Practice Relating to Rule 39. Use of Cultural Property for Military Purposes
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) states that combatants must remember that it is prohibited “to use property which constitutes the cultural or spiritual heritage of peoples, whether public or private, in support of the military effort”.
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states: “The duty to respect cultural property requires the defending party to refrain from any use of such property and its immediate surroundings to support its military operations.”
Spain’s Penal Code (1995), as amended in 2010, states:
1. Anyone who in the event of an armed conflict commits or orders to be committed any of the following acts shall be punished with four to six years’ imprisonment:
a. Attacking … cultural property or places of worship which are clearly identified and constitute the cultural or spiritual heritage of peoples, as long as such property is not situated in the immediate proximity of military objectives and is not used in support of the enemy’s military effort;
b. Misusing the cultural property or places of worship mentioned in letter a) in support of a military action;
2. When … [there] is a misuse … [of] cultural property or places of worship which are protected by special agreements or are under enhanced protection … a higher sentence can be imposed.
In all other cases mentioned in the above article, the higher sentence can be imposed when extensive and important destructions are caused to the property, objects or installations or [the acts] are of extreme gravity.
Spain’s Royal Ordinances for the Armed Forces (2009) states that members of the armed forces “[m]ust avoid using … cultural property or installations [in] close [proximity] to these for objectives that can expose them to destruction or deterioration.”