983/1187/029, 1983, p. 2.
It further states that “States signatory to the [1949 Geneva] Conventions undertook to take a series of measures to promote the respect thereof”, among which it lists “the widest dissemination possible of the content of the Conventions … among military personnel”. 
Belgium, Droit Pénal et Disciplinaire Militaire et Droit de la Guerre, Deuxième Partie, Droit de la Guerre, Ecole Royale Militaire, par J. Maes, Chargé de cours, Avocat-général près la Cour Militaire, D/1983/1187/029, 1983, p. 55.
Belgium’s LOAC Teaching Directive (1996) states: “The dissemination of the LOAC is a legal obligation fulfilled by incorporating its instruction in military teaching programmes and by training the personnel.” 
Belgium, Directive sur l’enseignement du droit des conflits armés et des règles d’engagement au sein des Forces Armées belges, Ordre Général J/185, Forces Armées, Etat-Major Général, Division Opérations, 8 February 1996, Section 1.
The Directive refers to the teaching of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the 1977 Additional Protocols I and II. 
Belgium, Directive sur l’enseignement du droit des conflits armés et des règles d’engagement au sein des Forces Armées belges, Ordre Général J/185, Forces Armées, Etat-Major Général, Division Opérations, 8 February 1996, preamble.
Belgium’s Teaching Manual for Soldiers states: “Every soldier must know the essential rules of the law of war … and their meaning in order to be able to apply them.” 
Belgium, Droit de la Guerre, Dossier d’Instruction pour Soldat, à l’attention des officiers instructeurs, JS3, Etat-Major Général, Forces Armées belges, undated, p. 1.
The manual further states: “Since respect for humanitarian rules depends on the degree of discipline of a unit, their instruction is logically included in general military instruction.” 
Belgium, Droit de la Guerre, Dossier d’Instruction pour Soldat, à l’attention des officiers instructeurs, JS3, Etat-Major Général, Forces Armées belges, undated, p. 4.
In 1999, in its second periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Belgium stated:
Mention should be made of certain administrative and educational measures for the enforcement of humanitarian law:
- a course in the law of armed conflicts, education and training, is provided to all army ranks;
- members of the armed forces trained in the law of armed conflicts serve at all levels of the army, from company to division. 
Belgium, Second periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 25 October 2000, UN Doc. CRC/C/83/Add.2, submitted 7 May 1999, § 675.
At the 27th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in 1999, Belgium, jointly with the Belgian Red Cross, pledged to:
implement training programmes in international humanitarian law targeted at those who are most directly concerned by the application of and respect for this body of law, namely … the armed forces:
2. The armed forces not only have advisers in the law of armed conflict, but training in international humanitarian law is given at every level. Because of the increasing number of international operations under way, in particular those relating to peace-keeping and peace-making, it has become necessary to supplement the training already given with practical experience in applying international humanitarian law and improved knowledge of relations between the military and humanitarian workers. Accordingly, instruction in this subject will be given as part of the preparations for each departure on such an operation, and exercises on this material will be systematically included in training and manoeuvres. 
Belgium, Pledge made together with the Belgian Red Cross at the 27th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, Geneva, 31 October–6 November 1999.
In 2001, in its initial report to the Committee against Torture, Belgium stated:
The courses organized for the armed forces on armed conflict law and the rules of engagement, which include the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocols, provide for the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. 
Belgium, Initial report to the Committee against Torture, 8 July 2002, UN Doc. CAT/C/52/Add. 2, submitted 14 August 2001, § 156.
In 2006, in its written replies to the questions raised by the Committee on the Rights of the Child with regard to Belgium’s initial periodic report under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, Belgium stated:
The question of protecting children in armed conflicts is addressed in the training given to all military personnel. It is brought to the attention of all categories of personnel on several occasions during basic and in-service training courses on the law of armed conflict. The general training programme for all categories of military personnel is contained in the “Directive on teaching the law of armed conflict and the rules of engagement in the armed forces”, which describes the training of military personnel of all levels (volunteers, non-commissioned officers and officers) during basic training and in-service training. Manuals are provided for each category of personnel and level of training, and can be obtained by each unit. 
