Practice Relating to Rule 1. The Principle of Distinction between Civilians and Combatants
Cuba’s Military Criminal Code (1979) punishes “anyone who, in areas of military operations, commits violence against the [civilian] population”.
In 2010, in its second periodic report to the Committee against Torture, Cuba stated:
53. Given the definition of torture contained in article 1 of the Convention, any act of torture is prohibited and punishable under Cuban law. Actions involving torture are punishable under various sections of the Criminal Code in relation to a wide range of offences, such as:
(g) … violence against the population in a region of military operations ([Military Criminal Code (1979)].
108. Article 44.1 of the Military [Criminal Code], which establishes the offence of violence against the civilian population in a region of military operations, provides that “Anyone who performs acts of violence against the civilian population in a region of military operations … is liable to a penalty of one to eight years’ imprisonment”. Paragraph (2) of this article establishes that if such acts are performed repeatedly or with cruelty, or cause considerable material damage, the penalty shall be between eight and 20 years’ imprisonment or death.
In 2010, in a statement before the UN General Assembly on the status of the Protocols Additional to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of Armed Conflicts, the representative of Cuba stated:
Increasingly, the civilian population are the victims and direct targets of all kinds of abuses committed by armed forces involved in conflicts. The constant imperialist aggression and permanent interference in the internal affairs of third world countries, … and the indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians, are [among] the fundamental causes of current violations of international humanitarian law.