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LAW 549

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  1. LAW 549 Means and Methods of Warfare

  2. Outline • Perfidy and Ruses • Improper use of emblems and uniforms • Denial of quarter • Sabotage and Espionage • Assassination • Protection of civilian population and objects • Protection of the environment

  3. Ruses • Ruses of war are not prohibited. Such ruses are acts which are intended to mislead an adversary or to induce him to act recklessly but which infringe no rule of international law applicable in armed conflict. • Ruses are not perfidious because they do not invite the confidence of an adversary with respect to protection under that law.

  4. Ruses Of War • Ruses of war are measures taken to obtain advantage over the enemy by confusing or misleading him. • They must not infringe any rule of the LOAC. • Ruses are lawful if they are not treacherous, perfidious and do not violate any expressed or tacit agreement.

  5. Perfidy • Perfidy occurs when one commits a hostile act under the cover of a legal protection.

  6. Perfidy • It is prohibited to kill, injure or capture an adversary by resort to perfidy. Acts inviting the confidence of an adversary to lead him to believe that he is entitled to, or is obliged to accord, protection under the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, with intent to betray that confidence, shall constitute perfidy. The following acts are examples of perfidy:(a) the feigning of an intent to negotiate under a flag of truce or of a surrender;(b) the feigning of an incapacitation by wounds or sickness;(c) the feigning of civilian, non-combatant status; and(d) the feigning of protected status by the use of signs, emblems or uniforms of the United Nations or of neutral or other States not Parties to the conflict.AP1, art. 37

  7. Improper Use Of Emblems • Red Cross / Red Crescent/ Red Crystal • Other Emblems • Uniforms

  8. Uniforms • The LOAC requires military units and personnel to distinguish themselves from the civilian population “while they are engaged in an attack or in a military operation preparatory to an attack” (AP I art. 43(3)). • Wearing of a uniform is the standard method for distinction, along with carrying arms openly.

  9. Use of Adversary’s Uniforms AP I Art 39(2) states that it is prohibited to make use of the flags or military emblems, insignia or uniforms of adverse parties while engaging in attacks • Canada reserves the right to make use of the flags or military emblems, insignia or uniforms of adverse parties to shield, favour, protect or impede military operations • Any decision to do so can only be carried out with national level approval

  10. Non-Standard Uniforms LOAC Requirement: attire which incorporates a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance. • What is a “fixed distinctive sign” • A badge. • Scarf or armband. • Head-dress • What is “recognizable at a distance” • Unaided eye. • Normal daylight conditions. • Reasonable distance

  11. “Denial of Quarter” It is unlawful to order, imply or encourage that no prisoners will be taken; to threaten an adverse party that such an order will be given; or to conduct hostilities on the basis that no prisoners will be taken.

  12. Sabotage • Sabotage is permitted under the LOAC, so long as the object of the sabotage is a legitimate military objective. • Saboteurs are persons operating behind the lines of an adverse party to commit acts of destruction.

  13. Espionage • Members of the armed forces who engage in intelligence gathering while in uniform are not considered to be spies and are entitled to PW status. • Members of the armed forces who engage in espionage while not in uniform can be considered spies.

  14. Assassination • Assassination is prohibited. • Assassination means the killing or wounding of a selected non-combatant for political or religious motive.

  15. Terrorizing the Civilian Population • Acts or threats of violence, the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population, are prohibited. • A campaign of threats or violence designed to terrorize the civilian population is not acceptable under any circumstances, even where the civilian population’s attitude is hostile.

  16. Starvation of the Civilian Population AP I Art 54 prohibits: • Starvation of civilians as method of warfare. • Attack on objects indispensable to survival of civilian population. • Exception: objects used by an adverse party solely for its armed forces, or in direct support of military action, as long as effect is not to cause starvation or displacement of civilian population.

  17. Cultural Objects and Places of Worship Buildings and monuments dedicated to religion, art, science and charitable purposes are not to be attacked as long as they are not being used for military purposes.

  18. Cultural Objects & Places of Worship

  19. Dams, Dykes and Nuclear Power Plants • The general rule is they are not to be attacked if the result would be a release of dangerous forces resulting in a severe loss of life among the civilian population. • Dams, dykes and nuclear plants can be defended. • They can be attacked if the release of dangerous forces is not likely. • The protection ceases if the installation is used in support of military operations.

  20. Dams, Dykes and Nuclear Power Plants

  21. Enemy Usage Objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population may be attacked if they are used by an adverse party: • as sustenance solely for the member of its armed forces; or • in direct support of military action, provided that actions against these objects do not leave the civilian population with such inadequate food or water so as to cause its starvation or force its movement.

  22. Scorched Earth Where a party to a conflict is defending its national territory against invasion, it may attack objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population if: • the objects are within national territory of and under the control of the party; and • an attack on the objects is required by imperative military necessity.

