Practice Relating to Rule 147. Reprisals against Protected Objects
Section A. Civilian objects in general
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) lists among the persons against whom the taking of reprisals is prohibited “civilian persons and objects”. It refers, however, to Article 46 of the 1949 Geneva Convention I (relative to the prohibition of reprisals against the wounded, the sick and medical personnel protected under the 1949 Geneva Convention I).
The manual also refers to Article 52 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I with regard to the prohibition of reprisals against cultural objects. In another provision, the manual, also referring to Article 52 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, states: “Property of a civilian character will not be made the object of attacks nor of reprisals.”
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) lists “civilian property” among the objects against which the taking of reprisals is prohibited.
The manual also states: “Civilian objects must not be targeted in … reprisals.”
The manual further states: “Any area, facility or object that does not fulfil any of the requirements … which would qualify it as a military objective, must be considered a civilian object and, as such, must not be made the object of … reprisals”.
Spain’s Penal Code (1995) provides:
[Shall be punished] whoever, in the event of an armed conflict: … attacks or makes the object of reprisals or the object of hostilities civilian objects of the adverse party, causing extensive destruction, provided that the said acts do not offer a definite military advantage in the circumstances of the case or that the said objects do not make an effective contribution to the adverse party’s military effort.
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:
d. … [M]aking … civilian objects of the adverse party the object of reprisals … , causing their destruction, provided that in the circumstances ruling at the time such property does not offer a definite military advantage nor makes an effective contribution to the military action of the adversary;
2. … 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.