United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Practice Relating to Rule 100. Fair Trial Guarantees
Section D. Information on the nature and cause of the accusation
The UK Military Manual (1958) states: “Before any disciplinary award is pronounced [against a prisoner of war] the accused must be given full information regarding the offence with which he is charged”.
With regard to judicial proceedings against prisoners of war, the manual provides: “Particulars of the charges brought against the accused … must be given to the accused in a language which he understands.”
With respect to situations of occupation, the manual states: “The accused must be promptly informed, in writing and in a language which they understand, of the charges brought against them.”
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states in its chapter on the protection of civilians in the hands of a party to the conflict:
In the case of penal offences relating to the armed conflict, the basic principles of natural justice must be observed … These principles include the following: … the procedure shall provide for an accused to be informed without delay of the particulars of the offence alleged against him.
The manual also provides that before awarding any disciplinary punishment to a civilian internee, “the accused must be given full details of the offence … and be given an opportunity to explain his conduct and to defend himself”.
In its discussion on judicial proceedings against prisoners of war, the manual states:
Particulars of the charge or charges, as well as any documents which have by law normally to be handed to an accused person serving in the armed forces of the detaining power, must be given to the accused in a language which he understands, and also to his defending counsel, in good time before the opening of the trial.
In its discussion on disciplinary measures against prisoners of war, the manual states: “Before any disciplinary award is announced, the accused must be given precise information regarding the offences of which he is accused and an opportunity to explain his conduct and defend himself.”
In its discussion on the administration of criminal law in occupied territory, the manual provides that the accused “are entitled to … prompt written notification, in a language that they understand, of the particulars of the charges against them”.
In its chapter on internal armed conflict, the manual states: “Indispensable judicial guarantees include as a minimum … notification to the accused of the charges against him.”