Practice Relating to Rule 52. Pillage
Iraq’s Military Penal Code (1940) states:
Every person who, taking advantage of war panic or misusing military prestige, takes possession of other persons’ property without any justification, or seizes such property by force, collects money or goods without being duly authorized to do so, or misuses his official position in making military requisitions for his own benefit shall be considered looter and shall be punished.
Iraq’s Law of the Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal (2005) identifies the following as a serious violation of the laws and customs of war applicable in both international and non-international armed conflicts: “Pillaging a town or place, even when taken by force.”
In its judgment in the Al-Anfal case in 2007, the Iraqi High Tribunal stated:
The proof of looting any town or place, even if it occurred coercively as a crime of war, must be provisioned through many factors to prove such crime. These are as follows: a proof that looting had been perpetrated by soldiers for personal benefit, proof that it occurred as organized properties’ confiscation in a frame of systematic economic abuse of a given occupied sector, proof of stolen property’s monetary value, proof that military necessity does stand for such acts [does not legitimize the act], and proof of lack of content [coercively].