Practice Relating to Rule 113. Treatment of the Dead
Section B. Protection of the dead against despoliation
Somalia’s Military Criminal Code (1963) states:
1. Anyone who, on the battlefield and for the purpose of profiting therefrom, plunders a corpse or steals money or precious objects from it shall be punished by imprisonment for 5 to 15 years.
2. If the act is committed by several people acting in concert, the penalty shall be increased by one third to one half.
In 1998, an ICRC publication entitled “Spared from the Spear” recorded traditional Somali practice in warfare as follows: “The body of a man who is killed should not be searched for gain and any property that he had with him should not be confiscated”.
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.