Practice Relating to Rule 146. Reprisals against Protected Persons
Section D. Civilians in the power of the adversary
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands, in the chapter dealing with the protection of the civilian population and referring to Article 33 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV, states: “A protected person cannot be punished for acts which he/she has not personally committed. Collective punishments are also prohibited.”
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states:
In the history of warfare, reprisals carried out have often exceeded the set limits. This has led to the current prohibition, in the humanitarian law of war and specifically in AP I [1977 Additional Protocol I], of reprisals against several groups of people and objects.
The following are now forbidden as reprisals:
- attacks on the civilian population or civilians.
In its chapter on the protection of the civilian population, the manual states that “reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited”.