Practice Relating to Rule 129. The Act of Displacement
Section A. Forced displacement
Ireland’s Basic LOAC Guide (2005) states:
One of the most important clauses dealing with the protection of persons in the territory of any Occupying Power is that prohibiting deportation. Individual or mass forcible transfers (i.e. the ethnic cleansing conducted by all three belligerent factions in Bosnia) are prohibited regardless of their motive.
The manual further states that “unlawful deportation, transfer or confinement” is a grave breach of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV relating to the treatment of civilians.
Ireland’s Geneva Conventions Act (1962), as amended in 1998, provides that grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and of the 1977 Additional Protocol I are punishable offences.
The Act adds that any “minor breach” of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, including violations of Articles 45 and 49 of the Geneva Convention IV, as well as any “contravention” of the 1977 Additional Protocol II, including violations of Article 17, are also punishable offences.