Related Rule
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Practice Relating to Rule 146. Reprisals against Protected Persons
The UK Military Manual (1958) states:
Measures of reprisal against prisoners of war are prohibited. This prohibition is of an absolute character, so that reprisals against prisoners of war are prohibited even if intended to be adopted as a measure of retaliation against the violation of provisions of [the 1949 Geneva Convention III] by the other party. Reprisals against such violations of the Convention are permissible, but they must not be directed against prisoners of war or any other persons protected by the 1949 Conventions. 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 133(b) and footnotes 4 and 5.
In the part dealing with reprisals, the manual refers to Article 13 of the 1949 Geneva Convention III and states: “Reprisals against prisoners of war … are … prohibited.” In a footnote relating to this provision, the manual further notes: “Reprisals are unlawful against all persons except enemy combatants and those few classes of civilians who are not protected persons.” 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 644 and footnote 2.
In a footnote relating to another provision, the manual states: “Reprisals against … prisoners of war … constitute war crimes.” 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 647, footnote 1.
The UK LOAC Pamphlet (1981) provides: “The [1949] Geneva Conventions and [the 1977 Additional Protocol I] prohibit reprisals against prisoners of war.” 
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, Section 4, p. 17, § 16.
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states: “Reprisals can never lawfully be taken against prisoners of war.” 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 8.29; see also § 16.18.
In its written statement submitted to the ICJ in the Nuclear Weapons case in 1995, the United Kingdom stated:
To be lawful, a belligerent reprisal must meet two conditions. First, it must not be directed against persons or objects against which the taking of reprisals is specifically prohibited … The Geneva Conventions of 1949 prohibit the taking of reprisals against persons or objects protected by the Conventions. 
United Kingdom, Written statement submitted to the ICJ, Nuclear Weapons case, 16 June 1995, pp. 58–59.
The UK Military Manual (1958), in the part dealing with the sick, wounded and dead, refers to the provisions which the 1949 Geneva Conventions I and II have in common with the 1949 Geneva Convention III and states: “The provisions of [the 1949 Geneva Convention I] are substantially the same as in the other 1949 [Geneva] Conventions. This applies in particular to such questions as … the prohibition of reprisals.” 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 385.
In the part dealing with reprisals, and referring to Articles 14 and 46 of the 1949 Geneva Convention I and Articles 16 and 47 of the 1949 Geneva Convention II, the manual states: “Reprisals against … sick, and wounded and against shipwrecked members of the enemy armed forces … protected by [the 1949 Geneva Convention I and the 1949 Geneva Convention II] … are … prohibited.” 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 644.
In a footnote relating to this provision, the manual notes: “The effect of this rule is that reprisals are unlawful against all persons except enemy combatants and those few classes of civilians who are not protected persons.” 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 644, footnote 2.
In a footnote relating to another provision, the manual moreover states: “Reprisals against wounded and sick … constitute war crimes.” 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 647, footnote 1.
The UK LOAC Pamphlet (1981) provides: “The [1949] Geneva Conventions and [the 1977 Additional Protocol I] prohibit reprisals against … the wounded, sick and shipwrecked”. 
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, Section 4, p. 17, § 16.
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states: “Reprisals are never lawful if directed against any of the following: a. the wounded, sick and shipwrecked”. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 16.18.
In its written statement submitted to the ICJ in the Nuclear Weapons case in 1995, the United Kingdom stated:
To be lawful, a belligerent reprisal must meet two conditions. First, it must not be directed against persons or objects against which the taking of reprisals is specifically prohibited … The Geneva Conventions of 1949 prohibit the taking of reprisals against persons or objects protected by the Conventions. 
United Kingdom, Written statement submitted to the ICJ, Nuclear Weapons case, 16 June 1995, pp. 58–59.
Upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, the United Kingdom stated that in the event of violations of Articles 51–55 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I by the adversary, the United Kingdom would regard itself entitled to take measures otherwise prohibited by these Articles, noting, however, that: “Any measures thus taken by the United Kingdom … will not involve any action prohibited by the Geneva Conventions of 1949.” 
United Kingdom, Reservations and declarations made upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, 28 January 1998, § (m).
The UK Military Manual (1958), in a footnote relating to a provision which refers to Articles 14 and 46 of the 1949 Geneva Convention I and Articles 16 and 47 of the 1949 Geneva Convention II, notes: “Reprisals are unlawful against all persons except enemy combatants and those few classes of civilians who are not protected persons.” 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 644, footnote 2.
The UK LOAC Pamphlet (1981) provides: “The [1949] Geneva Conventions and [the 1977 Additional Protocol I] prohibit reprisals against … medical and religious personnel”. 
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, Section 4, p. 17, § 16.
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states: “Reprisals are never lawful if directed against any of the following: a. … medical personnel and chaplains, medical units, establishments and transports”. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 16.18.
In its written statement submitted to the ICJ in the Nuclear Weapons case in 1995, the United Kingdom stated:
To be lawful, a belligerent reprisal must meet two conditions. First, it must not be directed against persons or objects against which the taking of reprisals is specifically prohibited … The Geneva Conventions of 1949 prohibit the taking of reprisals against persons or objects protected by the Conventions. 
United Kingdom, Written statement submitted to the ICJ, Nuclear Weapons case, 16 June 1995, pp. 58–59.
Upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, the United Kingdom stated that in the event of violations of Articles 51–55 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I by the adversary, the United Kingdom would regard itself entitled to take measures otherwise prohibited by these Articles, noting, however, that: “Any measures thus taken by the United Kingdom … will not involve any action prohibited by the Geneva Conventions of 1949.” 
