Practice Relating to Rule 145. Reprisals
Section D. Order at the highest authority of government
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996), in the chapter dealing with the exercise of command and its restrictions with regard to reprisals, states:
The taking of measures which constitute violations of the law of war, as a response to violations previously committed by the enemy with the aim of making such violations cease, is decided at the highest governmental level, because of the politico-military consequences to which they give rise.
The manual further states that reprisals “require a decision taken at the highest political level”.
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states:
The decision to take action that constitutes a violation of the law of armed conflict in response to abuses of the law by the enemy, with a view to stopping them, can only be taken at the highest level of government, in view of the political and military implications of such decisions.