Practice Relating to Rule 142. Instruction in International Humanitarian Law within Armed Forces
Sri Lanka’s Geneva Conventions Act (2006) reproduces the following from the 1949 Geneva Convention IV:
The High Contracting Parties undertake, in time of peace as in time of war, to disseminate the text of the present Convention as widely as possible in their respective countries, and in particular, to include the study thereof in their programmes of military and, if possible, civil instruction, so that the principles thereof may become known to the entire population.
Any [c]ivilian[,] military, police or other authorities, who in time of war assume responsibilities in respect of protected persons, must possess the text of the Convention and be specially instructed as to its provisions.
In 2008, in its initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the 2000 Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, Sri Lanka stated:
36. The former Special Representative of the [UN] Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict Mr. Olara Otunnu was invited by the Government to visit Sri Lanka in May 1998, to add strength to the advocacy campaign against child recruitment. During his meeting with the LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] he raised several issues concerning the protection, rights and welfare of children affected by the ongoing conflict. The LTTE made the following commitments in relation to children in armed conflict to Mr. Otunnu during his meeting with the LTTE[:]
(d) During his visit Mr Otunnu stressed the importance of all parties including the non-State sector, observing the  Convention [on] the Rights of the Child. He urged the LTTE to make public their respect of the principles and provisions of the Convention. However, the LTTE did indicate their willingness, to enable their cadres to receive information and instructions on the provisions of the Convention;
37. These commitments were not implemented by the LTTE.
[footnote in original omitted]
In 2009, in its combined third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee against Torture, Sri Lanka stated:
54. Article 10 of the  Convention [against Torture] requires education and information regarding the prohibition of torture to be disseminated amongst public officials.
55. The Police and the Army has Human Rights Directorates whose main function is to disseminate information to all its [personnel] with regard to carrying out their duties in accordance with human rights and humanitarian law. The Navy and the Air Force also has sub-directorates which [perform] … a similar task.
56. Training Programmes ha[ve] been conducted … [with] the Police as well as the Armed Forces with the assistance of the ICRC and the Institute of Human Rights on the duties and obligations of Armed Forces personnel in relation to their accountability and responsibility to maintain transparency in the performance of their duties involving the arrest and detention of suspects.
In 2011, in its Humanitarian Operation Factual Analysis July 2006–May 2009, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence stated:
X. General Operational Procedures and Preparations to Safeguard Civilian Lives
A. General Procedures
220. Materials, including leaflets, instruction booklets, placards and Power Point presentations, dealing with offences in armed conflict and rules of conduct, were widely distributed to ensure that personnel understood and abided by the legal framework of Laws of Armed Conflict.
221. Regular delivery of lectures and workshops on the Laws of Armed Conflict and related rules of conduct, as an integral part of the Security Forces training programmes for senior and junior commanders, contributed immensely towards recognising command responsibilities and to abiding by these throughout the Humanitarian Operation.
The Ministry of Defence also stated:
XI. Protection of Civilian Rights
A. Institutional Frameworks
248. Security Forces have several institutional mechanisms in place to safeguard human rights.
a. The Directorate of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) was established in January 1997. Its role is to further improve the appreciation and knowledge of SLA personnel of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and Human Rights (HR) through training, monitoring the compliance of its personnel to these norms, and inquiring into and reporting alleged transgressions.
b. The Sub Directorate on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law in the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) was established in June 2002 as a means of providing advice, conducting training programmes for naval personnel, disseminating information and coordinating work with various agencies on all matters related to HR & IHL.
c. The International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights cell of the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) was established in 2002 along similar lines.
B. Training on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law
249. Security Forces personnel receive in-depth training on HR and IHL through the directorates described above. In particular, officers and soldiers actively engaging in operations are trained to be aware of their responsibilities with regard to the safety of civilians and the protection of human rights, and to make appropriate and informed decisions in the heat of battle.
250. Training comprises three distinct programmes:
a. Training of instructors to conduct seminars and awareness programmes on HR and IHL for other personnel on a continuous, full time basis
b. Regular field level training for other personnel conducted by these trained instructors in the operational areas
c. Formal training for officers and other ranks at established training centres
These training programmes are supported by the dissemination of written materials, including leaflets, instruction booklets, placards etc., dealing with human rights, codes of conduct, offenses in armed conflict and other relevant material.
252. Overall, more than 175,000 personnel of the SLA have undergone training in this subject area since the year 2001. Education on IHL and HR has been a compulsory subject for all SLN personnel in induction training courses, on the job training and all mandatory courses pertaining to promotion. More than 24,000 personnel of the SLAF have also received training in this subject area.
The Ministry of Defence further stated: “On 18 May 2009, Sri Lanka defeated the LTTE, bringing to an end three decades of conflict and suffering.”
In 2012, in its fifth periodic report to the Human Rights Committee, Sri Lanka stated:
21. … All Security forces [Army (1997), Navy (2002) Air Force (2002)] have Directorates of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) established internally. Security Forces received in-depth training on HR and IHL through these directorates. Assistance for training programmes within the directorates was obtained from Government and non-governmental and international organizations such as ICRC, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the then Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights (MDMHR), British Council, Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL), National Institute of Education, and Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the University of Colombo and Sri Lanka Foundation Institute.
22. Training in human rights and international humanitarian law has been continuously conducted for the armed services and police. The ICRC in Sri Lanka continued to conduct training programmes on IHL for security forces, public officials and civil society organizations.
[square brackets in original; footnote in original omitted]