Related Rule
Colombia
Practice Relating to Rule 54. Attacks against Objects Indispensable to the Survival of the Civilian Population
Colombia’s Basic Military Manual (1995) provides that the parties to a conflict must “abstain from attacking those objects and installations that … are indispensable for the well-being and survival [of the civilian population]”. 
Colombia, Derecho Internacional Humanitario – Manual Básico para las Personerías y las Fuerzas Armadas de Colombia, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, 1995, p. 22; see also p. 29.
The manual also states that objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as crops and the areas where they are produced, livestock, drinking water installations and irrigation works, are protected objects. 
Colombia, Derecho Internacional Humanitario – Manual Básico para las Personerías y las Fuerzas Armadas de Colombia, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, 1995, p. 25.
In a chapter entitled “Provisions of IHL applicable in Colombia”, the manual states that “in all armed conflicts”, it is prohibited to attack objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population as a method of combat. 
Colombia, Derecho Internacional Humanitario – Manual Básico para las Personerías y las Fuerzas Armadas de Colombia, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, 1995, p. 49.
Colombia’s Penal Code (2000) imposes a criminal sanction on “anyone who, during an armed conflict, attacks, renders useless, damages, removes or appropriates objects or elements indispensable to the survival of the civilian population”. 
Colombia, Penal Code, 2000, Article 160; see also Article 154.
In 2007, in the Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, the Plenary Chamber of Colombia’s Constitutional Court stated that the prohibition of attacks on objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population in the 1977 Additional Protocol II “has attained customary status, mainly due to its impact on State practice and on conflicts in the last decades”. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, Judgment of 25 April 2007, p. 68.
The Court also held:
The principle of distinction is complex and encompasses a number of treaty and customary norms applicable in internal armed conflicts, in addition to, in many cases, enjoying ius cogens status. These rules [include] … the prohibition to direct attacks against a civilian population’s basic means of survival. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, Judgment of 25 April 2007, pp. 84–86.
The Court further held that an “element of the principle of distinction is the prohibition against attacking objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, which includes the prohibition … to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to their survival.” 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, Judgment of 25 April 2007, p. 96.
(footnote in original omitted)
In 1994, in reply to a questionnaire from the House of Representatives, Colombia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs quoted Article 14 of the 1977 Additional Protocol II. 
Colombia, Presidency of the Republic, Office of the High Commissioner for Peace, National Plan for the Dissemination of IHL, Reply of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Questionnaire No. 012 of Commission II of the House of Representatives, 7 October 1994, p. 6.
The Report on the Practice of Colombia refers to a draft internal working paper in which the Colombian Government stated that it was prohibited “to make the civilian population suffer from hunger or thirst and to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects for this purpose”. 
Report on the Practice of Colombia, 1998, Chapter 4.1, referring to Presidential Council, Proposal of the Government to the Coordinator Guerrillerra Simón Bolívar to humanize war, Draft Internal Working Paper, Part entitled “El Derecho Internacional Humanitario”, § 2(h).
In 1994, in reply to a questionnaire from the House of Representatives, Colombia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs quoted Article 14 of the 1977 Additional Protocol II. It added:
What this article prohibits is the starvation of civilians. Therefore if one of the parties considers that an agricultural area with its crops, its livestock and its supply of clean water is supporting the military effort of the adverse party, or if it simply serves to feed the civilian population which is suspected of collaborating with the adverse party, that party can claim that it is meeting the objective of Article 14, that is, not starving the population, by moving the population concerned to another place. 
Colombia, Presidency of the Republic, Office of the High Commissioner for Peace, National Plan for the Dissemination of IHL, Reply of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Questionnaire No. 012 of Commission II of the House of Representatives, 7 October 1994, p. 6.
Colombia’s Basic Military Manual (1995), in a chapter entitled “Provisions of IHL applicable in Colombia”, states that “in all armed conflicts” it is prohibited to order a scorched earth policy as a method of combat. 
Colombia, Derecho Internacional Humanitario – Manual Básico para las Personerías y las Fuerzas Armadas de Colombia, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, 1995, p. 49.