Practice Relating to Rule 65. Perfidy

Note: For practice concerning the improper use of the white flag of truce which does not amount to perfidy, see Rule 58.
Additional Protocol I
Article 37(1)(a) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I lists “the feigning of an intent to negotiate under a flag of truce” as an act of perfidy. 
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), Geneva, 8 June 1977, Article 37(1)(a). Article 37 was adopted by consensus. CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.39, 25 May 1977, p. 103.
Additional Protocol I
Under Article 85(3) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, “the perfidious use, in violation of Article 37, … of … protective signs recognized by the Conventions or this Protocol” is a grave breach of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. Article 85(5) adds: “Without prejudice to the application of the [1949 Geneva] Conventions and of this Protocol, grave breaches of these instruments shall be regarded as war crimes.” 
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), Geneva, 8 June 1977, Article 85(3) and (5). Article 85 was adopted by consensus. CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.44, 30 May 1977, p. 291.
Additional Protocol II (draft)
Article 21(1) of the draft Additional Protocol II submitted by the ICRC to the CDDH provided that “when carried out in order to commit or resume hostilities, … the feigning … of a humanitarian negotiation” was considered as perfidy. 
CDDH, Official Records, Vol. I, Part Three, Draft Additional Protocols, June 1973, p. 39.
However, this proposal was deleted from draft Article 21 adopted in Committee III of the CDDH. 
CDDH, Official Records, Vol. XV, CDDH/407/Rev.1, 17 March–10 June 1977, p. 502.
ICC Statute
Under Article 8(2)(b)(vii) of the 1998 ICC Statute, “[m]aking improper use of a flag of truce, … resulting in death or serious personal injury” is a war crime in international armed conflicts. 
Statute of the International Criminal Court, adopted by the UN Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court, Rome, 17 July 1998, UN Doc. A/CONF.183/9, Article 8(2)(b)(vii).
Lieber Code
Article 114 of the 1863 Lieber Code states:
If it be discovered, and fairly proved, that a flag of truce has been abused for surreptitiously obtaining military knowledge, the bearer of the flag thus abusing his sacred character is deemed a spy.
So sacred is the character of a flag of truce, and so necessary is its sacredness, that while its abuse is an especially heinous offense, great caution is requisite, on the other hand, in convicting the bearer of a flag of truce as a spy. 
Instructions for the Government of Armies of the United States in the Field, prepared by Francis Lieber, promulgated as General Order No. 100 by President Abraham Lincoln, Washington D.C., 24 April 1863, Article 114.
Lieber Code
Article 117 of the 1863 Lieber Code considers it “an act of bad faith, of infamy or fiendishness, to deceive the enemy by flags of protection”. 
Instructions for the Government of Armies of the United States in the Field, prepared by Francis Lieber, promulgated as General Order No. 100 by President Abraham Lincoln, Washington D.C., 24 April 1863, Article 117.
Oxford Manual of Naval War
Article 15 of the 1913 Oxford Manual of Naval War states: “Methods … which involve treachery are forbidden. Thus it is forbidden … to make improper use of a flag of truce.” 
The Laws of Naval War Governing the Relations between Belligerents, adopted by the Institute of International Law, Oxford, 9 August 1913, Article 15.
ILC Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind (1996)
Pursuant to Article 20(b)(v) of the 1996 ILC Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind, “[t]he perfidious use of … recognized protective signs” is a war crime. 
Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind, adopted by the International Law Commission, reprinted in Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its forty-eighth session, 6 May–26 July 1996, UN Doc. A/51/10, 1996, Article 20(b)(v).
UNTAET Regulation No. 2000/15
The UNTAET Regulation No. 2000/15 establishes panels with exclusive jurisdiction over serious criminal offences, including war crimes. According to Section 6(1)(b)(vii), “[m]aking improper use of a flag of truce, … resulting in death or serious personal injury” is a war crime in international armed conflicts. 
Regulation on the Establishment of Panels with Exclusive Jurisdiction over Serious Criminal Offences, UN Doc. UNTAET/REG/2000/15, Dili, 6 June 2000, Section 6(1)(b)(vii).
Argentina
Argentina’s Law of War Manual (1969) provides especially for the prohibition of the improper use of the flag of truce, which is considered a breach of good faith. It states, however, that the use said to be “improper” applies only in combat operations. 
Argentina, Leyes de Guerra, RC-46-1, Público, II Edición 1969, Ejército Argentino, Edición original aprobado por el Comandante en Jefe del Ejército, 9 May 1967, § 1.017.
Argentina
Argentina’s Law of War Manual (1989) gives “simulating the intent to negotiate under a flag of parlementaires” as an example of perfidy. 
Argentina, Leyes de Guerra, PC-08-01, Público, Edición 1989, Estado Mayor Conjunto de las Fuerzas Armadas, aprobado por Resolución No. 489/89 del Ministerio de Defensa, 23 April 1990, § 1.05(2)(1).
The manual also states that “the perfidious use … of … recognized protective signs” is a grave breach of the 1977 Additional Protocol I and a war crime. 
Argentina, Leyes de Guerra, PC-08-01, Público, Edición 1989, Estado Mayor Conjunto de las Fuerzas Armadas, aprobado por Resolución No. 489/89 del Ministerio de Defensa, 23 April 1990, § 8.03.
Australia
Australia’s Commanders’ Guide (1994) states: “Acts which constitute perfidy include feigning of … an intent to negotiate under a flag of truce.” 
Australia, Law of Armed Conflict, Commanders’ Guide, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 Supplement 1 – Interim Edition, 7 March 1994, § 826(a) (naval warfare) and § 902(a) (land warfare).
Australia
Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) provides: “Acts which constitute perfidy include feigning of … an intent to negotiate under a flag of truce.” 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, § 703(a); see also § 910.
Australia
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) states: “Acts which constitute perfidy include feigning of … an intent to negotiate under a flag of truce or surrender”. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, § 7.3; see also § 9.10.
The manual also states that the 1977 Additional Protocol I extends the definition of grave breaches to include “the perfidious use of the distinctive emblem of the Red Cross, Red Crescent, Red Crystal and other Red Cross societies, or of other protective signs recognised by the Conventions or the Protocol”. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, § 13.26.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
Belgium
Belgium’s Law of War Manual (1983) states that “using the white flag in order to approach and attack” is an act of perfidy. 
Belgium, Droit Pénal et Disciplinaire Militaire et Droit de la Guerre, Deuxième Partie, Droit de la Guerre, Ecole Royale Militaire, par J. Maes, Chargé de cours, Avocat-général près la Cour Militaire, D/1983/1187/029, 1983, p. 32.
Burundi
Burundi’s Regulations on International Humanitarian Law (2007) states: “Perfidy consists of committing a hostile act under the cover of legal protection (e.g. … feigning the intention to negotiate under the cover of the flag of truce …)”. 
Burundi, Règlement n° 98 sur le droit international humanitaire, Ministère de la Défense Nationale et des Anciens Combattants, Projet “Moralisation” (BDI/B-05), August 2007, Part I bis, p. 32; see also Part I bis, pp. 46, 95 and 115.
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (1992) states that “feigning to negotiate under the flag of parlementaires” is a perfidious act. 
Cameroon, Droit international humanitaire et droit de la guerre, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les Forces Armées, Présidence de la République, Ministère de la Défense, Etat-major des Armées, Troisième Division, Edition 1992, p. 30, § 131.1 and p. 90, § 222; see also p. 63, § 234.
Furthermore, the manual states that “abuse of the flag of parlementaires to surprise the enemy” is also an act of perfidy. 
Cameroon, Droit international humanitaire et droit de la guerre, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les Forces Armées, Présidence de la République, Ministère de la Défense, Etat-major des Armées, Troisième Division, Edition 1992, p. 149, § 531.1.
