Practice Relating to Rule 110. Treatment and Care of the Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked
Somalia’s Military Criminal Code (1963) states:
374. Failure to assist sick, wounded or shipwrecked soldiers. — 1. A soldier assigned to the medical service who, during or after combat, fails to lend his assistance to soldiers or other persons regularly accompanying the belligerent armed forces who are sick, wounded or shipwrecked, even if they are enemies, shall be punished by military confinement for 1 to 10 years.
2. If any of the above-mentioned offences is committed culpably, the penalty shall be military confinement for up to seven years.
382. Arbitrary refusal to recognize the status of lawful belligerent.
— A commander who causes serious harm … to the sick, wounded or shipwrecked, by not according them the treatment prescribed by law or by international agreements … shall be punished, unless the act constitutes a more serious offence, by military confinement for not less than three years.
In 1998, an ICRC publication entitled “Spared from the Spear” recorded traditional Somali practice in warfare as follows:
[A]fter the battle was over, a wounded man from the enemy was found on the battlefield, the traditional immunity code would require that he should … be … cared for and nursed until he was well again.
Examining the actual treatment of the war-wounded in traditional Somali conflicts, we find that, generally, … the enemy’s wounded who were found lying on the battlefield … were … treated for their wounds and given nutritious food to enhance the process of their healing.
In 2011, in its comments on the concluding observations of the Human Rights Council concerning Somalia’s report, the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia referred to “Spared from the Spear” as its “own Geneva Conventions”:
In times of hostilities, the Biri-Ma-Geydo
(Spared from the Spear), i.e. Somalia’s own “Geneva Conventions”[,] which existed long before the adoption of the Hague and Geneva Conventions, mitigated and regulated the conduct of clan hostilities and the treatment of immune groups.