Practice Relating to Rule 158. Prosecution of War Crimes
Cuba’s Military Criminal Code (1979), in a chapter entitled “Offences committed during combat actions”, contains provisions criminalizing certain acts such as: “mistreatment of prisoners of war” (Article 42); “plundering” (Article 43); “violence against the population of the area of military activities” (Article 44); and “prohibited use of banners or symbols of the Red Cross” (Article 45).
In 2009, in a statement before the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly on the obligation to extradite or prosecute and treaties over time, the representative of Cuba stated:
The Cuban delegation would like to emphasise that the obligation to extradite or prosecute is aimed at combating impunity, by ensuring that persons accused of certain crimes are denied safe haven and are brought to trial for their criminal acts.
We consider that the obligation to extradite or prosecute is based primarily on international treaties; and in the case of certain crimes of the most serious nature, it has acquired a character that may be considered customary.
Some of the crimes that include this obligation include genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity … [and] torture.
In 2010, in a statement before the UN General Assembly on the scope and application of the principle of universal jurisdiction, the representative of Cuba stated:
Cuba supports the efforts of the International Community to fight impunity and hold those responsible for the most serious violations against humanity to account, but this must be done in strict compliance with international law, if we want to achieve positive results.
… In accordance with the relevant article in each [Geneva] Convention States have an obligation to search for persons accused of having committed grave breaches “regardless of their nationality” and to bring such persons before its own courts or hand such persons over for trial to another High Contracting Party.