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) states that “the abuse of the flag of truce to surprise the enemy” constitutes an “act of perfidy”. 
Cameroon, Droit des conflits armés et droit international humanitaire, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les forces de défense, Ministère de la Défense, Présidence de la République, Etat-major des Armées, 2006, p 59, § 251; see also p. 85, § 341 p. 183, § 494.A and p. 222, § 222.
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) provides: “The following are examples of perfidy if a hostile act is committed while: … feigning an intent to negotiate under a flag of truce.” 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 6-2, § 9(a) (land warfare), p. 7-2, § 17(a) (air warfare) and p. 8-11, § 81(a) (naval warfare).
The manual also states: “It is an abuse of the white flag to make use of it solely for the purpose of moving troops without interference by the adverse party.” 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 14-1, § 8.
The manual further states that “perfidious use of … protective signs recognized by the Geneva Conventions or [the 1977 Additional Protocol] I” is a grave breach of the 1977 Additional Protocol I and a war crime. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 16-2, § 8(a) and p. 16-3, § 16(f).
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001) states in its chapters on land warfare, air warfare and naval warfare: “The following are examples of perfidy if a hostile act is committed while: a. feigning an intent to negotiate under a flag of truce.” 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, §§ 603.2.a (land warfare), 706.2.a (air warfare) and 857.2.a (naval warfare).
In its chapter on “War crimes, individual criminal liability and command responsibility”, the manual identifies as a grave breach of the 1977 Additional Protocol I and a war crime the “perfidious use of … protective signs recognized by the Geneva Conventions or [the 1977 Additional Protocol] I”. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 1608.2.f.
Chad
Chad’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) states that the “perfidious use of protective signs” is a grave breach of the 1977 Additional Protocol I and, as such, a war crime. 
Chad, Droit international humanitaire, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les forces armées et de sécurité, Ministère de la Défense, Présidence de la République, Etat-major des Armées, 2006, p. 108.
Colombia
Colombia’s Directive on IHL (1993) punishes “the perfidious use of … protective signs recognized under the law of war (the white flag of parlementaires, for example)”. 
Colombia, Normas de Derecho Internacional Humanitario, Directiva Permanente No. 017, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, 17 August 1993, Section III(D).
Côte d’Ivoire
Côte d’Ivoire’s Teaching Manual (2007) provides in Book I (Basic instruction): “The following acts are regarded as perfidy: … The misleading use of … the white flag of truce”. 
Côte d’Ivoire, Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre I: Instruction de base, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, p. 16.
In Book III, Volume 1 (Instruction of first-year trainee officers), the Teaching Manual provides:
IHL prohibits recourse to perfidy with the aim to kill, injure or capture an enemy.
Regarded as perfidy is any act which appeals to the good faith of the enemy, with the intention to deceive him, and with the aim to make him believe that he is entitled to receive, or has the obligation to give, protection provided by the rules of IHL.
The following acts are examples of perfidy:
- feigning of an intent to negotiate under a flag of truce. 
Côte d’Ivoire, Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre III, Tome 1: Instruction de l’élève officier d’active de 1ère année, Manuel de l’élève, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, p. 41; see also Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre IV: Instruction du chef de section et du commandant de compagnie, Manuel de l’élève, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, p. 48.
Croatia
Croatia’s LOAC Compendium (1991) provides that the “perfidious use of distinctive protective signs” is a grave breach and a war crime. 
Croatia, Compendium “Law of Armed Conflicts”, Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Defence, 1991, p. 56.
Croatia
Croatia’s Commanders’ Manual (1992) states: “It is prohibited to feign a protected status by inviting the confidence of the enemy: misuse of … the flag of truce.” 
Croatia, Basic Rules of the Law of Armed Conflicts – Commanders’ Manual, Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Defence, 1992, § 46.
Ecuador
Ecuador’s Naval Manual (1989) provides that it is unlawful to use the flag of truce to gain a military advantage over the enemy. It adds: “Misuse of protective signs, signals and symbols … in order to injure, kill, or capture the enemy constitutes an act of perfidy.” 
Ecuador, Aspectos Importantes del Derecho Internacional Marítimo que Deben Tener Presente los Comandantes de los Buques, Academia de Guerra Naval, 1989, § 12.2.
France
France’s LOAC Summary Note (1992) prohibits perfidy and states: “It is forbidden to feign a protected status to invite the confidence of the enemy (abuse of … white flag).” 
France, Fiche de Synthèse sur les Règles Applicables dans les Conflits Armés, Note No. 432/DEF/EMA/OL.2/NP, Général de Corps d’Armée Voinot (pour l’Amiral Lanxade, Chef d’Etat-major des Armées), 1992, § 4.4.
The Summary Note also states that the “perfidious use of protected signs and signals” is a grave breach of the law of war and a war crime. 
France, Fiche de Synthèse sur les Règles Applicables dans les Conflits Armés, Note No. 432/DEF/EMA/OL.2/NP, Général de Corps d’Armée Voinot (pour l’Amiral Lanxade, Chef d’Etat-major des Armées), 1992, § 3.4.
France
France’s LOAC Teaching Note (2000) provides: “The recourse to perfidy is prohibited, notably the abuse of the white flag.” 
France, Fiche didactique relative au droit des conflits armés, Directive of the Ministry of Defence, 4 January 2000, annexed to the Directive No. 147 of the Ministry of Defence of 4 January 2000, p. 3.
France
France’s LOAC Manual (2001) states:
Using a protective sign in order to deceive the enemy and attain an operational goal constitutes an act of perfidy. In some cases, this may be a war crime. It is notably prohibited to feign an intention to negotiate under the cover of the flag of parlementaires. 
France, Manuel de droit des conflits armés, Ministère de la Défense, Direction des Affaires Juridiques, Sous-Direction du droit international humanitaire et du droit européen, Bureau du droit des conflits armés, 2001, p. 62.
Moreover, the manual states: “The perfidious use of any protective sign provided for by international law constitutes a war crime.” 
France, Manuel de droit des conflits armés, Ministère de la Défense, Direction des Affaires Juridiques, Sous-Direction du droit international humanitaire et du droit européen, Bureau du droit des conflits armés, 2001, p. 118; see also p. 115.
Germany
Under Germany’s Soldiers’ Manual (1991), “the feigning of the intention to negotiate under a flag of truce” constitutes a perfidious act. 
Germany, Taschenkarte, Humanitäres Völkerrecht in bewaffneten Konflikten – Grundsätze, Bearbeitet nach ZDv 15/2, Humanitäres Völkerrecht in bewaffneten Konflikten – Handbuch, Zentrum Innere Führung, June 1991, p. 2.
Germany
Germany’s Military Manual (1992) provides:
Misusing the flag of truce constitutes perfidy and hence a violation of international law … The flag of truce is being misused, for instance, if soldiers approach an enemy position under the protection of the flag of truce in order to attack. 
Germany, Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflicts – Manual, DSK VV207320067, edited by The Federal Ministry of Defence of the Federal Republic of Germany, VR II 3, August 1992, English translation of ZDv 15/2, Humanitäres Völkerrecht in bewaffneten KonfliktenHandbuch, August 1992, § 230; see also § 1019 (naval warfare).
The manual also states: “Grave breaches of international humanitarian law are in particular: … perfidious … use of recognized protective signs.” 
Germany, Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflicts – Manual, DSK VV207320067, edited by The Federal Ministry of Defence of the Federal Republic of Germany, VR II 3, August 1992, English translation of ZDv 15/2, Humanitäres Völkerrecht in bewaffneten KonfliktenHandbuch, August 1992, § 1209.
