Practice Relating to Rule 151. Individual Responsibility
New Zealand’s Geneva Conventions Act (1958), as amended in 1987, provides:
Any person who in New Zealand or elsewhere commits, or aids or abets or procures the commission by another person of, a grave breach of any of the [1949 Geneva] Conventions or of [the 1977 Additional Protocol I] is guilty of an indictable offence.
New Zealand’s International Crimes and ICC Act (2000) provides: “Every person is liable on conviction on indictment to the penalty specified in subsection (3) who, in New Zealand or elsewhere, commits a war crime”. The Act includes similar provisions with respect to genocide and crimes against humanity. War crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity are defined as the acts specified in the 1998 ICC Statute.
In 2000, during a debate in the UN Security Council regarding the protection of UN personnel, associated personnel and humanitarian personnel in conflict zones, and specifically with regard to the alleged shooting down of two UN aircraft in Angola in December 1998 and January 1999 respectively, New Zealand stated:
The premeditated destruction of those aircraft would be one of the most flagrant crimes against this Organization and its personnel ever recorded … It is essential that the perpetrators be brought to justice, however long it takes. There can be no impunity for crimes of such nature.
During the same debate, New Zealand stated, with regard to the “inclusion of deliberate attacks on personnel involved in a humanitarian situation or peacekeeping mission in the [1998 ICC Statute] as a war crime over which the International Criminal Court will have jurisdiction”: “We hope that the [International Criminal] Court … will contribute towards ending the impunity enjoyed by perpetrators of such attacks in the past.”