Practice Relating to Rule 50. Destruction and Seizure of Property of an Adversary
Italy’s IHL Manual (1991) states: “It is specifically prohibited … to destroy or seize enemy property, unless it is imperatively demanded by the necessities of war.”
The manual further states that “purposeless destruction of houses and devastation not justified by military necessity” constitute war crimes.
The manual also states that the occupying State has the obligation “not to destroy movable and immovable property belonging to private persons, to the occupied State and other public organizations or cooperatives … except in case of absolute military necessity”.
Italy’s LOAC Elementary Rules Manual (1991) provides: “Superfluous destruction … is prohibited.”
The manual also instructs troops, as a rule for behaviour in action, to “restrict destruction to what your mission requires”.
Under Italy’s Law of War Decree (1938), it is prohibited “to destroy or seize enemy property, unless it is imperatively demanded by the necessities of war”.
Italy’s Wartime Military Penal Code (1941) punishes “anyone who, in enemy territory, without being constrained by the necessity of military operations, sets fire to a house, an edifice, or through any other means destroys them”.