Practice Relating to Rule 145. Reprisals
Section D. Order at the highest authority of government
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands, referring to customary law, states that reprisals are in principle allowed, provided that a number of conditions are fulfilled, including: “Because of its important political and military consequences, the power to decide on a reprisal belongs to the government.”
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states:
On the basis of customary law, it used to be assumed that reprisals were allowed in principle by the law of war, provided that a number of conditions were met:
- the authority to decide on reprisals is reserved to government, because of the serious political and military consequences.
In its chapter on non-international armed conflict, the manual states:
Any belligerent reprisal actions may be taken only after the political and military leadership have given permission for them, and the competent authorities have given the necessary instructions for their execution.