Germany
Germany’s Soldiers’ Manual (2006) states that perfidious acts are those “by which the adversary is induced to believe that there is a situation affording protection under public international law, so that he may be attacked by surprise, e.g. the feigning of … the intention to negotiate under the flag of truce.” 
Germany, Druckschrift Einsatz Nr. 03, Humanitäres Völkerrecht in bewaffneten Konflikten – Grundsätze, Erarbeitet nach ZDv 15/2, Humanitäres Völkerrecht in bewaffneten Konflikten – Handbuch, DSK SF009320187, Bundesministerium der Verteidigung, R II 3, August 2006, p. 2.
Greece
The Hellenic Territorial Army’s Internal Service Code (1984), as amended, provides: “It is forbidden for members of the armed forces: … To use perfidiously the white flag.” 
Greece, Hellenic Territorial Army Regulation of Internal Service Code, Presidential Decree 130/1984 (Military Regulation 20-1), as amended, Article 15(h).
Greece
The Hellenic Navy’s International Law Manual (1995) provides that “the pretentious waving of a white flag in order to propose a truce” constitutes perfidy. 
Greece, International Law Manual, Hellenic Navy General Staff, Directorate A2, Division IV, 1995, Chapter 5, § 4.
Hungary
Hungary’s Military Manual (1992) states that “to falsely claim protected status, thereby inviting the confidence of the enemy: e.g. misuse of: … flag of truce” is an act of perfidy. 
Hungary, A Hadijog, Jegyzet a Katonai, Föiskolák Hallgatói Részére, Magyar Honvédség Szolnoki Repülötiszti Föiskola, 1992, p. 63.
The manual further states that the “perfidious use of distinctive protective signs” is a grave breach of the law of war and a war crime. 
Hungary, A Hadijog, Jegyzet a Katonai, Föiskolák Hallgatói Részére, Magyar Honvédség Szolnoki Repülötiszti Föiskola, 1992, p. 90.
Indonesia
Indonesia’s Military Manual (1982) provides: “It is prohibited to kill or injure the enemy by perfidy, such as … to misuse the flag of truce.” 
Indonesia, The Basics of International Humanitarian Law, Legal Division of the Indonesian Armed Forces, 1982, § 103.
Israel
Referring to Israel’s Law of War Booklet (1986), the Report on the Practice of Israel states that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) prohibit “the resort to perfidy to kill, injure or capture an adversary. Therefore, the IDF does not feign intent to … negotiate under a white flag.” 
Report on the Practice of Israel, 1997, Chapter 2.4, referring to Conduct in the Battlefield in Accordance with the Law of War, Israel Defense Forces, 1986, p. 8.
Israel
Israel’s Manual on the Laws of War (1998) gives the following example of perfidy: “It is forbidden to use a white flag for an inappropriate purpose (posing as persons … seeking negotiations with a view to gaining a military advantage).” 
Israel, Laws of War in the Battlefield, Manual, Military Advocate General Headquarters, Military School, 1998, p. 56.
Israel
Israel’s Manual on the Rules of Warfare (2006) states:
It is forbidden to make false use of the white flag (pretending to surrender or to be willing to negotiate while the true intention is to obtain a military advantage) so that soldiers from the other side will not fear allowing fighter[s] to live and grant them the status of prisoner-of-war. 
Israel, Rules of Warfare on the Battlefield, Military Advocate-General’s Corps Command, IDF School of Military Law, Second Edition, 2006, p. 35.
The Manual on the Rules of Warfare (2006) is a second edition of the Manual on the Laws of War (1998).
Italy
Under Italy’s IHL Manual (1991), grave breaches of international conventions and protocols, including “the perfidious use … of international protective signs”, constitute war crimes. 
Italy, Manuale di diritto umanitario, Introduzione e Volume I, Usi e convenzioni di Guerra, SMD-G-014, Stato Maggiore della Difesa, I Reparto, Ufficio Addestramento e Regolamenti, Rome, 1991, Vol. I, § 85.
Italy
Italy’s LOAC Elementary Rules Manual (1991) states: “It is prohibited to feign a protected status by inviting the confidence of the enemy: misuse of … the flag of truce.” 
Italy, Regole elementari di diritto di guerra, SMD-G-012, Stato Maggiore della Difesa, I Reparto, Ufficio Addestramento e Regolamenti, Rome, 1991, § 46.
Italy
Italy’s Combatant’s Manual (1998) states:
Parlementaires, i.e. those who request to meet with the Commanding Officer of the enemy unit to discuss a ceasefire or to surrender, are protected by the “White flag”.
IT IS PROHIBITED to deceive the enemy by raising a white flag and then opening fire. 
Italy, Manuale del Combattente, SME 1000/A/2, Stato Maggiore Esercito/Reparto Impiego delle Forze, Ufficio Dottrina, Addestramento e Regolamenti, 1998, § 247.
[emphasis in original]
Madagascar
Madagascar’s Military Manual (1994) states that “it is prohibited to feign a protected status thereby inviting the confidence of the enemy”, such as abuse of the white flag. 
Madagascar, Le Droit des Conflits Armés, Ministère des Forces Armées, August 1994, Fiche No. 6-O, § 14.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands states that the 1977 Additional Protocol I “gives a number of examples of treacherous behaviour: feigning intent to negotiate under the flag of parlementaires”. 
Netherlands, Toepassing Humanitair Oorlogsrecht, Voorschift No. 27-412/1, Koninklijke Landmacht, Ministerie van Defensie, 1993, p. IV-2.
Netherlands
The Military Handbook (1995) of the Netherlands provides: “Misuse of the white flag is treachery.” 
Netherlands, Handboek Militair, Ministerie van Defensie, 1995, p. 7-36.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states:
AP I [1977 Additional Protocol I] lists a number of examples of acts of perfidy:
- the feigning of an intent to negotiate under a flag of truce. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0414.
New Zealand
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) states that “the feigning of an intent to negotiate under a flag of truce” is an example of perfidy. 
New Zealand, Interim Law of Armed Conflict Manual, DM 112, New Zealand Defence Force, Headquarters, Directorate of Legal Services, Wellington, November 1992, § 502(5) (land warfare) and § 713(2) (naval warfare).
The manual also states that “perfidious use of … protective signs recognised by the [1949 Geneva] Conventions or [the 1977 Additional Protocol I]” constitutes a grave breach of the 1977 Additional Protocol I and a war crime. 
New Zealand, Interim Law of Armed Conflict Manual, DM 112, New Zealand Defence Force, Headquarters, Directorate of Legal Services, Wellington, November 1992, §§ 1701(1) and 1703(3)(f).
Nigeria
Nigeria’s Military Manual (1994) gives the following example of “perjury” (perfidy): “Feigning an intent to negotiate under a flag of truce.” 
Nigeria, International Humanitarian Law (IHL), Directorate of Legal Services, Nigerian Army, 1994, pp. 42 and 43, § 12(a).
Nigeria
Nigeria’s Manual on the Laws of War states: “It is forbidden to deceive the enemy by hoisting a white flag and have the enemy believe that a parlementaire is approaching them and thereby concealing an advance for attack.” 
Nigeria, The Laws of War, by Lt. Col. L. Ode PSC, Nigerian Army, Lagos, undated, § 24.
Peru
Peru’s IHL Manual (2004) states that “the feigning of an intent to negotiate under a flag of truce” is an example of perfidy. 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial Nº 1394-2004-DE/CCFFAA/CDIH-FFAA, Lima, 1 December 2004, § 27.e.(9).(a).
Peru
Peru’s IHL and Human Rights Manual (2010) states that “the feigning of an intent to negotiate under a flag of truce” is an example of perfidy. 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario y Derechos Humanos para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial No. 049-2010/DE/VPD, Lima, 21 May 2010, § 28(e)(2)(a), p. 239.
