Practice Relating to Rule 53. Starvation as a Method of Warfare
Colombia’s Basic Military Manual (1995) states that it is prohibited to use starvation of the civilian population as a method of combat “in all armed conflicts”.
In 2007, in the Constitutional Case No. C-291/07
, the Plenary Chamber of Colombia’s Constitutional Court stated that the prohibition of starvation in the 1977 Additional Protocol II “has attained customary status, mainly due to its impact on State practice and on conflicts in the last decades”.
The Court also held that an “element of the principle of distinction is the prohibition against attacking objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, which includes the prohition to starve civilians”.
(footnote in original omitted)
In 1994, in reply to a questionnaire from the House of Representatives, Colombia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs quoted Article 14 of the 1977 Additional Protocol II. It added: “What this Article prohibits is the starvation of civilians.”
The Report on the Practice of Colombia refers to a draft internal working paper in which the Colombian Government stated that it was prohibited “to make the civilian population suffer from hunger or thirst”.