Practice Relating to Rule 142. Instruction in International Humanitarian Law within Armed Forces
Uruguay’s Law on the National Armed Forces (1983) provides: “The personnel of the National Armed Forces shall know and strictly comply with all the principles and rules provided for in the Conventions and Conferences on the International Law of War which have been ratified by the Republic.”
Uruguay’s Law on Cooperation with the ICC (2006) states:
The State is obliged to inform and disseminate to the widest extent possible the norms of domestic and international law that regulate the aforementioned crimes and offences [including war crimes]. Education and training programmes must be implemented for public officials, in particular for all levels of … military … personnel. For military personnel, special programmes must be established for continuous comprehensive education in international humanitarian law.
Uruguay’s Resolution on the Working Group Which Provides Initial and Further Training Support in Human Rights to Peace Missions Staff (2011) states:
RECALLING the need to provide an institutional framework for the working group that has been providing initial and further training to troops who receive special instruction, prior to their deployment in peace mission zones.
WHEREAS (I) the country has taken on various human rights and international humanitarian law commitments arising from international and national legal instruments, especially regarding education and dissemination of these instruments.
CONSIDERING (I) the determination to promote and protect human rights and international humanitarian law in addition to other areas in which the United Nations requests the support of troop-contributing countries, such as social and cultural knowledge of mission locations; the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases with a focus on human rights; topics concerning gender equality and sexual or gender-based violence; policies to curb sexual exploitation and abuse; and other elements of civil protection, in compliance with the guidelines and recommendations issued by the United Nations.
(III) that the information duly issued by the Commission on the Application of International Humanitarian Law regarding the need to include such topics in the training of all staff who deploy, and in particular to train junior staff, has also been taken into account.
ON THE BASIS of the foregoing:
THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC
Article 2 – The working group [providing initial and further training support in human rights within the framework of the development and consolidation of peace] shall:
1. Analyse initial and further training needs of staff deployed to mission areas, with due regard for the peace operations within the framework of United Nations reform, and make recommendations to the Minister for Defence accordingly.
2. Propose to create materials to support the initial and further training activities, as well as identify the most suitable methodologies in each case.
3. Organize and deliver courses, workshops, seminars and any other kind of initial and further training activities for the initial deployment referred to in this Resolution, in consultation with the relevant bodies of the armed forces and taking into account the process described in the previous paragraphs.
Uruguay’s Law on Police and Military Education (2014) states:
The purpose of human rights education shall be the development of the attitudes and the adoption of the principles relating to fundamental human rights and international humanitarian law by pupils through basic knowledge of the bodies of law.
In a decree issued in 1992, the Government of Uruguay entrusted the administration of IHL courses, in coordination with the National Committee on Humanitarian Law of the Ministry of National Defence, to the country’s main military academy, Instituto Militar de Estudios Superiores, and in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to the Instituto Artigas de Relaciones Exteriores – Escuela Diplomática.
Courses on the law of war and public international law (including the law of armed conflict) are taught at the Instituto Militar de Estudios Superiores (courses for first-year students in the programme that trains officers), at the Escuela de Armas y Servicios (training and finishing programme for officers) and at the Escuela Militar (courses for future officers).
IHL instruction is also included in the law programme of the Escuela de Policía.
In 2012, in its initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the 2000 Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, Uruguay stated:
122. Starting in 2010 and on the basis of a technical cooperation agreement with the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), pre-deployment training workshops will be organized for staff assigned to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), and the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in the Sinai Peninsula.
123. Activities include coverage of human rights subjects, giving candidates the chance to become acquainted with available knowledge, approaches and concepts in that area, while establishing a connection with their own personal rights and the protection of those of local inhabitants at the place of mission. Coverage includes observation of the application of International Humanitarian Law, with a special emphasis on the protection of children, and issues such as gender, sexual violence and gender, respect for diversity, as well [as] HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, types of addiction within the framework of the rights to life and health, knowledge of and respect for culture and religion at the place of mission, United Nations anti-discrimination policies, harassment, including sexual harassment and abuse of authority and the policy of zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse.
125. The workshops also offer the opportunity to distribute additional material … as well as publications supplied by the International Committee of the Red Cross on additional issues close to international humanitarian law.
126. So far 18 workshops have been held in different parts of the country, for staff of the three armed forces and audiences of more than 2200 people between September 2010 and March 2012.