Belgium, Written replies to the list of issues to be taken up in connection with the consideration of the initial report of Belgium to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, 3 April 2006, UN Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/BEL/Q/1/Add.1, submitted 30 March 2006, pp. 6–7.
Belgium further stated:
During basic training, volunteer candidates follow a four-hour course on the law of armed conflict that includes two hours of teaching on the humanitarian rules for combatants. The instructor deals with the protection of various categories of person (civilians, prisoners of war, the wounded and medical personnel).
Non-commissioned officer candidates receive the same basic training in the law of armed conflict, with an additional hour of teaching on their duties and responsibilities as leaders, especially as regards breaches of the law of armed conflict (murder, rape, torture, etc.).
The same concepts are covered eight years later on a course for non-commissioned officers aspiring to promotion to the rank of warrant officer (“Prevention and punishment of breaches of the law of armed conflict”).
Officer candidates receive 11 hours of training in the law of armed conflict. In addition to basic training in the humanitarian rules for combatants, they receive an hour’s training on their responsibilities as leaders in this area (“Prevention and punishment of breaches of the law of armed conflict”).
As part of their in-service training, officers follow a technical course for staff officers. Six hours of the course are devoted to the law of armed conflict. Part of the course is spent on revision of the concepts studied earlier (by officer candidates) as they apply to a higher level of command.
The course for senior officer candidates (followed by those wishing to be promoted to the rank of major) devotes 12 hours to the law of armed conflict. One hour is spent on revision of the basic rules of humanitarian law, including the protection of persons (civilians, the wounded, prisoners of war and medical personnel). A further hour is spent on responsibilities and the punishment of serious breaches of the law of armed conflict.
[The higher course for staff officers] is intended for selected officers of the rank of major or lieutenant colonel. It includes 12 hours on the law of armed conflict, including the same in-depth revision as in the course for senior officer candidates, especially with regard to the punishment of violations and the responsibilities of military leaders in this respect. During basic training, each soldier is given a card on humanitarian rules for combatants as an aide-memoire. Before they leave on an operation, military personnel are reminded of the rules of the law of armed conflict and the rules of engagement and conduct applicable to each mission. The texts of all the conventions on the law of armed conflict ratified by Belgium are circulated within the armed forces. 
Belgium, Written replies to the list of issues to be taken up in connection with the consideration of the initial report of Belgium to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, 3 April 2006, UN Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/BEL/Q/1/Add.1, submitted 30 March 2006, pp. 7–8.
Belgium further stated:
During their training, [the advisers on the law of armed conflict] are … given in-depth training in all the rules of the law of armed conflict. Although it is not a subject in its own right, the protection of children caught up in armed conflicts is, of course, addressed in the advisers’ training.  
Belgium, Written replies to the list of issues to be taken up in connection with the consideration of the initial report of Belgium to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, 3 April 2006, UN Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/BEL/Q/1/Add.1, submitted 30 March 2006, p. 8.
Belgium further stated:
There is a military commission on the law of armed conflict within the defence forces which is responsible, together with the Office on the Law of Armed Conflict and Rules of Engagement (DCA-ROE) of the defence staff, for disseminating information within the defence forces. 
Belgium, Written replies to the list of issues to be taken up in connection with the consideration of the initial report of Belgium to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, 3 April 2006, UN Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/BEL/Q/1/Add.1, submitted 30 March 2006, p. 8.
In 2006, in its second periodic report to the Committee against Torture, Belgium stated:
185. The prohibition on torture as such is not currently the subject of any specific training within the Belgian armed forces. However, the issue is indeed addressed during all military training.
