Practice Relating to Rule 89. Violence to Life
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) prohibits killing and provides: “Self-preservation or military necessity can never provide an excuse for the murder of prisoners of war.”
The manual further states that “wilful killing” is a grave breach of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their 1977 Additional Protocols.
With respect to non-international armed conflicts, the manual restates the provisions of common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions.
New Zealand’s Geneva Conventions Act (1958), as amended in 1987, provides: “Any person who in New Zealand or elsewhere commits, or aids or abets or procures the commission by another person of, a grave breach of any of the [1949 Geneva] Conventions … is guilty of an indictable offence.”
Under New Zealand’s International Crimes and ICC Act (2000), genocide includes the crimes defined in Article 6(a) of the 1998 ICC Statute, crimes against humanity include the crimes defined in Article 7(1)(a) of the Statute, and war crimes include the crimes defined in Article 8(2)(a)(i) and 8(2)(c)(i) and (iv) of the Statute.