United Kingdom, Reservations and declarations made upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, 28 January 1998, § (m).
The UK Military Manual (1958), in a chapter dealing with the “treatment of enemy alien civilians” and referring to Articles 32–34 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV, states: “The following are prohibited: … the taking of reprisals against protected persons and their property”. 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 42.
In a chapter dealing with “the occupation of enemy territory”, the manual states: “[Article 33 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV] effected a change in the law by laying down expressly that no protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed and that collective penalties and all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited”. It goes on to say, with reference to Articles 33 and 34 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV: “[The 1949 Geneva Convention IV], provides … that ‘Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited’.” 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, §§ 553 and 554.
In a part dealing with reprisals, the manual states: “Reprisals against … civilian protected persons and their property in occupied territory and in the belligerent’s own territory, are … prohibited.” 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 644.
In a footnote relating to this provision, the manual, referring to Articles 4 and 33 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV, notes: “The effect of this rule is that reprisals are unlawful against all persons except enemy combatants and those few classes of civilians who are not protected persons.” 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 644, footnote 2.
In a footnote relating to another provision, the manual states: “Reprisals against … civilians protected under [the 1949 Geneva Convention IV], constitute war crimes.” 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 647, footnote 1.
The UK LOAC Pamphlet (1981), in a part dealing with the protection of civilians, states: “It is forbidden: … to carry out reprisals against protected persons or property.” 
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, Section 4, p. 14, § 5(e).
The Pamphlet further states: “The [1949] Geneva Conventions and [the 1977 Additional Protocol I] prohibit reprisals against … enemy civilians in territory controlled by a belligerent.” 
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, Section 4, p. 17, § 16.
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states: “Reprisals are never lawful if directed against any of the following: … c. protected persons and their property”. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 16.18; see also § 9.24.
In its written statement submitted to the ICJ in the Nuclear Weapons case in 1995, the United Kingdom stated:
To be lawful, a belligerent reprisal must meet two conditions. First, it must not be directed against persons or objects against which the taking of reprisals is specifically prohibited … The Geneva Conventions of 1949 prohibit the taking of reprisals against persons or objects protected by the Conventions. 
United Kingdom, Written statement submitted to the ICJ, Nuclear Weapons case, 16 June 1995, pp. 58–59.
The UK LOAC Pamphlet (1981), in a part dealing with the protection of civilians, states: “It is forbidden: … to carry out reprisals against protected persons or property.” 
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, Section 4, p. 14, § 5(e).
The Pamphlet further states: “The Geneva Conventions and [the 1977 Additional Protocol I] prohibit reprisals against … enemy civilians in territory controlled by a belligerent.” 
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, Section 4, p. 17, § 16.
However, the Pamphlet also states:
The United Kingdom reserves the right to take proportionate reprisals against an enemy’s civilian population or civilian objects where the enemy has attacked our own civilians or civilian objects in violation of [the 1977 Additional Protocol I]. 
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, Section 4, p. 17, § 17.
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states: “Additional Protocol I extends the categories of persons and objects against whom reprisals are prohibited to: a. civilians and the civilian population”. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 16.19.1.
The manual also restates the interpretative declaration made by the UK upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 16.19.1.
The manual explains:
This means that reprisals taken in accordance with the statement are permissible by and against the United Kingdom. However, commanders and commanders-in-chief are not to take reprisal action on their own initiative. Requests for authority to take reprisal action must be submitted to the Ministry of Defence and require clearance at Cabinet level. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 16.19.2.
In its written statement submitted to the ICJ in the Nuclear Weapons case in 1995, the United Kingdom stated:
To be lawful, a belligerent reprisal must meet two conditions. First, it must not be directed against persons or objects against which the taking of reprisals is specifically prohibited … The Geneva Conventions of 1949 prohibit the taking of reprisals against persons or objects protected by the Conventions … The Conventions do not preclude the taking of reprisals against the enemy’s civilian population … Additional Protocol I prohibits the taking of reprisals against the civilian population (Article 51(6)) … The application of these provisions would have a greater effect on the retaliatory use of nuclear weapons. Again, however, these provisions are correctly regarded as innovative and thus as inapplicable to the use of nuclear weapons. 
United Kingdom, Written statement submitted to the ICJ, Nuclear Weapons case, 16 June 1995, pp. 58–59.
Upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, the United Kingdom stated:
The obligations of Articles 51 and 55 are accepted on the basis that any adverse party against which the United Kingdom might be engaged will itself scrupulously observe those obligations. If an adverse party makes serious and deliberate attacks, in violation of Article 51 or Article 52 against the civilian population or civilians or against civilian objects, or, in violation of Articles 53, 54 and 55, on objects or items protected by those Articles, the United Kingdom will regard itself as entitled to take measures otherwise prohibited by the Articles in question to the extent that it considers such measures necessary for the sole purpose of compelling the adverse party to cease committing violations under those Articles, but only after formal warning to the adverse party requiring cessation of the violations has been disregarded and then only after a decision taken at the highest level of government. Any measures thus taken by the United Kingdom will not be disproportionate to the violations giving rise thereto and will not involve any action prohibited by the Geneva Conventions of 1949 nor will such measures be continued after the violations have ceased. The United Kingdom will notify the Protecting Powers of any such formal warning given to an adverse party, and if that warning has been disregarded, of any measures taken as a result. 
United Kingdom, Reservations and declarations made upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, 28 January 1998, § (m).