  23. Natural Environment • Care shall be taken in an armed conflict to protect the natural environment against widespread, long- term and severe damage. • Attacks which are intended or may be expected to cause damage to the natural environment are prohibited.

  24. Means and Methods of Warfare • Weapons and ammunition (Means) must comply with the LOAC. • Their use (Methods) must also comply with the LOAC.

  25. Means of Warfare • The limitations on the use of weapons fall into two • broad categories: • prohibited weapons • b. restrictions on the use of lawful weapons

  26. Superfluous Injury and Unnecessary Suffering The use of weapons or ammunition that cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering is unlawful under the LOAC.

  27. Projectiles The following types of ammunition are prohibited: • projectiles of a weight below 400 grams that are either explosive or charged with fulminating (exploding) or inflammable substances; • bullets that expand or flatten easily in the human body, such as bullets with a hard envelope that does not entirely cover the core or is pierced with incisions (i.e., hollow point or “dum-dum” bullets). • Bullets that have been dipped in poison.

  28. Blinding Laser Weapons Laser weapons specifically designed, as their sole combat function or as one of their combat functions, to cause permanent blindness (to the naked eye or to the eye with corrective eyesight devices) are prohibited.

  29. Incendiary Weapon Means any weapon or munition which is primarily designed to set fire to objects or to cause burn injury to persons through the action of flame, heat or any combination thereof, produced by a chemical reaction of a substance delivered on the target.

  30. Indiscriminate Weapons Weapons whose method or means of delivery cannot be directed at a specific military objective.

  31. Anti-personnel Land Mines • The possession or use of anti-personnel land mines is prohibited by the Anti-Personnel Mines Convention. • Canada has ratified the Convention.

  32. Booby Traps • Cannot be used against civilians • Cannot be used indiscriminately • Attached to, or associated with, any form of harmless portable item • Attached to, or associated with “humanitarian” objects

  33. Poison • Poison or poisoned weapons are illegal. • The poisoning of water sources is prohibited.

  34. Chemical and Bacteriological Weapons • The use of Chemical Weapons as a means of warfare is prohibited. • Riot control agents can be used for law enforcement. Chemical Weapons Convention, 1993

  35. Other Weapon Systems • Depleted Uranium • Undetectable Fragments • Cluster Munitions • Aural Weapons • Target Designators • Directed Energy Weapons • Less than Lethal Weapons

  36. Cluster Bombs

  37. Verifying New Weapons • In the study, development, acquisition or adoption of a new weapon a State is under an obligation to determine whether its employment would, in some or all circumstances, be prohibited by this Protocol or by any other rule of international law. AP1, art 36

  38. Normal or Expected Use • Normal Use is that for which the weapon was designed. • “Expected Use” means anything that you could reasonably foresee a soldier do with that weapon.

  39. Directed Energy Weapons • Directed energy weapons are weapons that emit energy in an aimed direction without the means of a projectile. • Directed energy weapons include electromagnetic weapons, (including laser weapons), particle beam weapons, and sonic weapons

  40. LRAD • Designed to warn and communicate • Can be used to create deafness/ long term hearing impairment • Not lawful to use in sound mode (Canada)


  42. The Law • Geneva Convention III • Sets the standard of care and is the prime convention dealing with PW • Common Article III • Geneva Convention IV • rights of interned persons • Additional Protocol I, 1977 • Provides further details concerning status of combatants in International Armed Conflict • Additional Protocol II, 1977 • Persons detained, captured or interned in NIAC

  43. Gaps in the Law? • There are none. • IAC, person is either a PW or some other category of detained/captured person • GC III and/or AP1 art. 75 • NIAC • Common Article 3 • AP2 arts. 4 and 5.

  44. Categories • Prisoner of War • Captured Person • Detained/Interred Persons

  45. Prisoner of War • All rights attached to PW status apply • Status determined by type of conflict and the involvement / association of the individual

  46. Captured Persons • Those who have no right to engage in armed conflict but have been captured for taking direct part in hostilities • No PW Status • No Combatant Immunity • No right to be returned at end of hostilities • Humane treatment

  47. Detained/Interred Persons • Persons who, for their own security or the security of the mission, are placed under the power of a belligerent force. • Detention lasts only as long as necessary • Humane treatment

  48. AP 2 Protections • All persons who do not take a direct part or who have ceased to take part in hostilities, whether or not their liberty has been restricted, are entitled to respect for their person, honour and convictions and religious practices. • They shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction. • It is prohibited to order that there shall be no survivors.

  49. Women and Children • Women shall be the object of special respect and shall be protected in particular against rape, forced prostitution and any other form of indecent assault. • Children shall be the object of special respect and shall be protected against any form of indecent assault. The Parties to the conflict shall provide them with the care and aid they require, whether because of their age or for any other reason • If arrested, detained or interned for reasons related to the armed conflict, children shall be held in quarters separate from the quarters of adults, except where families are accommodated as family units

  50. Prisoner of War Status “Status” is a legal term of art • Must be the right kind of person in the right kind of conflict