Practice Relating to Rule 89. Violence to Life
Nigeria’s Operational Code of Conduct (1967) provides that soldiers who surrender, pregnant women and children must not be killed.
Nigeria’s Military Manual (1994) refers to Article 12 of the 1949 Geneva Convention I, which “prohibits any attempt upon the lives [of the wounded and sick], or violence to their persons, and in particular to wound or to exterminate them”.
Nigeria’s Manual on the Laws of War provides that attempts on the lives of the wounded and sick and unlawful acts or omissions endangering the lives of prisoners of war are prohibited.
The manual also specifies that wilful killing of all protected persons is a grave breach of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and is considered as a serious war crime.
Nigeria’s Geneva Conventions Act (1960) punishes any person who “whether in or outside the Federation … whatever his nationality, commits, or aids, abets or procures any other person to commit, any such grave breach of any of the [1949 Geneva] Conventions”.
In 1968, during the Nigerian civil war, following the killing of an unarmed Biafran soldier, the Nigerian army officer responsible was executed for committing murder and for violating the code of conduct of Nigerian soldiers.
In 1994, during a debate in the UN Security Council on the situation in Rwanda, Nigeria noted with great concern the continuation of large-scale killings.