Romania
Under Romania’s Soldiers’ Manual (1991), “feigning an intent to negotiate under the cover of a flag” is an act of perfidy. 
Romania, Manualul Soldatului, Ghid de comportare în luptă, Asociaţia Română de Drept Umanitar (ARDU), 1991, p. 35.
Russian Federation
The Russian Federation’s Regulations on the Application of IHL (2001) states:
When planning and conducting combat operations it is necessary to draw a clear distinction between perfidy and ruses of war. Perfidy means committing a hostile act under the cover of a right to protection by feigning: … an intent to negotiate under a flag of truce. 
Russian Federation, Regulations on the Application of International Humanitarian Law by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, Moscow, 8 August 2001, § 8.
South Africa
South Africa’s LOAC Manual (1996) states that the misuse of any of the symbols of protection (including the white flag) constitutes an act of perfidy and a grave breach of the law of armed conflict. 
South Africa, Presentation on the South African Approach to International Humanitarian Law, Appendix A, Chapter 4: International Humanitarian Law (The Law of Armed Conflict), National Defence Force, 1996, § 34(c).
The manual also states that “perfidious use of … the white flag” is a grave breach of the 1977 Additional Protocol I and a war crime.  
South Africa, Presentation on the South African Approach to International Humanitarian Law, Appendix A, Chapter 4: International Humanitarian Law (The Law of Armed Conflict), National Defence Force, 1996, §§ 37(d) and 41.
South Africa
South Africa’s Revised Civic Education Manual (2004) states: “It is not permissible to attempt to deceive the enemy by abusing the LOAC or misusing the various protections it affords. For example, it is forbidden to … misuse any of the … symbols of protection [including the white flag of truce].” 
South Africa, Revised Civic Education Manual, South African National Defence Force, 2004, Chapter 4, §§ 56(c) and 46.
South Africa
South Africa’s LOAC Teaching Manual (2008) states:
- Perfidy
- The following actions are perfidious and therefore prohibited:
- To mark persons and objects who are not entitled to it, with any of the distinctive signs, to wit, … the white flag (flag of truce) and other internationally recognised signs and signals, … ([1977] Additional Protocol I article 38.)
- The following acts are examples of perfidy (Additional Protocol I article 37):
- To pretend an intention to negotiate under a flag of truce[.] 
South Africa, Advanced Law of Armed Conflict Teaching Manual, School of Military Justice, 1 April 2008, as amended to 25 October 2013, Learning Unit 3, pp. 186–187.
The manual further states:
5.1 War Crimes and Grave Breaches of the LOAC [law of armed conflict]
- [1977] Additional Protocol I article 85 provides further examples of grave breaches, in that it stipulates that the following acts shall be regarded as grave breaches when committed wilfully, and causing death or serious injury to body or health:
- The perfidious use of the distinctive emblem of the Red Cross or of other protective signs. 
South Africa, Advanced Law of Armed Conflict Teaching Manual, School of Military Justice, 1 April 2008, as amended to 25 October 2013, Learning Unit 5, p. 237.
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) states: “The improper use of the flag of parlementaires constitutes an act of perfidy. An abuse is committed when one takes advantage of the protection of the flag to approach the enemy and attack him by surprise.” 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Publicación OR7-004, 2 Tomos, aprobado por el Estado Mayor del Ejército, Division de Operaciones, 18 March 1996, Vol. I, § 2.6.c.(1); see also § 7.5.c.
Likewise, according the manual, “feigning the intent to negotiate under a flag of parlementaires” is regarded as an act of perfidy. 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Publicación OR7-004, 2 Tomos, aprobado por el Estado Mayor del Ejército, Division de Operaciones, 18 March 1996, Vol. I, §§ 3.3.b.(1) and 5.3.c; see also § 7.3.c.
The manual also provides: “It is prohibited to feign a protected status by inviting the confidence of the enemy: misuse of … the flag of truce.” 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Publicación OR7-004, 2 Tomos, aprobado por el Estado Mayor del Ejército, Division de Operaciones, 18 March 1996, Vol. I, § 10.8.e.(1).
Moreover, the manual states that it is a grave breach and a war crime “to make a perfidious use … of … recognized protective signs”. 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Publicación OR7-004, 2 Tomos, aprobado por el Estado Mayor del Ejército, Division de Operaciones, 18 March 1996, Vol. I, § 9.2.a.(2).
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states: “Improper use of a flag of truce constitutes an act of perfidy. An abuse is committed when a party to the conflict takes advantage of the protection of the flag to draw near to the enemy and launch a surprise attack.” 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Tomo 1, Publicación OR7–004, (Edición Segunda), Mando de Adiestramiento y Doctrina, Dirección de Doctrina, Orgánica y Materiales, 2 November 2007, § 2.6.c.(1); see also § 7.5.c.
The manual further states that “the feigning of an intent to negotiate under a flag of truce” is an example of a perfidious act. 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Tomo 1, Publicación OR7–004, (Edición Segunda), Mando de Adiestramiento y Doctrina, Dirección de Doctrina, Orgánica y Materiales, 2 November 2007, § 2.3.b.(3); see also §§ 3.3.b.(1).(a), 5.3.c and 7.3.c.
Sweden
Sweden’s IHL Manual (1991) notes that “the feigning of an intent to negotiate under a flag of truce” is defined as perfidious conduct by Article 37 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
Sweden, International Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflict, with reference to the Swedish Total Defence System, Swedish Ministry of Defence, January 1991, Section 3.2.1.1.b, p. 29.
Switzerland
Switzerland’s Basic Military Manual (1987) forbids perfidy. Thus, “it is notably prohibited … to feign a desire to negotiate by misusing the flag of parlementaires”. 
Switzerland, Lois et coutumes de la guerre (Extrait et commentaire), Règlement 51.7/II f, Armée Suisse, 1987, Article 39.
As an example of “murder by treason”, the manual lists firing at the enemy while approaching them under the protection of a white flag. 
Switzerland, Lois et coutumes de la guerre (Extrait et commentaire), Règlement 51.7/II f, Armée Suisse, 1987, Article 18, commentary.
The manual also considers the “perfidious use of … distinctive signs recognized by the [1949 Geneva] Conventions or [the 1977 Additional Protocol I], in violation of Article 37 [of the 1977 Additional Protocol I],” as a grave breach of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
Switzerland, Lois et coutumes de la guerre (Extrait et commentaire), Règlement 51.7/II f, Armée Suisse, 1987, Article 193(1)(f).
Ukraine
Ukraine’s IHL Manual (2004) states that an example of perfidy is “the feigning of an intention to negotiate under a flag of truce”. 
Ukraine, Manual on the Application of IHL Rules, Ministry of Defence, 11 September 2004, § 1.2.44.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK Military Manual (1958), in connection with the requirements for being granted the status of combatant, notes in particular that irregular troops “should have been warned against the employment of treachery [and] improper conduct towards flags of truce”. 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 95.
The manual considers it a legitimate ruse “to utilise an informal suspension of arms for the purpose of collecting wounded and dead … to execute movements unseen by the enemy”. For instance, it notes an incident during the Russo-Japanese War of 1905, in which a group of Russians under the protection of the white flag and the red cross emblem advanced towards the Japanese army and asked for a suspension of arms to collect the wounded and the dead. It then used the occasion to withdraw completely. 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 319, including footnote 1.
The manual condemns as unlawful the use of a “white flag for the purpose of making the enemy believe that a parlementaire is about to be sent when there is no such intention, and to carry out operations under the protection granted by the enemy to the pretended flag of truce”. 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 416.
