Practice Relating to Rule 87. Humane Treatment
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) states that, in occupied territories, “protected persons must be treated humanely at all times”.
With regard to non-international armed conflict, the manual restates the provisions of common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions.
Canada’s Code of Conduct (2001) instructs: “Treat all civilians humanely.” It explains: “In your daily interaction with the civilian population, they must at all times be humanely treated.”
It also provides a list of 11 fundamental rules, among which is “treat all civilians humanely”.
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001) states in its chapter on the treatment of civilians in the hands of a party to the conflict or an occupying power, and, more specifically, in a section entitled “Provisions common to the territories of the parties to the conflict and to occupied territories”:
The person, honour, family rights, religious conventions and practices, and manners and customs of protected persons must in all circumstances be respected.
They must be humanely treated and protected against all acts or threats of violence, and against insults and public curiosity.
In the same chapter, in a section entitled “Additional Protocol I”, the manual also states:
[Additional Protocol I] provides that all persons in the power of a party to the conflict are entitled to at least a minimum of humane treatment without adverse discrimination on grounds of race, gender, language, religion, political discrimination or similar criteria.
In its chapter on rights and duties of occupying powers, the manual further states in a paragraph dealing with the rights of inhabitants of occupied territory: “Protected persons must be humanely treated at all times and they must be especially safeguarded against all acts of violence or threats of violence and against insults and public curiosity.”
In its chapter on non-international armed conflicts, the manual restates the provisions of common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions:
By Common Article 3, the parties to a non-international armed conflict occurring in the territory of a party to the Conventions are obliged to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:
a. Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat
by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, gender, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.
Rule 4 of Canada’s Code of Conduct (2005) instructs Canadian Forces (CF) personnel: “Treat all civilians humanely and respect civilian property.”
The Code of Conduct further explains:
1. Rule # 4 deals with the protection of civilians in the theatre of operations … As mentioned, civilians who do not take part in hostilities must not be targeted. They should also be respected and treated humanely in all circumstances … In general, civilians should be treated the way you would like you and your family to be treated in the same circumstances.
Standard of treatment
2. Military operations in foreign lands expose CF personnel to civilian populations that differ markedly from our own. However different or unusual a foreign land may appear, these civilians are in all circumstances entitled to respect for their persons and property, their honour, their family rights, their religious convictions and practices, and their manners and customs. In your daily interaction with the civilian population, they must at all times be humanely treated and shall not be subjected to acts of violence, threats, or insults. Women and children in particular must not be subjected to rape, enforced prostitution, and any form of indecent assault. All civilians, subject to favourable considerations based on sex, health or age, must be treated with the same consideration and without any adverse distinction based in particular on race, religion or political opinion.