Practice Relating to Rule 67. Inviolability of Parlementaires
In 1998, an ICRC publication entitled “Spared from the Spear” recorded traditional Somali practice in warfare as follows:
A peace delegation consisted usually of a group of responsible persons who had taken it on themselves to seek to restore the peace between two warring groups. The members of such a delegation could belong to one or both of the two sides to the conflict or to uninvolved third clans.
Somali custom dictated that the members of a peace delegation should not be harmed while they are travelling on their way through the territory of other clans as well as during their stay with the clan of their destination. Far from committing violence against them, the members of a peace delegation were to be welcomed and hospitably entertained throughout their stay, even if the peace offer they carried was to be rejected.
In 2011, in its comments on the concluding observations of the Human Rights Council concerning Somalia’s report, the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia referred to “Spared from the Spear” as its “own Geneva Conventions”:
In times of hostilities, the Biri-Ma-Geydo
(Spared from the Spear), i.e. Somalia’s own “Geneva Conventions”[,] which existed long before the adoption of the Hague and Geneva Conventions, mitigated and regulated the conduct of clan hostilities and the treatment of immune groups.