186. All categories of personnel are reminded at several points in their basic and in-service training on the prohibition on torture as part of the course on the law of armed conflict.
a) Volunteers:
(i) During basic training, volunteer candidates follow a four-hour course on the law of armed conflict that includes two hours of teaching on the humanitarian rules for combatants.
(ii) When the instructor deals with the protection of various categories of person, (civilians, prisoners of war, the wounded and medical personnel), candidates are explicitly reminded of the prohibition on torture.
(iii) N.B.: A reminder of the basic training in this field undergone by any soldier is given to all soldiers in a similar form before they leave on an operation, regardless of rank (officers, non-commissioned officers and volunteers).
b) Non-commissioned officers:
(i) Non-commissioned officer candidates: Non-commissioned officer candidates receive the same basic training in the law of armed conflict, with an additional hour of teaching on their duties and responsibilities as leaders, especially as regards breaches of the law of armed conflict (murder, rape, torture, etc.).
(ii) Elite non-commissioned officer candidates (warrant officers): The same concepts are covered eight years later on a course for non-commissioned officers aspiring to promotion to the rank of warrant officer (“Prevention and punishment of breaches of the law of armed conflict”).
c) Officers
(i) Officer candidates: Officer candidates receive 11 hours of training in the law of armed conflict. In addition to basic training in the humanitarian rules for combatants, they receive an hour’s training on their responsibilities as leaders in this area (“Prevention and punishment of breaches of the law of armed conflict”).
(ii) Technical course for staff officers: As part of their in-service training, officers follow a technical course for staff officers, six hours of which are devoted to the law of armed conflict. Part of the course is spent on revision of the concepts studied earlier (by officer candidates) as they apply to a higher level of command.
(iii) Senior officer candidates: The course for senior officer candidates (followed by those wishing to be promoted to the rank of major) devotes 12 hours to the law of armed conflict. One hour is spent on revision of the basic rules of humanitarian law, including the protection of persons (civilians, the wounded, prisoners of war and medical personnel). The prohibition on torture is one of the prohibitions of which candidates are reminded on this occasion. A further hour is spent on responsibilities and the punishment of serious breaches of the law of armed conflict.
(iv) Higher course for staff officers: This course is intended for selected officers of the rank of major or lieutenant colonel. It includes 12 hours on the law of armed conflict, including the same in-depth revision as in the course for senior officer candidates, especially with regard to the punishment of violations and the responsibilities of military leaders in this respect.
d) Advisers on the law of armed conflict: The armed forces have introduced a network of advisers on the law of armed conflict (CDCAs) in military units and headquarters who are responsible for advising commanders in this field. The advisers are officers who have undergone a five week specialized training course at the Higher Royal Defence Institute. During that course they are given detailed instruction in all the rules of the law of armed conflict. Four hours of the course are devoted to the status of prisoners of war, four hours to the treatment of the wounded and medical personnel and four hours to rules governing occupation.
187. Each of these training programmes includes a reminder of the prohibition on torture for each of the categories of persons protected. 
Belgium, Second periodic report to the Committee against Torture, 14 August 2007, UN Doc. CAT/C/BEL/2, submitted 21 September 2006, §§ 185–187.
Belgium’s LOAC Teaching Directive (1996) states:
Each commander is responsible for ensuring that the personnel placed under his authority have sufficient knowledge of their obligations [under the law of armed conflict] and that they have … received appropriate instruction and training. 
Belgium, Directive sur l’enseignement du droit des conflits armés et des règles d’engagement au sein des Forces Armées belges, Ordre Général J/185, Forces Armées, Etat-Major Général, Division Opérations, 8 February 1996, Section 1.
Belgium’s Teaching Manual for Soldiers states: “Every soldier must know the essential rules of the law of war … and their meaning in order to be able to apply them. The command must ensure this knowledge by means of an appropriate instruction.” 
Belgium, Droit de la Guerre, Dossier d’Instruction pour Soldat, à l’attention des officiers instructeurs, JS3, Etat-Major Général, Forces Armées belges, undated, p. 1.