United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Practice Relating to Rule 113. Treatment of the Dead
Section A. Respect for the dead
The UK Military Manual (1958) states: “The dead must be protected against … maltreatment.”
The manual further states that “maltreatment of dead bodies” is a war crime.
The UK LOAC Pamphlet (1981) states: “The dead must not be … mutilated.”
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) provides that the dead must be protected against maltreatment and that the mutilation of dead bodies is a war crime. The manual refers to this as a “well-established rule of customary international law”.
In its chapter on internal armed conflict, the manual states: “The dead must not be … ill-treated.”
Under the UK ICC Act (2001), it is a punishable offence to commit a war crime as defined in Article 8(2)(b)(xxi) and (c)(ii) of the 1998 ICC Statute.
In 2003, in reply to a written question in the House of Lords, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence, wrote: “The Deployed Operating Instructions issued to all United Kingdom military units state that enemy dead are to be treated the same as UK military dead.”