United States of America
Practice Relating to Rule 147. Reprisals against Protected Objects
Section D. Objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population
The US Operational Law Handbook (1993) provides:
The following measures are expressly prohibited by the law of war and are not excusable on the basis of military necessity:
m. Reprisals against … items such as food stuffs and livestock essential to the survival of the civilian population.
In 1987, in submitting the 1977 Additional Protocol II to the US Senate for advice and consent to ratification, the US President announced his decision not to ratify the 1977 Additional Protocol I, stating, inter alia
, that the Additional Protocol I “fails to improve substantially the compliance and verification mechanisms of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and eliminates an important sanction against violations of those Conventions”.
In 1987, the Deputy Legal Adviser of the US Department of State stated that the United States did not support “the prohibition on reprisals in article 51 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I and subsequent articles” and did not consider it part of customary law.
In its written statement submitted to the ICJ in the Nuclear Weapons case in 1995, the United States stated:
Various provisions of Additional Protocol I contain prohibitions on reprisals against specific types of persons or objects, including … objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population (Article 54(4)) … These are among the new rules established by the Protocol that … do not apply to nuclear weapons.