The manual states: “Abuse of a flag of truce constitutes gross perfidy and entitles the injured party to take reprisals or to try the offenders if captured.” 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 417.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Pamphlet (1981) provides: “Abuse of the white flag is treachery.” 
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, Annex A, p. 46, § 5.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states:
It is forbidden to make improper use of a flag of truce. Thus, a feigned intention to negotiate or surrender with the intention of using the white flag as cover for the collection of information might amount to the war crime of perfidy whatever the consequences. It would amount to a grave breach of Additional Protocol I if it resulted in death or serious injury. A parlementaire who abuses his position in this way can be taken as a prisoner of war and tried. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 10.10.1.
United States of America
The US Field Manual (1956) states: “It is … an abuse of a flag of truce to carry out operations under the protection accorded by the enemy to it and those accompanying it.” 
United States, Field Manual 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare, US Department of the Army, 18 July 1956, as modified by Change No. 1, 15 July 1976, § 467.
United States of America
The US Air Force Pamphlet (1976) states:
The white flag has traditionally indicated a desire to communicate with the enemy … It raises expectations that the particular struggle is at an end or close to an end since the only proper use of the flag of truce or white flag in international law is to communicate to the enemy a desire to negotiate. Thus, the use of a flag of truce or white flag in order to deceive or mislead the enemy, or for any other purpose other than to negotiate … has long been recognized as an act of treachery … [This] expresses the customary and conventional law in this area. 
United States, Air Force Pamphlet 110-31, International Law – The Conduct of Armed Conflict and Air Operations, US Department of the Air Force, 1976, § 8-6(a)(2); see also § 8-3(a).
The Pamphlet also states: “In addition to the grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, the following acts are representative of situations involving individual criminal responsibility: … treacherous request for … truce.” 
United States, Air Force Pamphlet 110-31, International Law – The Conduct of Armed Conflict and Air Operations, US Department of the Air Force, 1976, § 15-3(c)(3).
United States of America
The US Naval Handbook (1995) provides that it is unlawful to use the flag of truce to gain a military advantage over the enemy. It adds: “Misuse of protective signs, signals and symbols … in order to injure, kill, or capture the enemy constitutes an act of perfidy.” 
United States, The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations, NWP 1-14M/MCWP 5-2.1/COMDTPUB P5800.7, issued by the Department of the Navy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and Headquarters, US Marine Corps, and Department of Transportation, US Coast Guard, October 1995 (formerly NWP 9 (Rev. A)/FMFM 1-10, October 1989), § 12.2.
United States of America
The US Manual for Military Commissions (2007), Part IV, Crimes and Elements, includes in the list of crimes triable by military commissions:
IMPROPERLY USING A FLAG OF TRUCE.
a. Text. “Any person subject to this chapter who uses a flag of truce to feign an intention to negotiate, surrender, or otherwise suspend hostilities when there is no such intention shall be punished as a military commission under this chapter may direct.”
b. Elements.
(1) The accused used a flag of truce;
(2) The accused made such use of the flag in order to feign an intention to negotiate, surrender, or otherwise suspend hostilities;
(3) The accused had no intention to negotiate, surrender, or otherwise suspend hostilities; and
(4) The conduct took place in the context of and was associated with armed conflict.
c. Maximum punishment. Confinement for 20 years. 
United States, Manual for Military Commissions, published in implementation of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, 10 U.S.C. §§ 948a, et seq., 18 January 2007, Part IV, § 6(18), p. IV-14.
United States of America
The US Naval Handbook (2007) states that “use of the white flag to gain a military advantage over the enemy is unlawful”. 
United States, The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations, NWP 1-14M/MCWP 5-12.1/COMDTPUB P5800.7, issued by the Department of the Navy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and Headquarters, US Marine Corps, and Department of Homeland Security, US Coast Guard, July 2007, § 12.2.
United States of America
The US Manual for Military Commissions (2010), Part IV, Crimes and Elements, includes in the list of crimes triable by military commissions:
IMPROPERLY USING A FLAG OF TRUCE.
a. Text. “Any person subject to this chapter who uses a flag of truce to feign an intention to negotiate, surrender, or otherwise suspend hostilities when there is no such intention shall be punished as a military commission under this chapter may direct.”
b. Elements.
(1) The accused used a flag of truce;
(2) The accused made such use of the flag in order to feign an intention to negotiate, surrender, or other wise suspend hostilities;
(3) The accused had no intention to negotiate, surrender, or otherwise suspend hostilities; and
(4) The conduct took place in the context of and was associated with hostilities.
c. Maximum punishment. Confinement for 20 years. 
United States, Manual for Military Commissions, published in implementation of Chapter 47A of Title 10, United States Code, as amended by the Military Commissions Act of 2009, 10 U.S.C, §§ 948a, et seq., 27 April 2010, § 5(18), p. IV-15.
The manual also states: “One may commit an act of treachery or perfidy by, for example, feigning an intent to negotiate under a flag of truce or a surrender”. 
United States, Manual for Military Commissions, published in implementation of Chapter 47A of Title 10, United States Code, as amended by the Military Commissions Act of 2009, 10 U.S.C, §§ 948a, et seq., 27 April 2010, § 5(17)(c)(4), p. IV-15.
Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia’s Military Manual (1988) states that “feigning an intention to negotiate under a flag of truce” is an act of perfidy. 
Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of, Propisi o Primeri Pravila Medjunarodnog Ratnog Prava u Oruzanim Snagama SFRJ, PrU-2, Savezni Sekretarijat za Narodnu Odbranu (Pravna Uprava), 1988, § 104(1).
Australia
Australia’s Geneva Conventions Act (1957), as amended in 2002, provides: “A person who, in Australia or elsewhere, commits a grave breach … of [the 1977 Additional Protocol I] is guilty of an indictable offence.” 
Australia, Geneva Conventions Act, 1957, as amended in 2002, Section 7(1).
The grave breaches provisions in this Act were removed in 2002 and incorporated into the Criminal Code Act (1995).
Australia
Australia’s ICC (Consequential Amendments) Act (2002) incorporates in the Criminal Code the war crimes defined in the 1998 ICC Statute, including “improper use of a flag of truce … in order to feign an intention to negotiate when there is no such intention on the part of the perpetrator … [and which] results in deaths or serious personal injury”, in international armed conflicts. 
Australia, ICC (Consequential Amendments) Act, 2002, Schedule 1, § 268.41.
Australia
Australia’s Criminal Code Act (1995), as amended to 2007, states with respect to serious war crimes that are committed in the course of an international armed conflict:
War crime – improper use of a flag of truce
A person (the perpetrator) commits an offence if:
(a) the perpetrator uses a flag of truce; and
(b) the perpetrator uses the flag in order to feign an intention to negotiate when there is no such intention on the part of the perpetrator; and
(c) the perpetrator knows of, or is reckless as to, the illegal nature of such use of the flag; and
(d) the perpetrator’s conduct results in death or serious personal injury; and
(e) the conduct takes place in the context of, and is associated with, an international armed conflict.
Penalty: Imprisonment for life. 
Australia, Criminal Code Act, 1995, as amended to 2007, Chapter 8, § 268.41, p. 329.
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan’s Criminal Code (1999) provides that “the misuse of the white flag, … which as a result caused death or serious injury to body of a victim,” constitutes a war crime in international and non-international armed conflicts. 
Azerbaijan, Criminal Code, 1999, Article 119(2).
Canada
Canada’s Geneva Conventions Act (1985), as amended in 2007, provides that “every person who, whether within or outside Canada, commits a grave breach [of the 1977 Additional Protocol I] … is guilty of an indictable offence”. 
Canada, Geneva Conventions Act, 1985, as amended in 2007, Section 3(1).
