Practice Relating to Rule 5. Definition of Civilians
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) states: “The civilian population is defined by exclusion. This means that civilians are those persons who are not combatants.”
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states: “The civilian population is defined by exclusion. Civilians are all those persons who are not combatants.”
The manual further defines a civilian as “any person who does not belong to the armed forces and is not taking part in a levée en masse
Spain’s Penal Code (1995) contains a chapter on crimes against protected persons who are defined as “the civilian population and individual civilians protected by the Fourth Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949 or Additional Protocol I of 8 June 1977”.
In 2010, in the Couso case, which concerned the killing of a Spanish journalist in Baghdad on 8 April 2003 by troops of the United States of America, the Criminal Chamber of Spain’s Supreme Court noted:
Article 608 of our PC [Penal Code (1995)] … entitled “Offences against Protected Persons and Objects in the Event of Armed Conflict” within the … [Title] dedicated to “Offences against the International Community” specifies that
“for the purposes of this chapter, protected persons are understood as:
3. The civilian population and individual civilians protected by the IV Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949 or Additional Protocol I of 8 June 1977”.
[emphasis in original]
The Court also referred to norms of IHL relevant to the case under review, including Article 50 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I defining the civilian population.