Practice Relating to Rule 89. Violence to Life
Côte d’Ivoire’s Teaching Manual (2007) provides in Book I (Basic instruction):
Lesson 3. Rules on behaviour in combat
- Every person
- has the right to life,
- must respect the life and dignity of others.
Lesson 4. Breaches and repression of violations of IHL
I. Grave violations
They are enumerated by the Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocols, as well as by the Ivorian Penal Code.
In Book II (Instruction of non-commissioned officers and officers), the Teaching Manual provides:
I.1.1. War crimes
They are grave violations of IHL mentioned in the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols, committed during armed conflict.
Examples: … murder.
In Book III, Volume 2 (Instruction of second-year trainee officers), the Teaching Manual further provides:
Lesson 2. Protection
A person hors de combat must be collected and protected in conformity with the provisions of Geneva Convention I for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick. In this respect, they must not be the object:
- of violence to life or person,
Lesson 4. Violations and repression
I.3. War crimes
This is by far the breach which can take the most varied forms. It relates to the grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, namely the following acts directed against the persons or objects protected by these acts:
- wilful killing;
In Book IV (Instruction of heads of division and company commanders), the Teaching Manual provides:
Murder means an execution outside any military operation.
Murder is prohibited. However, it is not prohibited to kill an enemy during combat. Murder is defined as a war crime since World War II, based on the principles of international law enshrined in the Nuremberg statute …
If prior information concerning a planned murder reaches the Party on behalf of which the act shall be committed, that Party should do everything possible to prevent the execution of that act. In case of murder, the Party concerned is under the obligation to repress that act.
It is prohibited to put a price on the head of an enemy individual or to offer a bounty for an enemy “dead or alive”.
Under Côte d’Ivoire’s Penal Code (1981), as amended in 1998, organizing, ordering or carrying out, in time of war or occupation, murder and attacks on the physical integrity of the civilian population constitutes a “crime against the civilian population”. The same applies in relation to prisoners of war and internees.
Côte d’Ivoire’s Penal Code (1981), as amended in 2015, states:
Whoever commits a war crime is punished with life imprisonment.
War crimes are:
1 - grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, namely, any of the following acts against persons or property protected under the provisions of the relevant Geneva Convention:
- wilful killing;
3 - In the case of an armed conflict not of an international character, serious violations of article 3 common to the four Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, namely, any of the following acts committed against persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention or any other cause:
- violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds …
- … the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all judicial guarantees which are generally recognized as indispensable;
The provisions of paragraphs 3 and 4 of the above article 139 do not apply to situations of internal disturbances and tensions, such as riots, isolated and sporadic acts of violence or other acts of a similar nature.
Protected persons referred to in article 139 are in particular:
1 - civilian or military wounded, sick or shipwrecked;
2 - civilians in the power of the enemy;
3 - persons who do not take part directly or who no longer take part in hostilities;
4 - medical and religious personnel, whether civilian or military;
5 - persons deprived of their liberty for reasons related to the armed conflict, whether they are interned or detained.
In 2013, in its initial report to the Human Rights Committee, Côte d’Ivoire stated:
The right to life
193. Numerous extrajudicial executions were committed by police forces, armed forces, militias and armed groups after conflict broke out in 2002, peaking after the 2010 presidential election.
194. The National Commission of Inquiry, set up on 20 July 2011 to investigate violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed during the post-election period from 31 October 2010 to 15 May 2011, identified 2,018 cases of summary executions carried out for political and/or ethnic reasons.
196. There are substantially fewer extrajudicial executions today. Most of them are carried out by the Forces républicaines de Côte d’Ivoire (FRCI), by former combatants who have not been demobilized or by militias that have not been disarmed.
Measures taken to prevent further violations
197. The Government has opened judicial and non-judicial inquiries in all cases, conducted by the national authorities and by intergovernmental and non-governmental bodies. Great stress is also being laid on national reconciliation.
211. The National Commission of Inquiry created by Decree No. 2011-176 of 20 July 2011 to investigate violations of human rights and public freedoms in the aftermath of the presidential election held on 31 October and 28 November 2010 was given the task of conducting non-judicial investigations into breaches of human rights and international humanitarian law in the period from 31 October 2010 to 15 May 2011.
212. The Commission submitted its report to the country’s President in August 2012. The report identified the abuses committed in the period from 30 October 2010 to 15 May 2011 inclusive. According to its investigations, of 3,248 people killed, 1,452 were murdered by “pro-Gbagbo forces” (including 1,009 summary executions), 727 by the FRCI [The Republican Forces of Côte d’Ivoire] (including 545 summary executions) and 200 by “Dozos”.
213. The report also singles out pro-Gbagbo “self-defence groups” or militia members, while attributing 57 other killings to what the Commission calls “miscellaneous persons”. The report also identifies 3,248 cases of “violations of the right to life”.