Practice Relating to Rule 146. Reprisals against Protected Persons
Section E. Civilians in general
Italy’s IHL Manual (1991) provides that reprisals cannot be directed against the civilian population, except in case of absolute necessity. However, providing for the prohibition of reprisals against, inter alia
, protected civilian persons and protected persons, the manual also states: “The observance of international rules which expressly provide for the obligation to abide by them in any circumstances cannot be suspended by way of reprisals.”
Italy’s Combatant’s Manual (1998) instructs: “[D]o not engage in reprisals”.
Italy’s Law of War Decree (1938), as amended in 1992, provides: “Respect for rules adopted in order to comply with international conventions which expressly exclude reprisals cannot be suspended.”
Upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, Italy stated:
Italy will react to serious and systematic violations by an enemy of the obligations imposed by Additional Protocol I and in particular its Articles 51 and 52 with all means admissible under international law in order to prevent any further violation.