Practice Relating to Rule 47. Attacks against Persons Hors de Combat
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) prohibits attacks against persons hors de combat
The manual also states that it is a grave breach of the 1977 Additional Protocol I and a war crime “to make a person the object of attack knowing that he is hors de combat
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states: “It is prohibited to attack those persons who are out of action or hors de combat
The manual further states that: “The wounded, sick and shipwrecked must not be attacked unless they take a direct part in hostilities.”
The manual states with regard to combatants without prisoner-of-war status: “They should be given the chance to surrender and, once hors de combat
, must be treated humanely. No acts of violence must be committed against them unless they carry out a hostile act or attempt to escape.”
The manual also states: “The unconditional surrender of the enemy must never be refused.”
The manual further states: “Enemy combatants who surrender and clearly express their intention to cease fighting (by waving a white flag, putting up their hands, etc.) must be respected.”
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) provides:
It is prohibited to attack an enemy who is hors de combat:
a)because he is in the power of an adverse party;
b) because he clearly expresses his intention to surrender;
c)because he is unconscious or is otherwise incapacitated by wounds or sickness, and is therefore incapable of defending himself.
In any of these cases, he always abstains from any hostile act and does not attempt to escape. Otherwise, the prohibition [to attack him] disappears.
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states:
It is prohibited to attack those persons who are out of action or hors de combat because they:
a. are in the power of an adverse party;
b. clearly express an intention to surrender;
c. have been rendered unconscious or are otherwise incapacitated by wounds or sickness and therefore incapable of defending themselves.
These persons are considered hors de combat
provided that they abstain from any hostile act and do not attempt to escape. If they do not comply with these requirements, the prohibition no longer applies.
Spain’s Royal Ordinance for the Armed Forces (1978) states: “The combatant shall not refuse the unconditional surrender of the enemy.”
Spain’s Military Criminal Code (1985) punishes any soldier “who mistreats an enemy who has surrendered or who has no longer means of defending himself”.
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) states that when the conditions of combat make it impossible to treat prisoners of war properly and to evacuate them (e.g. isolated special operations, small units, mass capture which exceeds the possibility of the unit in question), the prisoners must be released and all feasible precautions must be taken to ensure their safety.
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states:
When the conditions in which the hostilities are being conducted prevent prisoners of war from being treated as required and evacuated (isolated action by special operation forces or small units, the capture of large numbers of prisoners of war that the detaining unit does not have the capacity to handle, etc.), they must be released and all feasible precautions taken to ensure their safety.
Upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, Spain interpreted the term “feasible” as meaning that “the matter in question is feasible or possible in practice, taking into account all the circumstances prevailing at the time, including humanitarian and military aspects”.