Practice Relating to Rule 52. Pillage
Peru’s Human Rights Charter of the Security Forces (1991) instructs army and police forces to respect private property.
It emphasizes that theft is to be punished. It states: “If you steal, you damage your prestige and the prestige of the Armed Forces.”
Theft and plunder are considered to be “violations of human rights”.
Peru’s IHL Manual (2004) defines the term “pillage” as: “The systematic and violent appropriation by members of the armed forces of movable public or private property belonging to the enemy State, to wounded, sick or shipwrecked persons or to prisoners of war. Pillage is a war crime.
The manual further states: “Civilian objects must be respected, which means that they must not be pillaged”.
Peru’s IHL and Human Rights Manual (2010) defines “pillage” in its Glossary of Terms as: “The systematic and violent appropriation by members of the armed forces of movable public or private property belonging to the enemy State, to wounded, sick or shipwrecked persons or to prisoners of war. Pillage is a war crime.”
The manual further states: “Civilian objects must be respected, which means that pillage is prohibited”.
The manual further states:
The following are considered war crimes:
(9) plundering public or private objects.
Under Peru’s Code (1980) of Military Justice, it is a punishable violation of international law “to plunder the inhabitants” in time of war.
The Code also punishes “the soldiers who, in time of war or of public calamity, of shipwreck or of aerial accident, commit acts of plunder or of pillage”.
Peru’s Code of Military and Police Justice (2006) states:
Any member of the military or police who in the context of an international or non-international armed conflict pillages or destroys, seizes or confiscates property belonging to the hostile party without a justification related to the armed conflict shall be imprisoned for a period of no less than five and no more than 12 years.
This article is no longer in force. Along with certain other articles in this legislation, it was declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court (en banc decision for case file No. 0012-2006-PI-TC, 8 January 2007) because it does not stipulate a crime committed in the line of duty that would fall under the jurisdiction of a military court pursuant to Article 173 of Peru’s Constitution.
Peru’s Decree on the Use of Force by the Armed Forces (2010) states:
With respect to the persons mentioned above [i.e. persons not directly participating in hostilities or who have laid down their arms as well as persons placed hors de combat by illness, wounds, detention or any other reason], the following actions are prohibited anytime and anywhere: