Practice Relating to Rule 149. Responsibility for Violations of International Humanitarian Law
Côte d’Ivoire’s Teaching Manual (2007) provides in Book III, Volume 2 (Instruction of second-year trainee officers):
III.1. Collective responsibility
Collective responsibility of a belligerent party for a violation of the law of armed conflicts takes several forms.
- The third type of collective responsibility lies in the financial responsibility of States for damages caused by their illegal acts. In 1907, this form of responsibility of the State was formally included in Hague Convention (IV) respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land. According to Article 3, a belligerent party which has committed a violation of the provisions of the Regulations “shall, if the case demands, be liable to pay compensation”. The article specifies further that that party “shall be responsible for all acts committed by persons forming part of its armed forces”.
III.4. Mechanisms to engage the responsibility of the State
Breaches of international humanitarian law by members of the armed forces engage the international responsibility of the State concerned. Consequently, a State will have to answer for the consequences of every act contrary to the law committed by every soldier vis-à-vis the State that suffered the breach. It must restore the situation and, if need be, is bound to indemnify the State which has suffered the breach.