Practice Relating to Rule 146. Reprisals against Protected Persons
Section D. Civilians in the power of the adversary
Italy’s IHL Manual (1991), in a chapter dealing with occupied territory, states: “In occupied territories, civilian persons have the following rights: … they may not be … made the object of reprisals”.
Italy’s Law of War Decree (1938), as amended in 1992, provides: “Respect for rules adopted in order to comply with international conventions which expressly exclude reprisals cannot be suspended.”
In its judgment in the Schintlholzer case in 1988 dealing with the killing of Italian civilians by German soldiers in 1944, Italy’s Military Tribunal of Verona stated that the acts
definitely cannot be seen as falling within the limited system of reprisals or collective punishments; a system which, in any case, refers to the conditions and procedures provided for in international law. However, it seems difficult to deny that systematic violence against the defenceless constitutes a completely unjustified corollary of a military operation carried out by German troops [which had the aim to combat the partisans].