The term refers not only to criminal punishment, but also to other types of sanctions, harassment or administrative action taken against a group in retaliation for an act committed by an individual/s who are considered to form part of the group. Such punishment therefore targets persons who bear no responsibility for having committed the conduct in question. Historically used as a deterrence tool by occupying powers to prevent attacks from resistance movements, collective punishments for acts committed by individuals during an armed conflict are prohibited by IHL against prisoners of war or other protected persons.
International humanitarian law prohibits collective punishment of prisoners of war or other protected persons for acts committed by individuals during an armed conflict.
The imposition of collective punishment is a war crime.
See War crimes, Sanctions; Individual criminal responsibility;
Sierra Leone, Special Court Ruling in the AFCR Case
Switzerland, Qualification of the Conflict in El Salvador
India, Rev. Mons. Monteiro v. State of Goa
Amnesty International, Breach of the Principle of Distinction
ICTY, The Prosecutor v. Martić
Israel/Gaza, Operation Cast Lead
Israel/Lebanon/Hezbollah Conflict in 2006
Sierra Leone, Special Court Ruling on Immunity for Taylor
India, Press Release, Violence in Kashmir
ICRC, IHL and the Challenges of Contemporary Armed Conflicts
Case Study, Armed Conflicts in the former Yugoslavia
Democratic Republic of the Congo, Conflict in the Kivus
Israel, House Demolitions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
Israel, Human Rights Committee’s Report on Beit Hanoun
UN Security Council, Sanctions Imposed Upon Iraq
UN, Guidelines for UN Forces
ICTY, The Prosecutor v. Galić
Israel, Blockade of Gaza and the Flotilla Incident
Iraq, Forced displacement and deliberate destruction
Iraq: Situation of Internally Displaced Persons
Suggested reading :
KOSMOPOULOS Georgios, “Collective Punishments under International Humanitarian Law: an Analysis of the 2006 War in Lebanon”, in Pace Diritti Umani, Vol. 5, No. 3, 2009, pp. 95-120.
Further reading :
COHEN Amichai, “Economic Sanctions in IHL – Suggested Principles”, Hebrew UniversityInternational Law Research Paper, No. 14-09, June 2009, 33 pp.