Practice Relating to Rule 142. Instruction in International Humanitarian Law within Armed Forces
Sweden’s IHL Manual (1991) notes:
The undertaking of the parties concerning information and instruction in international humanitarian law is stressed in Additional Protocol I to the 1949 Geneva Conventions (AP I, Art. 83), which, however, goes further than the earlier conventions. According to the Protocol, the military and civilian authorities responsible for their application during a conflict shall possess full knowledge of the texts both of the Protocol and of the Conventions. Thus a definite tightening of the demands has been introduced.
The manual further states: “By its ratification in 1977 of the Additional Protocols to the Geneva 1949 Conventions, Sweden pledged herself to inform and instruct the authorities and personnel responsible for total defence … on the rules of international humanitarian law.”
Sweden’s Total Defence Ordinance relating to IHL (1990) states:
The [Armed Forces and the authorities having functional responsibilities under the Emergency Preparedness Ordinance] shall ensure that the personnel in this field receive satisfactory instruction and information about the rules of international humanitarian law in war and during neutrality. The Swedish Agency for Civil Emergency Planning shall co-ordinate the training in the civil part of the Total Defence.
In 1999, members of the Swedish Defence Force received thorough instruction in IHL.
In 2008, in its report on the activities of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in 2007, the Government of Sweden stated:
The commitment to educate military personnel on international humanitarian law is of special importance. Military personnel must be aware of individual responsibility in relation to national and international law both for individual actions and commanded actions.
In 2008, in a statement before the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly on the status of the 1977 Additional Protocols, made on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, the representative of Sweden stated: “The training of military and armed forces in international law remains a priority for many [S]tates and is paramount to ensuring respect [for IHL].”
Sweden’s IHL Manual (1991) provides: “There is … a clear responsibility for a senior commander to check his subordinates’ knowledge of the Conventions.”