Treaties, States Parties and Commentaries
Treaties and Documents
Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Additional Protocols, and their Commentaries
Historical Treaties and Documents
The Laws of War on Land. Oxford, 9 September 1880.
Part III : Penal sanction - Art. 84.
' If any of the foregoing rules be violated, the offending parties should be punished, after a
judicial hearing, by the belligerent in whose hands they are. Therefore '
Art. 84. Offenders against the laws of war are liable to the punishments specified in the penal law.' This mode of repression, however, is only applicable when the person of the offender can be secured. In the contrary case, the criminal law is powerless, and, if the injured party deem the misdeed so serious in character as to make it necessary to recall the enemy to a respect for law, no other recourse than a resort to reprisals remains.
Reprisals are an exception to the general rule of equity, that an innocent person ought not to suffer for the guilty. They are also at variance with the rule that each belligerent should conform to the rules of war, without reciprocity on the part of the enemy. This necessary rigour, however, is modified to some extent by the following restrictions: '
[See article 85