Practice Relating to Rule 142. Instruction in International Humanitarian Law within Armed Forces
Nigeria’s Military Manual (1994) incorporates the content of Article 47 of the 1949 Geneva Convention I and adds:
Dissemination simply means that in the law of armed conflict, the obligation is that States make the principles of the law known to its armed forces … by teaching them in military training programmes.
The manual further states:
[The 1977 Additional Protocol I] in its Article 6 further provides that the High Contracting Parties with the assistance of the various national Red Cross Societies and under the guidance and general superintendence of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), shall train qualified personnel to facilitate the application of the [1949 Geneva] conventions and [the 1977 Additional Protocols I and II] … Furthermore the ICRC shall hold at the disposal of the High Contracting Parties the lists of the persons so trained which the High Contracting Parties may have established and may have transmitted to it for that purpose.
The dissemination of the [1949 Geneva] conventions and the protocols therefore must be as orderly as possible in the respective countries and in particular to include the study thereof in their programmes of military instruction … The purpose therefore is that any military … authorities, who in time of armed conflict, assume responsibilities in respect of the application of the [1949 Geneva] conventions and the protocols, shall be fully acquainted with the text thereof.
In addition, the manual states: “The law of war training is aimed at ensuring full respect for the law of war by all members of the armed forces irrespective of their function, time, location and situation.”
According to an academic report on the level of implementation of IHL in Nigeria, the Directorate of Legal Services of the army is responsible for dissemination, education and advice on matters relating to IHL. This report also states that, in 1996, the Nigerian army was in the process of producing a series of instruction manuals on various aspects of IHL intended to be incorporated and used at the training courses of officers at various levels. It also notes that the Nigerian army sponsors officers to participate in courses in IHL abroad, such as at the International Institute of Humanitarian Law in San Remo.
The Report on the Practice of Nigeria states that no normative practice relative to the duty to instruct members of the armed forces in IHL was found. However, it mentions brochures/manuals on IHL published by the Nigerian armed forces.
Nigeria’s Military Manual (1994) recalls: “Commanders are … enjoined to ensure that members of the armed forces under their command are aware of their obligations under the [1949 Geneva] conventions and the [1977 Additional Protocols I and II]”.
In addition, the manual states:
Every commander … holds full responsibility for proper law of war training within his sphere of authority and it is his duty to determine the needs of his subordinate which shall be integrated into the normal exercise of military activities.