Practice Relating to Rule 57. Ruses of War
Spain’s Field Regulations (1882) states: “The laws of war permit: ambushes, surprises, night attacks, simulated movements, false retreats to ambush, intimidation and provision of false information.”
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) states that stratagems are permitted.
The manual adds that, in order to fulfil his mission, the commander may dissimulate his intentions and actions to the enemy in order to mislead him, to induce him to act recklessly or to react against his own interests. However, stratagems must neither infringe any rule of international law applicable in armed conflicts, nor be perfidious.
The manual gives the following examples of stratagems: decoys, mock operations, misinformation, camouflage and disinformation.
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states:
In order to fulfil their mission, commanders attempt to conceal their intentions and actions, using stratagems and ruses of war. Ruses of war are a legitimate method of warfare, combining deception and trickery to mislead an adversary or induce him to act recklessly or take the wrong decision. However, some ruses of war are prohibited, when they involve perfidy, that is, if they appeal to the good faith of the adversary with the intention of betraying him, misleading him into thinking that certain persons or objects cannot be attacked because they are protected by the law of armed conflict; e.g. the use of an ambulance to transport munitions.
The manual gives the following examples of ruses of war: “decoys, mock operations, camouflage and misinformation”.