Practice Relating to Rule 89. Violence to Life
In its judgment in the Videla case
in 1994, Chile’s Appeal Court of Santiago held that the 1949 Geneva Conventions “protect the human rights of the contestants in the event of external war or a conflict between organized armed forces within the State, which latter situation effectively prevailed in the country in 1974”. The Court stated that common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions obliged parties to non-international armed conflicts “to extend humanitarian treatment to persons taking no active part in the hostilities or who have placed themselves hors de combat
for various reasons, and prohibits at any time and in any place violence to life and person”. The Court found that the acts charged constituted grave breaches under Article 147 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV and that the prison order issued against the defendant should therefore be upheld.
In its judgment in the Contreras Sepúlveda case in 2004, Chile’s Supreme Court stated:
[W]ithout any doubt, the 1949 Geneva Conventions are in force … and oblige State parties in case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring within their territory, which is exactly the situation in Chile during the period between 12 September 1973 and 11 March 1975, to treat humanely … opponents who have laid down their arms, … prohibiting in particular at any time and any place … violence to life and person.