Practice Relating to Rule 57. Ruses of War
Nigeria’s Military Manual (1994) states:
A commander in his desire to fulfil his mission shall not mask his intentions and action from the enemy so as to induce the enemy to react in a manner prejudicial to his interests. Thus, to be consistent with the law of war, deceptions shall follow the distinction between permitted ruses and prohibited perjury [perfidy] … [Ruse] of war is considered to be a permissible method of warfare. These are acts intended to mislead an adversary or induce him to act recklessly but they infringe no rule of international law and are not perfidious because they do not invite the confidence of an adversary with respect to protection under that law. Examples of ruses of war are camouflage, decoys, mock operations, misinformation, surprises, ambushes and small scale raids.
Nigeria’s Manual on the Laws of War states: “Stratagems and ruses of war are measures to obtain advantage over the enemy by misleading or mystifying him. Such tactics are permissible provided they do not involve treachery.” It gives examples of “legitimate tactics”, such as surprises, ambushes, feigning attacks, retreats, flights and false movement of units, making use of the enemy code and password, giving false information to the enemy, employing spies and agents, moving landmarks, using dummies and psychological warfare.