Practice Relating to Rule 142. Instruction in International Humanitarian Law within Armed Forces
Côte d’Ivoire’s Teaching Manual (2007) states in Book I (Basic instruction):
In 1961, Côte d’Ivoire acceded to the four Geneva Conventions. In 1977, it signed the two Additional Protocols, and ratified them in 1989. Since then, it has committed itself to respect and to ensure respect for the law of war … [D]irective No. 472/MEMDPC/DIRDEF/SD-RI of 4 March 2002 orders the integration of the law of war into the instruction programmes of military training.
This course teaches the elementary notions of the law of war indispensable to the military and must therefore be integrated into the initial training …
The objective of this instruction is to trigger within the soldier a spontaneous reaction which is to conform with the principles of that law. The soldier must know that respect for these rules is part of military discipline and that every violation leads to disciplinary and/or penal sanctions.
In Book III, Volume 2 (Instruction of second-year trainee officers), the Teaching Manual provides:
The law of armed conflicts [LOAC] contains a series of obligations to which States have subscribed by its ratification. They are mainly:
- the obligation to disseminate and to control the knowledge in the area of LOAC,
I.3. Obligation to disseminate and to control knowledge
I.3.1. Obligation to disseminate
“The High Contracting Parties undertake, in time of peace as in time of armed conflict, to disseminate the Conventions and this Protocol as widely as possible in their respective countries and, in particular, to include the study thereof in their programmes of military instruction and to encourage the study thereof by the civilian population, so that those instruments may become known to the armed forces and to the civilian population.”
- general information intended to popularize and to update;
- instruction intended to implant the fundamental principles;
- instruction intended to create collective and individual reflexes integrating the application of the legal rules.
III.4. Mechanisms to engage the responsibility of the State
Signatory States to the Geneva Conventions undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the Conventions in all circumstances. They further undertake to make sure that the text of the Conventions is disseminated as widely as possible, in particular to the members of the armed forces.
By a decree in 1999, Côte d’Ivoire set up a national IHL bureau in charge of dissemination and training for the armed forces.
Côte d’Ivoire’s Teaching Manual (2007) provides in Book III, Volume 2 (Instruction of second-year trainee officers):
I.3.2. Obligation to control knowledge
“In order to prevent and suppress breaches, High Contracting Parties and Parties to the conflict shall require that, commensurate with their level of responsibility, commanders ensure that members of the armed forces under their command are aware of their obligations under the [1949 Geneva] Conventions and [the 1977 Additional] Protocol [I].”
III.3. Responsibility of the commander
Commanders have the duty to:
- ensure that the personnel under their command are instructed on the rules of the law of armed conflicts;
- ensure that their orders are executed by their subordinates with respect for the law;
Members of the armed forces holding command functions have the duty:
- to show, by the interest they manifest and by the importance they give to training in times of peace and, of course, by their behaviour in combat, that they respect the law …
- to integrate legal problems in practical exercises.