Practice Relating to Rule 154. Obedience to Superior Orders
Djibouti’s Disciplinary Regulations (1982) states:
Member of the Armed Forces must:
– strictly observe the discipline and the rules
3. Commanders have the right and duty to demand absolute obedience from their subordinates. They must not, however, order their subordinates to carry out acts for which they could be held criminally liable.
Such acts include the following:
– acts contrary to the laws and customs of war … ;
1. … The primary duty of subordinates is to loyally obey all the orders they receive. …
2. As commanders are responsible for the orders they give, subordinates may only object after they have obeyed the order, except when the order given is plainly unlawful or requires the commission of an illegal act.
Subordinates who believe that they have been given an unlawful order have a duty to make their objections known to the superior who gave it, expressly stating what they have understood to be illegal about the disputed order and hearing all relevant explanations and necessary interpretations given by the superior.
The refusal to obey an unlawful order must be clear, with the individual assuming all responsibilities. However, if the illegality of the order is not proved, the soldier who refused to execute it shall be at fault and subject to criminal or disciplinary sanctions for refusing to obey orders.
If it is proved that a subordinate was compelled by force or physical threats to carry out an unlawful order, he or she shall only be held partially responsible.