Practice Relating to Rule 92. Mutilation and Medical, Scientific or Biological Experiments
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) provides: “It is not permitted to subject [POWs] to scientific experiments not justified by medical reasons or which are not in the interests of the prisoner.”
The manual further states that subjecting protected persons to medical procedures not required by their state of health and carrying out medical, biological or scientific experiments, committed by medical personnel, are war crimes. It adds that in occupied territories, “medical or scientific experiments not required by health” are absolutely prohibited.
The manual also provides that subjecting “prisoners, internees and any other detained person to acts which endanger their physical or mental integrity, such as mutilations, medical or scientific experiments, removal of tissues and organs and any medical procedure not indicated by their state of health and not applied in accordance with generally accepted medical standards” are grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and constitute war crimes.
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states:
[N]o person who is captured or detained in relation to an armed conflict remains unprotected under the law of armed conflict and is entitled, at all times, to minimum guarantees. [These include] … prohibition of the following acts at any time and in any place, whether committed by civilian or military agents:
The manual also states that prisoners of war must not be subjected to “physical mutilation or to medical or scientific experiments of any kind which are not justified by the medical treatment of the prisoner concerned and carried out in their interest”.
The manual further states that “the duties of medical personnel, as established by the law of armed conflict” include: “refrain from subjecting protected persons to any medical procedure not required by the state of health of the person concerned or conducting medical, biological or scientific experiments on them”.
Under the manual, “biological experiments and other medical or scientific experiments” committed by medical personnel are war crimes.
The manual also provides that the medical responsibilities assumed by the military authority in occupied territory include an absolute prohibition on “medical or scientific experiments not required as part of medical treatment” and “mutilations”.
Spain’s Military Criminal Code (1985) provides for the punishment of military personnel who carry out medical or scientific experiments on the wounded, sick and shipwrecked, prisoners of war or the civilian population.
Spain’s Penal Code (1995) punishes anyone who, in time of armed conflict, subjects any protected person to biological experiments or medical treatment not justified by their state of health and not recognized by medical standards.