Practice Relating to Rule 142. Instruction in International Humanitarian Law within Armed Forces
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands states: “States must disseminate the treaties as widely as possible in time of peace and include the law of war in their military training.”
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states:
The States which are parties to the conventions on the law of war should take all necessary steps to meet their obligations under those conventions. They should give orders and instructions to ensure compliance and supervise their application. These States should disseminate the conventions on the widest possible scale during peacetime, and include the law of war in military training.
According to high-ranking officers of the army of the Netherlands, soldiers are required to study IHL in theory and in practice during their entire career. During operational training, attention is devoted to IHL and theory is repeated. Courses are given to senior personnel of all units of the armed forces (army, air force and navy) at brigade level. The courses consist of case studies. Considerable attention is devoted to the study of norms and ethics, as it is supposed that IHL should be instinctive.
In an explanatory memorandum submitted to the Dutch Parliament in the context of the ratification procedure of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the Government of the Netherlands stated that every soldier in the Netherlands received training in IHL.
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands, referring to Article 87 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, states: “Commanders must first of all ensure that their people know the rules of the law of war.”
The Military Handbook (1995) of the Netherlands states: “Commanders must ensure that their people know the rules of the law of war.”
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands provides:
Commanding officers are responsible for ensuring that their subordinates know the humanitarian law of war and act in accordance with that law. Personnel training should include lessons on the humanitarian law of war. In view of the subject’s importance, lessons should be given by officers, who should themselves have been trained in the subject. The provision of adequate (instruction) material forms part of the commanding officers’ responsibility. The commanding officer should, finally, integrate the humanitarian law of war with military courses and exercises, to achieve action which consolidates the standard.
On the basis of an interview with high-ranking officers of the army of the Netherlands, the Report on the Practice of the Netherlands states that commanders are responsible for training in IHL.