Practice Relating to Rule 77. Expanding Bullets
Colombia’s Operational Law Manual (2009) states:
4. Rules for the conduct of hostilities
c. Restrictions on the means and methods
The means and methods of warfare that can be used are limited. Weapons that cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering are prohibited. The general principles on the use of weapons establish that “the use of means and methods of warfare which are of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering is prohibited”. Likewise, “the use of weapons which are by nature indiscriminate is prohibited”.
In this sense, the use of the following weapons is prohibited:
- expanding bullets[.]
[footnotes in original omitted]
In 1995, in a ruling on the constitutionality of the 1977 Additional Protocol II, the Constitutional Court of Colombia stated in relation to the prohibition on the use of weapons of a nature to cause unnecessary suffering or superfluous injury:
Although none of the treaty rules expressly applicable to internal conflicts prohibits indiscriminate attacks or the use of certain weapons, the Taormina Declaration consequently considers that the bans (established partly by customary law and partly by treaty law) on the use of … “dum-dum” bullets … apply to non-international armed conflicts, not only because they form part of customary international law but also because they evidently derive from the general rule prohibiting attacks against the civilian population.
In 1975, during discussions in the Ad Hoc Committee on Conventional Weapons established by the CDDH on the legality of high-velocity weapons, Colombia stated: “Such weapons were indeed comparable to … dum-dum bullets … It was thus essential to expedite the formulation of rules prohibiting their use.”