Practice Relating to Rule 145. Reprisals
Section C. Proportionality of reprisals
Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) and Commanders’ Guide (1994) state: “In any case, reprisals must be timely, responsive to the enemy’s conduct [and] proportional.”
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) states:
In order to qualify as a legitimate reprisal, an act must comply with the following conditions when employed … [including] … A reprisal must be in proportion to the original violation. Whilst a reprisal need not conform in kind to the act complained of, it may not significantly exceed the adverse party’s violation either in degree or effect. Effective but disproportionate acts cannot be justified as reprisals on the basis that only an excessive response will forestall further violations.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).