United States of America
Practice Relating to Rule 135. Children
The US Field Manual (1956) provides:
The commanders of United States ground forces will, when the situation permits, inform the enemy of their intention to bombard a place, so that the noncombatants, especially … children, may be removed before the bombardment commences.
The manual further states: “The Parties to the conflict shall endeavour to conclude local agreements for the removal from besieged or encircled areas, of … children”.
The manual also provides:
The parties to the conflict shall facilitate the reception of such children [under fifteen, who are orphaned or are separated from their families as a result of the war] in a neutral country for the duration of the conflict with the consent of the Protecting Power, if any, and under due safeguards.
The US Air Force Pamphlet (1976) states: “Removal of … children … from besieged or encircled areas is encouraged.”
In 1987, the Deputy Legal Adviser of the US Department of State affirmed:
We support the principle that no state arrange for the evacuation of children except for temporary evacuation where compelling reasons of the health or medical treatment of the children or safety, except in occupied territory, so require.
According to the Report on US Practice, “Articles 4, 5 and 6 [of the 1977 Additional Protocol II] reflect general US policy on treatment of persons in the power of an adverse party in armed conflicts governed by common Article 3” of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. The report also notes: “It is the opinio juris
of the US that persons detained in connection with an internal armed conflict are entitled to humane treatment as specified in Articles 4, 5 and 6 [of the 1977 Additional Protocol II].”