Practice Relating to Rule 143. Dissemination of International Humanitarian Law among the Civilian Population
I Geneva Convention (GC I, Art. 47) states that the contracting parties shall undertake, both in peace and in war, to ensure the widest possible dissemination of the convention texts and to introduce study thereof into programmes of … civilian instruction. The III Geneva Convention (GC III, Art. 127) states that the principles of the conventions shall be made known to … the entire population. Similarly, the IV Geneva Convention (GC IV, Art. 144) states that the principles for protection of civilians shall be made known to the entire population. The undertaking of the parties concerning information and instruction in international humanitarian law is stressed in Additional Protocol I to the 1949 Geneva Conventions (AP I, Art. 83), which, however, goes further than the earlier conventions. According to the Protocol, the military and civilian authorities responsible for their application during a conflict shall possess full knowledge of the texts both of the Protocol and of the Conventions. Thus a definite tightening of the demands has been introduced.
The manual further states: “By its ratification in 1977 of the Additional Protocols to the Geneva 1949 Conventions, Sweden pledged herself to inform and instruct … the civilian population … on the rules of international humanitarian law.”