Practice Relating to Rule 139. Respect for International Humanitarian Law
Section B. Orders and instructions to ensure respect for international humanitarian law
Colombia’s Directive on IHL (1993) defines its own aim as “defining general principles and giving instructions towards the strict respect of the rules of International Humanitarian Law”. It also states:
The Ministry of National Defence gives instructions aimed at intensifying the development of capacity-building programmes of the members of the public force, on themes referring to the respect for Human Rights and the application of the rules of International Humanitarian Law, with a view to prevent and correct conduct which violates those rules …
The General Command of the Military Forces and the Direction of the National Police [g]ive the Commanders of the public force the necessary instructions for each Force to intensify, develop and complete, in the corresponding formation and capacity-building courses of their personnel, the relevant studies on the respect for Human Rights and ensure the obligatory application of International Humanitarian Law.
Colombia’s Directive No. 10 (2007), whose objective is to prevent the killing of protected persons, states:
With the objective of strengthening the application of international humanitarian law, preventing homicides of protected persons and strengthening the legitimacy of the Armed Forces, the General Command of the Armed Forces must issue precise orders to all personnel of the armed forces with a view to:
1. Incorporating and respecting the norms of international humanitarian law in the planning, execution and use of force during military operations.
In 2007, in the Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, the Plenary Chamber of Colombia’s Constitutional Court stated:
At the international level, the State obligation to respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law is found in Article 1 common to the 1949 Geneva Conventions and has acquired customary status.
[T]he general obligation to respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law is the foundation for a number of more specific duties such as … the duty to give the necessary orders and instructions to members of the armed forces to ensure their respect for and compliance with international humanitarian law as well as to provide the necessary training.