United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Practice Relating to Rule 146. Reprisals against Protected Persons
Section D. Civilians in the power of the adversary
The UK Military Manual (1958), in a chapter dealing with the “treatment of enemy alien civilians” and referring to Articles 32–34 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV, states: “The following are prohibited: … the taking of reprisals against protected persons and their property”.
In a chapter dealing with “the occupation of enemy territory”, the manual states: “[Article 33 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV] effected a change in the law by laying down expressly that no protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed and that collective penalties and all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited”. It goes on to say, with reference to Articles 33 and 34 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV: “[The 1949 Geneva Convention IV], provides … that ‘Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited’.”
In a part dealing with reprisals, the manual states: “Reprisals against … civilian protected persons and their property in occupied territory and in the belligerent’s own territory, are … prohibited.”
In a footnote relating to this provision, the manual, referring to Articles 4 and 33 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV, notes: “The effect of this rule is that reprisals are unlawful against all persons except enemy combatants and those few classes of civilians who are not protected persons.”
In a footnote relating to another provision, the manual states: “Reprisals against … civilians protected under [the 1949 Geneva Convention IV], constitute war crimes.”
The UK LOAC Pamphlet (1981), in a part dealing with the protection of civilians, states: “It is forbidden: … to carry out reprisals against protected persons or property.”
The Pamphlet further states: “The  Geneva Conventions and [the 1977 Additional Protocol I] prohibit reprisals against … enemy civilians in territory controlled by a belligerent.”
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states: “Reprisals are never lawful if directed against any of the following: … c. protected persons and their property”.
In its written statement submitted to the ICJ in the Nuclear Weapons case in 1995, the United Kingdom stated:
To be lawful, a belligerent reprisal must meet two conditions. First, it must not be directed against persons or objects against which the taking of reprisals is specifically prohibited … The Geneva Conventions of 1949 prohibit the taking of reprisals against persons or objects protected by the Conventions.