Practice Relating to Rule 148. Reprisals in Non-International Armed Conflicts
At the CDDH, the representative of Nigeria stated that “he was unhappy about the use of the word ‘reprisals’, but might endorse the Finnish amendment if another term were found, as for example ‘retaliation’ or ‘vengeance’”.
In its explanation of vote concerning draft Article 10 bis of the Additional Protocol II, Nigeria stated:
This article is no less and no more than a disguised article on reprisals. Right from the beginning … the Nigerian delegation had repeatedly opposed the inclusion of an article on reprisals in this additional Protocol II. We are of the firm conviction that reprisals as a legal notion properly belongs to international legal relations as between sovereign States and should have no place in a Protocol dealing with internal armed conflicts. Also, the inclusion of an article on reprisals in this Protocol could lead Governments and States into embarrassing situations. This is because it is not inconceivable that in the course of an internal conflict, rebels may deliberately commit acts to which the normal reaction would be in the nature of reprisals but because of a prohibitory article such as this, Governments would feel bound to fold their arms while dissident groups go on a rampage killing and maiming innocent civilians and burning dwellings and food crops. No responsible Government can allow such a situation to develop, but if this article had been adopted this is the kind of scenario that would repeat itself time and again.