Practice Relating to Rule 32. Humanitarian Relief Objects
Under Ethiopia’s Penal Code (1957), anyone who “intentionally destroys or damages in the course of hostilities material, installations or depots” belonging to the ICRC or to corresponding humanitarian relief organizations (the Red Crescent, the Red Lion and Sun) commits a punishable offence.
Ethiopia’s Criminal Code (2004) states:
Article 281.- Hostile Acts against International Humanitarian Organizations.
(1) Whoever intentionally and in time of peace:
(b) destroys or damages material, installations or depots belonging to [the International Red Cross or Red Crescent or to corresponding humanitarian relief organizations],
is punishable with simple imprisonment, or, in cases of exceptional gravity, with rigorous imprisonment not exceeding five years.
(2) Where the crime is committed in time of war, the punishment shall be rigorous imprisonment from one year to five years.
The Criminal Code of 2004 repealed Ethiopia’s Penal Code of 1957.
It was reported in the context of the conflict in Ethiopia, that “the Ethiopian air force had bombed relief convoys” and that “the EPLF [Eritrean People’s Liberation Front], too, attacked food convoys, claiming that the regime was using them to ship weapons to its troops”.