Practice Relating to Rule 146. Reprisals against Protected Persons
Section E. Civilians in general
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) provides: “Reprisals against civilians … are prohibited.”
In a part dealing with enforcement measures, the manual states: “Reprisals against the following categories of persons and objects are prohibited: … e. civilians”.
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001) states in its chapter on targeting: “Reprisals against civilians and civilian objects are prohibited.”
In its chapter entitled “Preventative and enforcement measures and the role of protecting powers”, the manual states:
4. Reprisals against the following categories of persons and objects are prohibited.
5. Reprisals are permitted against combatants and against objects constituting military objectives.
At the CDDH, the representative of Canada, with respect to paragraph 4 of draft Article 46 (which became Article 51 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I), stated that “his delegation could accept a prohibition on reprisals against civilians or the civilian population”.
In 1986, in a memorandum on Canada’s attitude to possible reservations with regard to the 1977 Additional Protocol I, the Canadian Ministry of Defence noted:
Under [the 1949 Geneva Conventions] … reprisals directed against the enemy civilian population or property in enemy controlled areas are permissible. [The 1977 Additional Protocol I] goes beyond the Geneva Conventions and prohibits reprisals directed against the enemy civilian population or civilian property under all circumstances.