Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of
Practice Relating to Rule 77. Expanding Bullets
Under the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia’s Penal Code (1976), as amended in 2001, the use of, or the order to use, “means or methods of combat prohibited under the rules of international law, during a war or an armed conflict” is a war crime.
The commentary on the Penal Code as amended adds: “The following weapons and means of combat are considered to be prohibited: … projectiles that spread easily when they come in contact with a human body”.
At the CDDH, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia voted in favour of the Philippine amendment (see supra), but because that amendment had been rejected it stated that it
deeply regrets that the use of unlawful methods or means of combat was not included in the grave breaches, particularly since to have done so would merely have been to have codified an already existing rule of customary law, because there can be no doubt that to use prohibited weapons or unlawful methods of making war is already to act unlawfully, that is, it is a war crime punishable by existing international law.
In 1991, in a document entitled “Examples of violations of the rules of international law committed by the so-called armed forces of Slovenia”, the Ministry of Defence of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia stated:
The nature of the injuries of some of the members of the Yugoslav People’s Army show that forbidden means have been used in the armed conflict, before all ammunition suitable to inflict disproportionate and needless injuries, that reduce the chances of the injured to survive.
In that respect, the injuries of [a] soldier … are characteristic. He was hit in the tip of his right forearm and the round had crumbled and split the forearm bone, the tissue and thus blew the fist of the injured to bits. In the riddled channel and the surrounding tissue, pieces of a fragmented round were found. All that implies for the use of the so-called soft-nosed bullet.