Practice Relating to Rule 90. Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment
Somalia’s Military Criminal Code (1963) states:
382. Arbitrary refusal to recognize the status of lawful belligerent. – A commander who causes serious harm to lawful enemy belligerents who have fallen into his power, or to the sick, wounded or shipwrecked, by not according them the treatment prescribed by law or by international agreements … shall be punished, unless the act constitutes a more serious offence, by military confinement for not less than three years.
393. Torture or ill-treatment. – A soldier charged with escorting, supervising or guarding prisoners of war who abuses this position and, for any reason, tortures or ill-treats a prisoner of war, shall be punished by military confinement for 2 to 10 years.
395. Violence, intimidation or abuse, in general. – 1. Except in the cases provided for in the two preceding articles, a soldier who uses violence or intimidation or who abuses a prisoner of war shall receive the same penalties as those prescribed by law for such acts when they are committed by a soldier against a subordinate.
2. The same provision shall apply to a prisoner of war appointed by the Somali military authority to be in charge of discipline in a squad or unit if he commits any of the above-mentioned acts against a prisoner of war in the squad or unit.
In 1998, an ICRC publication entitled “Spared from the Spear” recorded traditional Somali practice in warfare as follows: “[T]he acts of violence that were prohibited included killing someone by strangulation or choking [or] burying someone alive.”
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.
In 2011, in its report to the Human Rights Council, Somalia stated:
Somalia has not ratified AP II [1977 Additional Protocol II] and it is therefore not directly applicable to Somalia as a matter of treaty law. The Government is aware that many provisions of AP II represent customary IHL rules and therefore apply to the situation in Somalia. Such provisions include Article 4 providing guarantees to persons taking no active part in hostilities … due to the fact that these norms are reflected in Common Article 3 of the  Geneva Conventions.