Canada
Canada’s Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act (2000) provides that the war crimes defined in Article 8(2) of the 1998 ICC Statute are “crimes according to customary international law” and, as such, indictable offences under the Act. 
Canada, Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act, 2000, Section 4(1) and (4).
Chad
Chad’s Emblem Law (2014) states:
Any person who, intentionally, in time of war, commits or gives the order to commit acts resulting in the death of or causing serious harm to the body or health of an adversary by making perfidious use of the emblem of the red cross or red crescent or a distinctive signal, commits a war crime and is punished by forced labour.
Perfidious use means improperly using the distinctive emblem of the red cross, red crescent or other protective signs recognized by international humanitarian law, or improperly using the badge of a parlementaire, the flag or military insignia and uniform of the enemy, or of the United Nations, and by doing so, causing the loss of human lives or serious injuries. 
Chad, Emblem Law, 2014, Article 11.
Colombia
Colombia’s Penal Code (2000), in an article entitled “Perfidy”, imposes a criminal sanction on “anyone who, during an armed conflict, with intent to harm or attack the adversary, … uses improperly … the white flag of parlementaires”. 
Colombia, Penal Code, 2000, Article 143.
Congo
The Congo’s Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity Act (1998) defines war crimes with reference to the categories of crimes defined in Article 8 of the 1998 ICC Statute. 
Congo, Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity Act, 1998, Article 4.
Cook Islands
The Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocols Act (2002) of the Cook Islands punishes “any person who in the Cook Islands or elsewhere commits, or aids or abets or procures the commission by another person of, a grave breach … of [the 1977 Additional Protocol I]”. 
Cook Islands, Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocols Act, 2002, Section 5(1).
Cyprus
Cyprus’s Additional Protocol I Act (1979) punishes “any person who, whatever his nationality, commits in the Republic or outside the Republic any grave breach of the provisions of the Protocol, or takes part or assists or incites another person in the commission of such a breach”. 
Cyprus, Additional Protocol I Act, 1979, Section 4(1).
Denmark
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (1973), as amended in 1978, provides:
Any person who uses war instruments or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or the general rules of international law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. a fine, lenient imprisonment or up to 12 years’ imprisonment]. 
Denmark, Military Criminal Code, 1973, as amended in 1978, § 25(1).
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (2005) provides:
Any person who deliberately uses war means [“krigsmiddel”] or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or international customary law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. imprisonment up to life imprisonment]. 
Denmark, Military Criminal Code, 2005, § 36(2).
Ethiopia
Ethiopia’s Penal Code (1957) punishes any abuse of the white flag, with intent to prepare or to commit hostile acts. 
Ethiopia, Penal Code, 1957, Article 294(b).
Ethiopia’s Criminal Code (2004) states:
Article 282.- Abuse of Emblems and Insignia of International Humanitarian Organizations.
Whoever intentionally:
(b) abuses … any … protective device recognized in public international law, in particular the white flag, with intent to prepare or to commit hostile acts,
is punishable with simple imprisonment, or, in cases of exceptional gravity, with rigorous imprisonment not exceeding five years. 
Ethiopia, Criminal Code, 2004, Article 282.
The Criminal Code of 2004 repealed Ethiopia’s Penal Code of 1957.
France
France’s Penal Code (1992), as amended in 2010, states in its section on war crimes related to international armed conflict: “Making improper use of the flag of truce … and thereby causing serious bodily harm to a combatant from the adverse party is a punishable offence.” 
France, Penal Code, 1992, as amended in 2010, Article 461-29.
Georgia
Under Georgia’s Criminal Code (1999), “the perfidious use of … protective signs and signals recognized by international humanitarian law” in an international or non-international armed conflict is a crime. 
Georgia, Criminal Code, 1999, Article 411(1)(f).
Germany
Germany’s Law Introducing the International Crimes Code (2002) punishes anyone who, in connection with an international or non-international armed conflict, “makes improper use … of the flag of truce, … thereby causing a person’s death or serious injury”. 
Germany, Law Introducing the International Crimes Code, 2002, Article 1, § 10(2).
Ireland
Ireland’s Geneva Conventions Act (1962), as amended in 1998, provides that grave breaches of the 1977 Additional Protocol I are punishable offences. 
Ireland, Geneva Conventions Act, 1962, as amended in 1998, Section 3(1).
The Act adds that any “minor breach” of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, including violations of Article 37(1), is also a punishable offence. 
Ireland, Geneva Conventions Act, 1962, as amended in 1998, Section 4(1) and (4).
Mali
Under Mali’s Penal Code, “using the flag of parlementaires … and thereby, causing loss of human lives or serious injuries” is a war crime in international armed conflicts. 
Mali, Penal Code, 2001, Article 31(i)(7).
Myanmar
Myanmar’s Defence Services Act (1959) punishes any person who “treacherously … sends a flag of truce to the enemy”. 
Myanmar, Defence Services Act, 1959, Section 32(f).
New Zealand
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 [the 1977 Additional Protocol I] is guilty of an indictable offence.” 
New Zealand, Geneva Conventions Act, 1958, as amended in 1987, Section 3(1).
New Zealand
Under New Zealand’s International Crimes and ICC Act (2000), war crimes include the crimes defined in Article 8(2)(b)(vii) of the 1998 ICC Statute. 
New Zealand, International Crimes and ICC Act, 2000, Section 11(2).
Norway
Norway’s Military Penal Code (1902), as amended in 1981, provides:
Anyone who contravenes or is accessory to the contravention of provisions relating to the protection of persons or property laid down in … the two additional protocols to [the 1949 Geneva] Conventions … is liable to imprisonment.  
Norway, Military Penal Code, 1902, as amended in 1981, § 108(b).
Peru
Peru’s Military and Police Criminal Code (2010), in a chapter entitled “Crimes involving the use of prohibited methods in the conduct of hostilities, states:
A member of the military or the police shall be punished with deprivation of liberty of not less than ten and not more than twenty years if, in a state of emergency and when the Armed Forces assume control of the internal order, he or she improperly uses … the white flag … with the result set out in Article 33, paragraphs 16 and 17 [of the present code, namely causing serious injury or death]. 
Peru, Military and Police Criminal Code, 2010, Article 96.
Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone’s Geneva Conventions Act (2012) states:
2. Grave breaches of the [1949 Geneva] Conventions and the [1977] First [Additional] Protocol
(1) A person of whatever nationality commits an offence if that person, whether within or outside Sierra Leone[,] commits, aids, abets or procures any other person to commit a grave breach specified in –
(e) … paragraph … 3 … of Article 85 of the First Protocol [on, inter alia, the grave breach of the perfidious use, in violation of Article 37 of the Protocol, of the distinctive emblem of the red cross, red crescent or red lion and sun or of other protective signs recognized by the Conventions or the Protocol]. 
Sierra Leone, Geneva Conventions Act, 2012, Section 2(1)(e).
South Africa
South Africa’s ICC Act (2002) reproduces the war crimes listed in the 1998 ICC Statute, including in international armed conflicts: “making improper use of a flag of truce … resulting in death or serious personal injury”. 
South Africa, ICC Act, 2002, Schedule 1, Part 3, § (b)(vii).
South Africa
South Africa’s Implementation of the Geneva Conventions Act (2012) states:
5. Breach of Conventions and penalties
(1) Any person who, whether within or outside the Republic, commits a grave breach of the [1949 Geneva] Conventions, is guilty of an offence.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), “a grave breach” means –
(e) a grave breach referred to in Article … 85 of [the 1977 Additional] Protocol I. 
South Africa, Implementation of the Geneva Conventions Act, 2012, Section 5(1)–(2)(e).
