Practice Relating to Rule 58. Improper Use of the White Flag of Truce
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands states: “It is prohibited to misuse the flag of parlementaires.”
The manual further states that “the misuse of … recognized protective signs” is a grave breach of the 1977 Additional Protocol I.
The Military Handbook (1995) of the Netherlands states that it is prohibited “to misuse the white flag”.
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states:
It is also forbidden to misuse the white flag of truce. The white flag indicates that the party flying the flag wishes to parley. This party must cease firing. The bearer of the white flag, and those accompanying this person, have a right to physical inviolability. The receiving party need not cease fire over the whole sector. The white flag is also accepted as the customary indication of a wish to surrender.
In its chapter on non-international armed conflict, the manual states: “Misuse of the white flag is prohibited.”
The Definition of War Crimes Decree (1946) of the Netherlands includes “misuse of flags of truce” in its list of war crimes.
Under the International Crimes Act (2003) of the Netherlands, “making improper use of a flag of truce, … resulting in death or serious personal injury”, is a crime, when committed in an international armed conflict.