Practice Relating to Rule 158. Prosecution of War Crimes
Argentina’s Law of War Manual (1989) states:
In the [1949 Geneva] Conventions and [the 1977 Additional Protocol I], it is provided that the governments shall take such legislative measures as may be necessary to determine adequate penal sanctions to be applied to persons committing or ordering the commission of any of the grave breaches; the persons accused of having committed, or of having ordered to commit, those breaches … shall be searched for.
… It is also possible to hand the author of the violations over to an international tribunal, in case such a tribunal has been established.
The manual also provides:
At the request of one of the parties to the conflict, an enquiry shall be instituted, in a manner to be decided between the interested parties, concerning any alleged violation of the [1949 Geneva] Conventions. If an agreement is not reached as to the procedure of investigation, the parties shall agree to elect an arbitrator who shall decide the procedure to be followed.
If a violation is established, the parties to the conflict must put an end to it and repress it with the least possible delay.
In addition, the manual states: “The contracting parties and the parties to the conflict shall repress grave breaches and adopt the measures necessary to ensure that any violation of the [1949 Geneva] Conventions or of [the 1977 Additional] Protocol I cease.”
Argentina’s Law on the Creation of a National Committee to Investigate War Crimes Committed during the War in the South Atlantic (1995) establishes
within the Ministry of National Defence the National Committee to investigate War Crimes which aims at clarifying the facts related to the possible commission of war crimes during the period of the belligerent incidents which occurred in the South Atlantic between the months of April and June of .
Argentina’s Law on the Implementation of the 1998 ICC Statute (2006) states:
Article 2. … The conduct described in articles 6, 7, 8 and 70 of the Rome Statute [1998 ICC Statute, articles concerning genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and offences against the administration of justice, respectively], as well as the offences and crimes that may eventually fall within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, will be punishable for the Argentine Republic in accordance with the present law.
When a person suspected of committing one of the crimes mentioned in this law is present in the territory of the Argentine Republic or in any place under its jurisdiction, and such person is not extradited nor surrendered to the International Criminal Court, the Argentine Republic will take all necessary measures to exercise its jurisdiction regarding such crime.
In the Priebke case
in 1995, Argentina’s Public Prosecutor of First Instance pointed out that owing to the far-reaching implications of war crimes, the international community was obliged to hunt down and punish war criminals.