Practice Relating to Rule 53. Starvation as a Method of Warfare
Germany’s Military Manual (1992) provides: “Grave breaches of international humanitarian law are in particular: … starvation of civilians by destroying, removing or rendering useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population.”
Germany’s Law Introducing the International Crimes Code (2002) punishes anyone who, in connection with an international or non-international armed conflict, “uses starvation of civilians as a method of warfare”.
In 1991, during a debate in the German Parliament on the situation in the Sudan, several speakers from various parties condemned the use of starvation.
In 1993, during a parliamentary debate, the German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development denounced the use of starvation by the parties to the conflict in the Sudan.
In 1993, during a parliamentary debate on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a member of the German Parliament, supported by a Minister of State, qualified the starvation of a part of the population of Srebrenica as a “genocidal act”.
In 1993, the German Chancellor expressed the view that the use of starvation in armed conflict was “a violation of human dignity”.
At the 26th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in 1995, Germany stated that the “deliberate and systematic starvation of the civilian population has been used repeatedly and has to be condemned”.
At the Moscow Conference on Global Humanitarian Challenges in 1997, the German Minister of Interior Affairs held the use of starvation as a weapon to be “a breach of international law”.
In 1997, during an open debate in the UN Security Council, Germany expressed concern about behaviour the consequences of which ranged “from brutal death by starvation … to massive displacements of whole populations striving for survival”.
In 1995, in a statement before the UN General Assembly on Germany’s appreciation of UN achievements, the German Foreign Minister praised the efforts of peacekeepers “who keep the beleaguered people from starving”.
Germany’s Military Manual (1992), in a section on blockades, states: “Starvation of the civilian population as a method of warfare is prohibited.”