Desecration of corps
|Appeal Judgement - 14.12.2011||
BAGOSORA et al. (Military I)
729. […] The Appeals Chamber underscores that the desecration of Prime Minister Uwilingiyimana’s corpse constituted a profound assault on human dignity meriting unreserved condemnation under international law. Such crimes strike at the core of national and human identity. However, the Appeals Chamber finds, Judge Pocar dissenting, that Bagosora was not charged on this basis, and thus cannot be held legally responsible for this act.
 In this regard, the Appeals Chamber notes that, in 1994, many domestic criminal codes, including the Rwandan criminal code, explicitly criminalised acts degrading the dignity of the corpse or interfering with a corpse. Any review of customary international law regarding this issue would need to take into account the large number of jurisdictions that criminalise degrading the dignity of or interfering with corpses. See, e.g., Botswana, Penal Code (1964) Ch. 08:01, s. 138; Canada, Criminal Code, R.S., 1985, c.C-34, s. 182(b); Costa Rica, Codigo Penal (1971), art. 207; Ethiopia, Penal Code, (1957), art. 287(b); Germany, Strafgesetzbuch (StGB), 1998, s. 168 (this section was added in 1987); India, Penal Code (1860), s. 297; Kenya, Penal Code (1970) Ch. 63, s. 137; Japan, Penal Code (Act No. 45 of 1907), art. 190; Lithuania, Criminal Code as amended (1961), art. 335; New Zealand, Crimes Act 1961 No. 43, art. 150(b); Nigeria, Criminal Code Act (1990), (Ch. 77), s. 242; United States of America (Oregon State), (1971), ORS.166.087; Pakistan, Criminal Code (1860), s. 297; Rwanda, Décret-loi N°21/77 du 18 août 1977 instituant le Code pénal, art. 352; Switzerland, Code pénal suisse du 21 décembre 1937, art. 262; Uganda, Penal Code Act 1950 (Ch. 120), s. 120; Vietnam, Penal Code (1985), s. 246. Humanitarian law also prohibits the maltreatment of corpses. See, e.g., The Laws of War on Land, Institute of International Law, Oxford, 9 September 1880, art. 19; Manual of the Laws of Naval War, Institute of International Law, Oxford, 9 August 1913, art. 85; Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armies in the Field. Geneva, 6 July 1906, art. 3; Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armies in the Field. Geneva, 27 July 1929, art. 3; Convention (X) of the Adaptation to Maritime Warfare of the Principles of the Geneva Convention, The Hague, 18 October 1907, art. 16; Geneva Convention (IV) Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, 12 August 1949, 75 UNTS 287, art. 16; Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), Geneva, 12 December 1977, art. 34(1); Yves Sandoz, Christoph Swinarski and Bruno Zimmermann, eds., Commentary on the Additional Protocols of 8 June 1977 to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, (Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1987), para. 1307. The prohibition and criminalisation of maltreating corpses also extends to domestic military law. See, e.g., regarding prohibition: Jean-Marie Henckaerts and Louise Doswald-Beck, eds., International Committee for the Red Cross, Customary International Humanitarian Law, Vol. II (Practice) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009) (“ICRC Study on Customary International Humanitarian Law”), pp. 2663-2667, referring to: Australia, Defence Force Manual (1994), s. 998; Bosnia and Herzegovina, Instructions to the Muslim Fighter (1993), sec. c; Netherlands, Military Manual (1993), p. VI-2, s. 1817(1); Philippines, Military Instructions (1989), ss. 2, 4; Spain, Royal Ordinance for the Armed Forces (1978), art. 140; Switzerland, Basic Military Manual (1987), arts. 194(2), 200(f); United Kingdom, Military Manual (1958), s. 380; United Kingdom, Law of Armed Conflict Manual (1981), Annex A, p. 47, s. 15. See, e.g., regarding criminalization: ICRC Study on Customary International Humanitarian Law, pp. 2665-2667, referring to Australia, War Crimes Act (1945), s. 3 (xxxv); Ecuador, Naval Manual (1989), p. 6-5, s. 6.2.5; Italy, Wartime Military Penal Code (1941), art. 197; Netherlands, Military Criminal Code as amended (1964), art. 143; New Zealand, Military Manual (1992), s. 1704(5); Nigeria, Manual on the Laws of War (undated), s. 6; Switzerland, Basic Military Manual (1987), arts. 194(2), 200(f); Switzerland, Military Criminal Code as amended (1927), art. 140(2); United Kingdom, Military Manual (1958), s. 626(b); United States, Field Manual (1956), s. 504(c); United States, Instructor’s Guide (1985), pp. 13, 14; Bangladesh, International Crimes (Tribunal) Act (1973), s. 3(2)(e); Ireland, Geneva Conventions Act as amended (1962), s. 4(1) and (4). Furthermore, in several trials following the Second World War, accused were convicted on charges of mutilating dead bodies. See, e.g., Kihuchi and Mahuchi case, United States Military Commission at Yokohama, Japan, 20 April 1946; Trial of Max Schmid, United States General Military Government Court at Dachau, Germany, 19 May 1947, United Nations War Crimes Commission Law Reports, vol. XIII, pp. 151, 152; Takehiko case, Australian Military Court at Wewak, 30 November 1945. See also Yochio and Other case, United States Military Commission at the Mariana Islands, 2-15 August 1946; Tisato case, Australian Military Court at Rabaul, 2 April 1946; Law Reports of Trials of War Criminals, prepared by the United Nations War Crimes Commission, 1949, Volume XV, p. 134.
|ICTR Statute Article 3(i) ICTY Statute Article 5(i)|