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Violations of IHL in Somalia and Rwanda case, Military Court, 17 December 1997 
Ministère public et Centre pour l'égalité des chances et la lutte contre le racisme v. C.et B.

17.12.1997
Military Court
Journal des Tribunaux, 4 April 1998, pp. 286-289 (unofficial French translation from the Dutch original ruling)

Summary
In the Violations of IHL in Somalia and Rwanda case in 1997, a Belgian Military Court acquitted two Belgian soldiers accused of having injured and threatened, in 1993, the civilian population whilst performing duties as part of the UNOSOM II peacekeeping operation in Somalia. The Court came to the conclusion that the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their 1977 Additional Protocols were not applicable to the armed conflict in Somalia and that, therefore, the civilian population could not be granted protection on this basis. The Court held that even common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions did not apply to the situation, as the Somali militia did not have an organized military structure, a responsible leadership or exercise authority over a specific part of the territory. Consequently, Belgium’s Law concerning the Repression of Grave Breaches of the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols (as amended) was also inapplicable. The Court further stated that the members of the UNOSOM II mission could not be considered as “combatants” since their primary task was not to fight against any of the factions, nor could they fall into the category of an “occupying force”.

Decision
File TypeSizeFile Name
application/pdf 35 KB Violations of IHL in Somalia and Rwanda case.pdf