Practice Relating to Rule 52. Pillage
The Russian Federation’s Military Manual (1990) provides that allowing a town or an area to be pillaged is a prohibited method of warfare.
The Russian Federation’s Regulations on the Application of IHL (2001) states: “The prohibited methods of warfare include … ordering to pillage a town or place.”
With regard to occupied territory, the Regulations states:
The commander of the military unit deployed in the occupied territory is obliged, respecting the laws of the occupied territory, to take all possible measures to … prevent pillage and illegal confiscation of property.
With regard to internal armed conflict, the Regulations states:
The following acts against [all persons who do not take a direct part or who have ceased to take part in hostilities] are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever: … pillage [and] threats to commit any of the foregoing acts.
Under the Russian Federation’s Criminal Code (1996), “plunder of the national property in occupied territory” is a crime against the peace and security of mankind.
In response to a report by the Memorial Human Rights Center documenting the Russian Federation’s operation in the Chechen village of Samashki in April 1995, which alleged that the Russian forces had looted homes and taken television sets, cattle and other private property from the village, members of the Russian forces who testified in open hearings before a Russian Parliamentary Committee in May 1995 “vigorously denied” these allegations.
In 1995, during a debate in the UN Security Council concerning the situation in the former Yugoslavia, the Russian Federation declared that “the continuing large-scale violations of the rights of the Serbian population in the former Sectors West, North and South – including … the looting of homes … – are causing serious concern”.