Practice Relating to Rule 142. Instruction in International Humanitarian Law within Armed Forces
Section B. Obligation of commanders to instruct the armed forces under their command
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) states: “The commander himself ensures that his subordinates are aware of their obligations under the law of war and respect them.”
The manual also states that “the commander is responsible for proper law of war training” and that “the superior is the normal instructor of his subordinates also for law of war training”.
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states:
[T]he armed forces … are responsible, through their commanders-in-chief, for the detailed implementation of [instruction in] the law of armed conflict and for incorporating the study of this body of law into its military training programmes to ensure that combatants in particular and also medical and religious personnel are familiar with the principles and rules it contains.
The manual also states:
Commanders must ensure that their subordinates are aware of their obligations under the law of armed conflict, by means of an effective training programme that takes into account the level of knowledge required of each subordinate commensurate with their level of responsibility.
The manual further states:
- The law of armed conflict should be included in programmes of military instruction and training.
- Each commander is fully responsible for providing appropriate instruction in the law of armed conflict in his respective area of authority.
- Instruction in the law of armed conflict is therefore an essential part of command activities.
Spain’s Royal Ordinance for the Armed Forces (1978) provides that a soldier “shall know the rights and duties incumbent on him and the penal laws affecting him, which shall be read out and periodically explained at unit level with a view to guiding his conduct and preventing him from committing faults or offences”.
Spain’s Royal Decree Establishing the Spanish IHL Commission (2007) states that this Commission is to “[p]rovide advice on … training of the armed forces in international humanitarian law”.