Practice Relating to Rule 50. Destruction and Seizure of Property of an Adversary
Somalia’s Military Criminal Code (1963) states:
1. Anyone who, in an enemy country, sets fire to a house or building, or destroys them by any other means without being compelled to do so by the necessities of military operations, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than 15 years.
2. If the act has resulted in the death of one or more persons, a penalty of death with demotion shall be applied.
In 1998, an ICRC publication entitled “Spared from the Spear” recorded traditional Somali practice in warfare as follows: “[T]he destruction by fire, or through any other means, of dwellings and their contents was regarded with strong disapproval.”
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.