Practice Relating to Rule 107. Spies
Ecuador’s Naval Manual (1989) defines a spy as:
someone who, while in territory under enemy control or the zone of operations of a belligerent force, seeks to obtain information while operating under a false claim of non-combatant or friendly forces status with the intention of passing that information to an opposing belligerent. Members of the armed forces who penetrate enemy-held territory in civilian attire or enemy uniform to collect intelligence are spies. Conversely, personnel conducting reconnaissance missions behind enemy lines while properly uniformed are not spies.
Ecuador’s Naval Manual (1989) provides:
Spying during armed conflict is not a violation of international law. Captured spies are not, however, entitled to prisoner-of-war status. The captor nation may try and punish spies in accordance with its national law. Should a spy succeed in eluding capture and return to friendly territory, liability to punishment terminates. If subsequently captured during some other military operation, the former spy cannot be tried or punished for the earlier act of espionage.
The manual also provides that “individuals captured as spies … may not be summarily executed” and that they “have the right to be fairly tried for violations of the law of armed conflict”.