Practice Relating to Rule 52. Pillage
Colombia’s Basic Military Manual (1995) provides that it is prohibited “to steal personal property” of non-combatants, as well as “to plunder the property and belongings” of the civilian population.
Colombia’s Instructors’ Manual (1999) recalls that theft is prohibited.
Colombia’s Military Penal Code (1999) provides for a prison sentence for “anyone who, in combat operation, appropriates movable property, without any justification, for his own profit or the profit of a third person”.
Colombia’s Penal Code (2000) imposes a criminal sanction on “anyone who, during an armed conflict, despoils … a protected person”.
In 2007, in the Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, the Plenary Chamber of Colombia’s Constitutional Court stated:
Taking into account … the development of customary international humanitarian law applicable in internal armed conflicts, the Constitutional Court notes that the fundamental guarantees stemming from the principle of humanity, some of which have attained ius cogens
status, … [include] the prohibition of pillage.
[footnote in original omitted]
The Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia, as the second instance court, entirely upholds the convincing, rational and comprehensive reasoning of the first instance Judgment and concludes that the facts were completely and correctly established. The first instance court correctly applied the criminal code by finding that the actions of the accused amounted to the criminal offence of War Crimes against Civilians in violation of Article 120(1) of the BCCRC [Basic Criminal Code of the Republic of Croatia].
The Report on the Practice of Colombia refers to a draft internal working paper of the Colombian Government which stated that pillage and plunder are prohibited by IHL.