Related Rule
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Practice Relating to Rule 139. Respect for International Humanitarian Law
The UK LOAC Pamphlet (1981) contains Rules for Soldiers, which include: “I must … comply with military discipline and the laws of war which are made for my protection and to reduce unnecessary suffering.” 
United Kingdom, The Law of Armed Conflict, D/DAT/13/35/66, Army Code 71130 (Revised 1981), Ministry of Defence, prepared under the Direction of The Chief of the General Staff, 1981, Annex A, p. 44, § 1.
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states: “Regardless of the justification for or the legitimacy of any resort to force, individual members of the armed forces must act in accordance with the law of armed conflict.” 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 1.7.
The manual further explains that “[t]he law of armed conflict, being part of international law, is binding on states”. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 1.10.
In its chapter on the application of the law of armed conflict during peace-support operations, the manual further states:
14.3. The extent to which PSO [peace support operations] forces are subject to the law of armed conflict depends upon whether they are party to an armed conflict with the armed forces of a state or an entity which, for these purposes, is treated as a state. Although the United Nations (and regional organizations) are not states and are not parties to the various treaties on the law of armed conflict, states providing contingents to PSOs remain bound by the treaties to which they are parties.
14.4. Where PSO forces become party to an armed conflict with such forces, then both sides are required to observe the law of armed conflict in its entirety. In those circumstances, recourse must be had to the whole of this manual. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, §§ 14.3–14.4.
In 2003, in a written reply to a question in the House of Lords, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated:
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland takes its international humanitarian law commitments extremely seriously. As a state party to the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their two additional Protocols of 1977, we observe the requirements of these and other international legal instruments and rules of customary international law which are binding upon us. We look to other states similarly to make every effort to meet their commitments. 
United Kingdom, House of Lords, Written answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 7 January 2003, Vol. 642, Written Answers, col. WA179.
In 2003, in a written reply to a question in the House of Commons, the UK Prime Minister stated:
Details of rules of engagement are not routinely disclosed because they could give a potential enemy information about the permissions and restrictions imposed on our forces. As we have said many times, the Government are committed to acting in full conformity with International Law. Our rules of engagement will reflect this. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Prime Minister, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 24 February 2003, Vol. 400, Written Answers, col. 252W.
In 2003, in a written reply to a question in the House of Lords, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated:
United Nations peacekeeping operations and their personnel are accountable, through the commander of the operation in the field, the Department of Peace-Keeping Operations at UN Headquarters and the UN Secretary-General, to the Security Council.
UN peacekeeping personnel are obliged to act in accordance with international humanitarian law and may be subject to prosecution for any breaches which they commit. 
United Kingdom, House of Lords, Written answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 10 March 2003, Vol. 645, Written Answers, col. WA143.
In 2003, during a debate in the UN Security Council, the UK representative stated: “The United Kingdom has operated in Iraq from the beginning strictly in accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Hague Regulations.” 
United Kingdom, Statement before the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/PV.4761, 22 May 2003, p. 4.
In 2003, during a debate in the House of Commons, the UK Prime Minister stated:
I simply say in relation to any weapons or munitions that we use that we will use only those that are in accordance with international law and with the Geneva convention. That is the responsibility of the Government and is the commitment of this Government and has been of other British Governments in the past. We will do everything that we can to minimise civilian casualties. The reason why, in respect of any military action that we take, we get legal advice not merely on the military action itself but on the targeting is to make sure that that happens. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Statement by the Prime Minister, Hansard, 19 March 2003, Vol. 401, Debates, col. 934.
In 2005, in a written answer to a question concerning, inter alia, the government’s assessment of its “responsibility towards Iraqi civilians under the Geneva Conventions”, the UK Minister of State for Armed Forces, Ministry of Defence, stated:
The United Kingdom takes seriously its responsibilities and obligations under Geneva Conventions which identify civilians as “protected persons”. The Ministry of Defence has not previously published estimates of civilian casualties because there are no reliable means of producing such estimates. There is no specific requirement under the Geneva Conventions to produce estimates of civilian casualties.
We take great care to ensure that civilians are protected and that our obligations under the Geneva Conventions are met. All personnel serving in Iraq are fully briefed on the Law of Armed Conflict and appropriate measures are taken to avoid loss of civilian life or property. We always evaluate planned operations to ensure that they do not carry an unacceptable risk of causing unintended civilian casualties. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Minister of State for Armed Forces, Ministry of Defence, Hansard, 27 January 2005, Vol. 430, Written Answers, col. 541W.
In 2006, during a debate in the House of Commons, the UK Minister of State for Armed Forces, Ministry of Defence, stated:
The use of all munitions is governed by international humanitarian law. In the United Kingdom, we have a clear audit trail from the legal framework, through doctrine and training, and into targeting procedures. Our military commanders judge the degree of force to employ to achieve the mission, subject always to strict compliance with international humanitarian law. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Statement by the Minister of State for Armed Forces, Ministry of Defence, Hansard, 23 November 2006, Vol. 453, Debates, col. 802.
In 2007, in a written answer to a question in the House of Commons concerning the United Kingdom’s compliance with the 1949 Geneva Convention IV, particularly with Articles 1 and 147 therein, the UK Minister of State for Trade, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated:
The United Kingdom has signed and ratified the Fourth Geneva Convention and complies with its provisions. Every appropriate opportunity is taken in our bilateral relations and through appropriate international bodies to promote respect for the convention and its articles. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Minister of State for Trade, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 25 June 2007, Vol. 462 Written Answers, col. 200W.
In 2007, in a written answer to a question in the House of Commons concerning measures taken by the United Kingdom to ensure compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 1738 on the protection of journalists in armed conflict, the UK Solicitor-General stated:
The United Kingdom takes seriously its obligations, under international humanitarian law, to protect journalists and other civilians in situations of armed conflict and already has in place the necessary measures to ensure compliance. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Solicitor-General, Hansard, 25 June 2007, Vol. 462, Written Answers, col. 3W.
In 2007, in a written answer to a question in the House of Lords concerning civilian casualties in Afghanistan, the UK Government Spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office stated:
International forces, including UK forces, seek at all times to avoid loss of civilian life. The targeting process, weapons selection, doctrine, training and rules of engagement are all in line with international humanitarian and human rights law and the law of armed conflict.  
United Kingdom, House of Lords, Written answer by the Government Spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 5 July 2007, Vol. 693, Written Answers, col. WA183.
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states:
States are under a general obligation to issue orders and instructions requiring compliance with the law of armed conflict and to take steps to see that those orders and instructions are observed. There is a specific provision in relation to the handling of the wounded, sick and shipwrecked, extending to a requirement to provide for unforeseen situations “in conformity with the general principles” of the Geneva Conventions 1949. These are that the wounded, sick and shipwrecked should be cared for and treated without any adverse distinction. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 16.2.