Practice Relating to Rule 50. Destruction and Seizure of Property of an Adversary
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) provides: “Destruction and appropriation of civilian property, which are not justified by military necessity or by combat operations, are prohibited.”
The manual further states: “Destruction not required by the mission is prohibited.”
The manual also considers the “extensive destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity” to be grave breaches and war crimes.
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states:
The prohibition on requisitioning the property of aid societies can be lifted “in case of urgent necessity”.
The extensive destruction and appropriation of civilian property is prohibited when it is “not justified by military necessity”.
Spain’s Military Criminal Code (1985) punishes any soldier who “burns, destroys or severely damages buildings, ships, aircraft or any other enemy property not of a military character, without being required by the necessities of war”.
Spain’s Penal Code (1995) punishes “anyone who, during an armed conflict, … destroys, damages or appropriates, without military necessity, belongings from another person [or] forces someone to surrender such belongings”.
Spain’s Penal Code (1995), as amended in 2010, states:
1. Anyone who in the event of an armed conflict commits or orders to be committed any of the following acts shall be punished with four to six years’ imprisonment:
g. Destroying, damaging or appropriating, without military necessity, objects that do not belong to him or her, [or] forcing someone to surrender such objects …
2. … In all other cases mentioned in the above article, the higher sentence can be imposed when extensive and important destructions are caused to the property, objects or installations or [the acts] are of extreme gravity.