Practice Relating to Rule 89. Violence to Life
Burundi’s Regulations on International Humanitarian Law (2007) states: “Persons hors de combat
and those who do not directly participate in hostilities are entitled to respect for their life”.
The Regulations also states that “intentional homicide” constitutes a “grave breach” of IHL.
Burundi’s Law on Genocide, Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes (2003) states:
[The following are] considered as war crimes:
A. Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 8 August 1949, namely any of the following acts aimed at persons or objects protected by the provisions of the Geneva Conventions:
C. In the case of an armed conflict not of an international character, serious violations of Article 3 common to the four Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, namely any of the following acts committed against persons taking no direct part in hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and persons placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention or any other cause:
a) violence to life or person, in particular murder of all kinds.
The Law also lists “murder [or] extermination” as a crime against humanity “when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack.”
Burundi’s Penal Code (2009) states:
“War crimes” means crimes which are committed as part of a plan or policy or as part of a large-scale commission of such crimes, in particular:
1. Any of the following grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions … :
1°. Wilful killing;
3. In the case of an armed conflict not of an international character, serious violations of article 3 common to the four 1949 Geneva Conventions … , namely, any of the following acts committed against persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention or any other cause:
1°. Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds.
4°. … [T]he carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all judicial guarantees which are generally recognized as indispensable.