Practice Relating to Rule 7. The Principle of Distinction between Civilian Objects and Military Objectives
Section C. Attacks against civilian objects in general
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states: “Civilian objects must not be the object of attack.”
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) provides: “Civilian objects shall not be subjected to attacks.”
Spain’s Penal Code (1995) punishes
anyone who, during an armed conflict, … attacks … civilian objects of the adverse party causing their destruction, provided the objects do not, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offer a definite military advantage nor make an effective contribution to the military action of the adversary.
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:
d. Attacking, or making the object of … acts of hostility, … civilian objects of the adverse party, causing their destruction, provided that in the circumstances ruling at the time such property does not offer a definite military advantage nor makes an effective contribution to the military action of the adversary;
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.
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 referred to norms of IHL relevant to the case under review, including Article 57(5) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I.