Practice Relating to Rule 140. The Principle of Reciprocity
Colombia’s Basic Military Manual (1995) states: “It is important to note that in IHL the principle of reciprocity does not exist, which means that none of the parties to the conflict can put forward the violations of the enemy as a reason to stop implementing humanitarian norms.”
In 2007, in the Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, the Plenary Chamber of Colombia’s Constitutional Court stated:
[T]he obligation to respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law is not synallagmatic or reciprocal. That is to say, the fulfilment of such obligation by States is not dependant on it being fulfilled by the other parties to the conflict. The non-reciprocal character of these obligations stems directly from the fundamental nature of the norms and principles they seek to protect as well as from the fact that such obligations are erga omnes
and thus acquired before the international community as a whole … The non-reciprocal character of the obligation to respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law has already acquired customary status.
[footnote in original omitted]