Practice Related to Rule 95. Forced Labour
Section B. Compelling persons to serve in the forces of a hostile power
France’s Disciplinary Regulations (1975), as amended, prohibits “compelling nationals of the adverse party to take part in war operations against their own country”.
France’s LOAC Summary Note (1992) stipulates that “compelling [prisoners of war] to serve in enemy armed forces” is a war crime under the law of armed conflict.
France’s LOAC Manual (2001) provides that prisoners of war “shall not be compelled to take part in activities with a military character or objective”.
France’s Penal Code (1992), as amended in 2010, states that the following acts committed by someone acting on behalf of a belligerent power constitute war crimes in an international armed conflict:
1. Compelling a person protected by the international law of armed conflict to serve in its armed forces;
Compelling nationals of the hostile power to take part in the operations of war directed against their own country, even if they were in the service of the belligerent power before the commencement of the war.
In its judgement in the Wagner case
in 1946, the Permanent Military Tribunal at Strasbourg in France ruled that the introduction of compulsory military service for Alsatian civilians was a war crime.