Practice Relating to Rule 152. Command Responsibility for Orders to Commit War Crimes
Côte d’Ivoire’s Teaching Manual (2007) provides in Book II (Instruction of non-commissioned officers and officers):
II.1.2. Responsibilities of the non-commissioned officer and officer
Respect for IHL in the theatre of operations lies mainly with the military leader. …
In this respect, the non-commissioned officer or officer is responsible
- for acts in violation of the rules of IHL committed by his subordinates and ordered by him,
NB: In Article 14, the “Code de la Fonction Militaire” provides that the leader must not give orders leading to:
- acts constituting crimes and/or misdemeanours,
- acts contrary to the rules
- of international law applicable in armed conflicts,
- relating to international conventions.
In Book III, Volume 2 (Instruction of second-year trainee officers), the Teaching Manual provides:
III.2 Individual responsibility
International humanitarian law has also established individual and criminal responsibility for the respect of humanitarian obligations.
This responsibility lies with all; everyone must answer for his conduct in this way. Military commanders have a very special responsibility. …
It is clear that the superior who gives an order contravening the law is responsible on the criminal law level. The statute of the Nuremberg Tribunal expressly specifies that even the position as head of State does not free one from criminal responsibility.
III.3. Responsibility of the commander
Commanders have the duty to:
- give lawful orders, free from any ambiguity.