Practice Relating to Rule 142. Instruction in International Humanitarian Law within Armed Forces
Cameroon’s Disciplinary Regulations (1975) states:
The military commander must incorporate in his programmes the legal problems that shall permit all members of the Armed Forces not only to realistically complete their knowledge of the international law of war, but also to solve, in time of peace, problems he will face in case of armed conflict. This instruction, in addition to military training, must be the object of instruction sessions in all military units and schools.
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (1992) states: “The teaching and dissemination of the Law of War is of prime importance to Cameroon, in civilian as well as military circles.”
The manual further states: “Each member [of the armed forces] shall receive an instruction in accordance with … his function … Instruction in the law of war must be specific, simple and must refer to concrete situations.”
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) states: “The teaching and dissemination of the law of armed conflict and international humanitarian law is of prime importance for Cameroon at both the military and civilian level.”
Cameroon’s Disciplinary Regulations (2007) states:
Article 35. Responsibility and instruction
Within the framework of the rules of this chapter, the soldiers of the Cameroonian Defence Forces must make themselves thoroughly familiar with their responsibility as regards respect for international humanitarian law and the law of armed conflicts …
Thus, respect for the rules of international law must be a natural duty for the Cameroonian soldier. If, in a particular situation, he is in doubt as regards the rules of international law, he must ask his superior for a decision; if that is impossible to him, he acts in accordance with his conscience.
Consequently, the military command must incorporate in its programmes the legal problems that will permit all members of the Defence Forces not only to complete in a realistic way their knowledge in the area of the Law of Armed Conflicts and International Humanitarian Law, but also to solve, already in time of peace, problems of international law such as they will arise in the case of armed conflict. This instruction, complementary to military training, must be the object of instruction sessions in all units, instruction centres and military schools.
In a directive in 1994, Cameroon’s Ministry of Defence stated:
Military instruction must … fully integrate this new topic [IHL and LOAC] which it is imperative to teach … This instruction must figure … on the table of jobs of the units. A wider dissemination of the [Instructors’ Manual] will be carried out so that every unit possesses it.