Spain
Spain’s Royal Ordinance for the Armed Forces (1978) provides: “The combatant … shall not display treacherously the white flag.” 
Spain, Royal Ordinance for the Armed Forces, 1978, Article 138.
Spain
Spain’s Penal Code (1995) punishes “anyone who, during an armed conflict … uses … in a perfidious manner the flag of parlementaires”. 
Spain, Penal Code, 1995, Article 612(6).
Sweden
Under Sweden’s Penal Code (1962), as amended in 1998, misuse of flags of parlementaires or “the killing or injuring of an opponent by means of some other form of treacherous behaviour” constitutes a crime against international law. 
Sweden, Penal Code, 1962, as amended in 1998, Chapter 22, § 6(2).
Tajikistan
Tajikistan’s Criminal Code (1998) punishes “the perfidious use of … protective signs and signals recognized by international humanitarian law” in an international or internal armed conflict. 
Tajikistan, Criminal Code (1998), Article 403(1).
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK Geneva Conventions Act (1957), as amended in 1995, punishes “any person, whatever his nationality, who, whether in or outside the United Kingdom, commits, or aids, abets or procures the commission by any other person of, a grave breach of … [the 1977 Additional Protocol I]”. 
United Kingdom, Geneva Conventions Act, 1957, as amended in 1995, Section 1(1).
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Under the UK ICC Act (2001), it is a punishable offence to commit a war crime as defined in Article 8(2)(b)(vii) of the 1998 ICC Statute. 
United Kingdom, ICC Act, 2001, Sections 50(1) and 51(1) (England and Wales) and Section 58(1) (Northern Ireland).
United States of America
The US Military Commissions Act (2006), passed by Congress following the Supreme Court’s decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld in 2006, amends Title 10 of the United States Code as follows:
§ 950v. Crimes triable by military commissions
“ …
“(b) OFFENSES.—The following offenses shall be triable by military commission under this chapter at any time without limitation:
“ …
“(18) IMPROPERLY USING A FLAG OF TRUCE.—Any person subject to this chapter who uses a flag of truce to feign an intention to negotiate, surrender, or otherwise suspend hostilities when there is no such intention shall be punished as a military commission under this chapter may direct. 
United States, Military Commissions Act, 2006, Public Law 109-366, Chapter 47A of Title 10 of the United States Code, 17 October 2006, p. 120 Stat. 2629, § 950v(b)(18).
United States of America
The US Military Commissions Act (2009) amends Chapter 47A of Title 10 of the United States Code as follows:
§ 950t. Crimes triable by military commission
“The following offenses shall be triable by military commission under this chapter at any time without limitation:
“ …
“(18) IMPROPERLY USING A FLAG OF TRUCE.—Any person subject to this chapter who uses a flag of truce to feign an intention to negotiate, … or otherwise suspend hostilities when there is no such intention shall be punished as a military commission under this chapter may direct. 
United States, Military Commissions Act, 2009, § 950t(18).
Yemen
Under Yemen’s Military Criminal Code (1998), the “perfidious use of … international protective emblems provided for in international conventions” is a war crime. 
Yemen, Military Criminal Code, 1998, Article 21(5).
Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe’s Geneva Conventions Act (1981), as amended in 1996, punishes “any person, whatever his nationality, who, whether in or outside Zimbabwe, commits any such grave breach of … [the 1977 Additional Protocol I]”. 
Zimbabwe, Geneva Conventions Act, 1981, as amended in 1996, Section 3(1).
Canada
In 2013, in the Sapkota case, Canada’s Federal Court dismissed a request for review of a decision denying refugee protection to the applicant on grounds of complicity in crimes against humanity in Nepal between 1991 and 2009. While reviewing the submissions of the respondent, Canada’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, the Court stated: “The Respondent notes that the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court … is endorsed in Canada as a source of customary law.” 
Canada, Federal Court, Sapkota case, Reasons for Judgment and Judgment, 15 July 2013, § 28.
South Africa
In 1987, in the Petane case, the Cape Provincial Division of South Africa’s Supreme Court dismissed the accused’s claim that the 1977 Additional Protocol I reflected customary international law. The Court stated:
The accused has been indicted before this Court on three counts of terrorism, that is to say, contraventions of s 54(1) of the Internal Security Act 74 of 1982. He has also been indicted on three counts of attempted murder.
The accused’s position is stated to be that this Court has no jurisdiction to try him.
… The point in its early formulation was this. By the terms of [the 1977 Additional] Protocol I to the [1949] Geneva Conventions the accused was entitled to be treated as a prisoner-of-war. A prisoner-of-war is entitled to have notice of an impending prosecution for an alleged offence given to the so-called “protecting power” appointed to watch over prisoners-of-war. Since, if such a notice were necessary, the trial could not proceed without it, Mr Donen suggested that the necessity or otherwise for giving such a notice should be determined before evidence was led. …
On 12 August 1949 there were concluded at Geneva in Switzerland four treaties known as the Geneva Conventions. …
South Africa was among the nations which concluded the treaties. … Except for the common art 3, which binds parties to observe a limited number of fundamental humanitarian principles in armed conflicts not of an international character, they apply to wars between States.
After the Second World War many conflicts arose which could not be characterised as international. It was therefore considered desirable by some States to extend and augment the provisions of the Geneva Conventions, so as to afford protection to victims of and combatants in conflicts which fell outside the ambit of these Conventions. The result of these endeavours was Protocol I and Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions, both of which came into force on 7 December 1978.
Protocol II relates to the protection of victims of non-international armed conflicts. Since the State of affairs which exists in South Africa has by Protocol I been characterised as an international armed conflict, Protocol II does not concern me at all.
The extension of the scope of art 2 of the Geneva Conventions was, at the time of its adoption, controversial. …
The article has remained controversial. More debate has raged about its field of operation than about any other articles in Protocol I. …
South Africa is one of the countries which has not acceded to Protocol I. Nevertheless, I am asked to decide, as I indicated earlier, as a preliminary point, whether Protocol I has become part of customary international law. If so, it is argued that it would have been incorporated into South African law. If it has been so incorporated it would have to be proved by one or other of the parties that the turmoil which existed at the time when the accused is alleged to have committed his offences was such that it could properly be described as an “armed conflict” conducted by “peoples” against a “ra[c]ist regime” in the exercise of their “right of self-determination”. Once all this has been shown it would have to be demonstrated to the Court that the accused conducted himself in such a manner as to become entitled to the benefits conferred by Protocol I on combatants, for example that, broadly speaking, he had, while he was launching an attack, distinguished himself from civilians and had not attacked civilian targets. …
… I am prepared to accept that where a rule of customary international law is recognised as such by international law it will be so recognised by our law.
To my way of thinking, the trouble with the first Protocol giving rise to State practice is that its terms have not been capable of being observed by all that many States. At the end of 1977 when the treaty first lay open for ratification there were few States which were involved in colonial domination or the occupation of other States and there were only two, South Africa and Israel, which were considered to fall within the third category of ra[c]ist regimes. Accordingly, the situation sought to be regulated by the first Protocol was one faced by few countries; too few countries in my view, to permit any general usage in dealing with armed conflicts of the kind envisaged by the Protocol to develop.
Mr Donen contended that the provisions of multilateral treaties can become customary international law under certain circumstances. I accept that this is so. There seems in principle to be no reason why treaty rules cannot acquire wider application than among the parties to the treaty.
Brownlie Principles of International Law 3rd ed at 13 agrees that non-parties to a treaty may by their conduct accept the provisions of a multilateral convention as representing general international law. …
I incline to the view that non-ratification of a treaty is strong evidence of non-acceptance.
