Iran, Pakistan Begin Border Gas Pipe Amid Sanctions Threat
Fourth Geneva Convention, Part 111, Article 32- 33
Art. 32. The High Contracting Parties specifically agree that each of them is prohibited from taking any measure of such a character as to cause the physical suffering or extermination of protected persons in their hands. This prohibition applies not only to murder, torture, corporal punishments, mutilation and medical or scientific experiments not necessitated by the medical treatment of a protected person, but also to any other measures of brutality whether applied by civilian or military agents.
Art. 33. No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.
Pillage is prohibited.
Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.
Under the 1949 Geneva Conventions collective punishments are a war crime. By collective punishment, the drafters of the Geneva Conventions had in mind the reprisal killings of World Wars I and World War II. In the First World War, Germans executed Belgian villagers in mass retribution for resistance activity. In World War II, the Nazis carried out a form of collective punishment to suppress resistance. Entire villages or towns or districts were held responsible for any resistance activity that occured in them. Additional concern also addressed the United States' atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the war's end, which, in turn, caused death and disease to hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians. The conventions, to counter this, reiterated the principle of individual responsibility. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Commentary to the conventions states that parties to a conflict often would resort to "intimidatory measures to terrorize the population" in hopes of preventing hostile acts, but such practices "strike at guilty and innocent alike. They are opposed to all principles based on humanity and justice."
It could therefore be argued that sanctions are a type of economic warfare, in which case the Geneva Conventions should apply. Therefore, the Fourth Geneva Convention, Part 111, Article 33 would apply, prohibiting any measure to cause physical suffering to Protected Persons. Editor