Practice Relating to Rule 97. Human Shields
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) states: “It is prohibited to use protected persons as shields in order to protect military objectives from enemy attacks.”
The manual further states that civilians and civilian goods or protected persons and goods may suffer from the effects of an attack against a proper military object due to their proximity to it and when their presence shields the latter from attacks.
The manual also states that combatants must position their weapons in the field in order to avoid the use of the civilian population as a shield.
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states: “Civilians and civilian property must not be used to shield military objectives from attack.”
The manual further states: “It is prohibited to move medical units or medical transports, civilians or prisoners of war or take advantage of their presence to shield certain areas or military objectives from military operations.”
The manual also states: “Weapons must be deployed on the ground in such a way as to avoid using the civilian population as a shield.”
Spain’s Penal Code (1995), as amended in 2003, states:
Any person who [commits any of the following acts] during armed conflict is punished with 10 to 15 years’ imprisonment, without prejudice to a penalty for the results of such acts:
4. … [U]sing protected persons to shield points, zones or military forces from enemy attacks.
The Report on the Practice of Spain cites several occasions in 1990 and 1991 when the Spanish Government condemned Iraq for its use of human shields.