Practice Relating to Rule 147. Reprisals against Protected Objects
Section B. Medical objects
Australia’s Commanders’ Guide (1994), referring, inter alia
, to Article 46 of the 1949 Geneva Convention I, Article 47 of the 1949 Geneva Convention II and Article 20 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, states: “Protected buildings and facilities should not be the subject of reprisals.”
Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) provides: “Reprisals against … medical personnel, buildings and equipment are forbidden.”
In another provision, the manual further states: “Protected buildings and facilities … should not be the subject of reprisals.”
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) states: “Reprisals against … medical personnel, buildings and equipment are forbidden.”
The manual also states: “Reprisals are never lawful if directed against any of the following [including] … medical units, establishments and transports”.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
In 1991, in briefing notes prepared for a debate on the Geneva Convention Amendment Bill in Australia’s House of Representatives, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade expressed the view that:
The extension in [the 1977 Additional Protocol I of the prohibition of reprisals] is to civilian, cultural and other non-military objects. It was felt that an Australian reservation on this point, while leaving the way open for us to use such reprisals, would not only allow Australia to be portrayed as barbaric but also leave such Australian objects open to attack in enemy reprisals, in return for very little military advantage. This is now a settled Australian Defence Force view.