It is interesting to note that the first Protocol makes extensive provision for the protection of civilians in armed conflict. …
In this sense, Protocol I may be described as an enlightened humanitarian document. If the strife in South Africa should deteriorate into an armed conflict we may all one day find it a cause for regret that the ideologically provocative tone of s 1(4) has made it impossible for the Government to accept its terms.
To my mind it can hardly be said that Protocol I has been greeted with acclaim by the States of the world. Their lack of enthusiasm must be due to the bizarre mixture of political and humanitarian objects sought to be realised by the Protocol. …
According to the International Review of the Red Cross (January/February 1987) No 256, as at December 1986, 66 States were parties to Protocol I and 60 to Protocol II, which, it will be remembered, deals with internal non-international armed conflicts. With the exception of France, which acceded only to Protocol II, not one of the world’s major powers has acceded to or ratified either of the Protocols. This position should be compared to the 165 States which are parties to the Geneva Conventions.
This approach of the world community to Protocol I is, on principle, far too half-hearted to justify an inference that its principles have been so widely accepted as to qualify them as rules of customary international law. The reasons for this are, I imagine, not far to seek. For those States which are contending with “peoples[’]” struggles for self-determination, adoption of the Protocol may prove awkward. For liberation movements who rely on strategies of urban terror for achieving their aims the terms of the Protocol, with its emphasis on the protection of civilians, may prove disastrously restrictive. I therefore do not find it altogether surprising that Mr Donen was unable to refer me to any statement in the published literature that Protocol I has attained the status o[f] customary international [law].
I have not been persuaded by the arguments which I have heard on behalf of the accused that the assessment of Professor Dugard, writing in the Annual Survey of South African Law (1983) at 66, that “it is argued with growing conviction that under contemporary international law members of SWAPO [South-West Africa People’s Organisation] and the ANC [African National Congress] are members of liberation movements entitled to prisoner-of-war status, in terms of a new customary rule spawned by the 1977 Protocols”, is correct. On what I have heard in argument I disagree with his assessment that there is growing support for the view that the Protocols reflect a new rule of customary international law. No writer has been cited who supports this proposition. Here and there someone says that it may one day come about. I am not sure that the provisions relating to the field of application of Protocol I are capable of ever becoming a rule of customary international law, but I need not decide that point today.
For the reasons which I have given I have concluded that the provisions of Protocol I have not been accepted in customary international law. They accordingly form no part of South African law.
This conclusion has made it unnecessary for me to give a decision on the question of whether rules of customary international law which conflict with the statutory or common law of this country will be enforced by its courts.
In the result, the preliminary point is dismissed. The trial must proceed. 
South Africa, Supreme Court, Petane case, Judgment, 3 November 1987, pp. 2–8.
South Africa
In 2010, in the Boeremag case, South Africa’s North Gauteng High Court stated:
In Petane, … Conradie J found that the provisions of [the 1977 Additional] Protocol I are not part of customary international law, and therefore are also not part of South African law.
Referring to the fact that in December 1986 only 66 of the 165 States party to the Geneva Conventions had ratified Protocol I, the Court [in Petane] stated:
This approach of the world community to Protocol I is, on principle, far too half-hearted to justify an inference that its principles have been so widely accepted as to qualify them as rules of customary international law. The reasons for this are, I imagine, not far to seek. For those States which are contending with “peoples[’]” struggles for self-determination, adoption of the Protocol may prove awkward. For liberation movements who rely on strategies of urban terror for achieving their aims the terms of the Protocol, with its emphasis on the protection of civilians, may prove disastrously restrictive. I therefore do not find it altogether surprising that Mr Donen was unable to refer me to any statement in the published literature that Protocol I has attained the status of customary international law.
Important changes with respect to certain aspects applicable at the time of Petane have taken place. The ANC [African National Congress] has become South Africa’s ruling party and in 1995 ratified Protocol I. The total number of States that have ratified it, is now … 162.
This last aspect forms the basis on which the First Respondent [the State] and the applicants agree that Protocol I forms part of customary international law as well as of South African law. As requested, this position is accepted for the purposes of the decision, without deciding on the matter.
Despite these changes, it remains debatable whether the provisions of Protocol I have become a part of South African law in this way.
The consensus of both parties to the conflict is required. See Petane … and Article 96 of Protocol I. …
Parliament’s failure to incorporate Protocol I into legislation in accordance with Article 231(4) of the Constitution in fact points to the contrary, and is indicative that the requirements of usus and/or opinio juris have not been met. See Petane. 
South Africa, North Gauteng High Court, Boeremag case, Judgment, 26 August 2010, pp. 21–22.
[footnotes in original omitted]
The Court also held:
If the [1977 Additional Protocol I] applies in South Africa as customary international law, the two requirements that form the basis of customary law must be met. It is arguable that the requirement of usus has been met by the vast number of States that have acceded or ratified it. By ratifying Protocol I the Republic of South Africa has indicated its intention to apply the Protocol, thereby fulfilling the requirement of opinio juris. 
South Africa, North Gauteng High Court, Boeremag case, Judgment, 26 August 2010, p. 66.
Switzerland
Switzerland’s ABC of International Humanitarian Law (2009) states:
Perfidy
International humanitarian law prohibits killing, injuring or capturing an adversary by resorting to perfidy. Acts of perfidy include any form of deception designed to win the confidence of an adversary and lead him to believe that he is entitled or obliged to accord protection under the rules of international humanitarian law, with the intention of betraying that confidence. An example of perfidy is to falsely lay claim to protected status through the misuse of signs or emblems[.] 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, ABC of International Humanitarian Law, 2009, p. 34.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
A training video on IHL produced by the UK Ministry of Defence emphasizes that it constitutes treachery to fire under the cover of protection of the flag of truce. 
United Kingdom, Ministry of Defence, Training Video: The Geneva Conventions, 1986, Report on UK Practice, 1997, Chapter 2.2.
United States of America
In 1992, in its final report to Congress on the conduct of the Gulf War, the US Department of Defense stated: “Perfidious acts include the feigning of an intent … to negotiate under a flag of truce.” 
United States, Department of Defense, Final Report to Congress on the Conduct of the Persian Gulf War, 10 April 1992, Appendix O, The Role of the Law of War, ILM, Vol. 31, 1992, p. 632.
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ICRC
The ICRC Commentary on the Additional Protocols states:
The perfidious use … of emblems, signs, signals or uniforms referred to in Article 37 … of the Protocol [among which the flag of truce], for the purpose of killing, injuring or capturing an adversary, constitutes a grave breach under [Article 85(3)(f) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I]. 
Yves Sandoz et al. (eds.), Commentary on the Additional Protocols, ICRC, Geneva, 1987, § 3499.
ICRC
To fulfil its task of disseminating IHL, the ICRC has delegates around the world teaching armed and security forces that “to pretend an intent to negotiate under a flag of truce” is an act of perfidy. 
Frédéric de Mulinen, Handbook on the Law of War for Armed Forces, ICRC, Geneva, 1987, § 409(a).
Delegates also teach that “the perfidious use of the … distinctive signs marking specifically protected persons and objects … [and of] other protected signs recognized by the law of war” constitutes a grave breach of the law of war. 
Frédéric de Mulinen, Handbook on the Law of War for Armed Forces, ICRC, Geneva, 1987, § 779(a) and (b).
ICRC
In a working paper on war crimes submitted in 1997 to the Preparatory Committee for the Establishment of an International Criminal Court, the ICRC included “the perfidious use of the … protective signs and signals recognized by international humanitarian law”, when committed in an international armed conflict, in its list of war crimes to be subject to the jurisdiction of the Court. 
ICRC, Working paper on war crimes submitted to the Preparatory Committee for the Establishment of an International Criminal Court, New York, 14 February 1997, § 1(b)(vi).
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