Practice Relating to Rule 52. Pillage
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) states: “Pillage and plunder of conquered populations or localities are especially forbidden.”
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states: “Private property must be respected to the extent permitted by operational requirements. In particular, it is prohibited to plunder or loot localities that have been taken.”
The manual also states that in occupied territories: “Pillage is formally forbidden”.
Spain’s Royal Ordinance for the Armed Forces (1978) instructs commanders not to permit plunder or pillage.
Spain’s Military Criminal Code (1985) punishes any soldier “who pillages the inhabitants of enemy towns”.
Spain’s Penal Code (1995) punishes “anyone who, during an armed conflict, … commits any … acts of pillage”.
Spain’s Penal Code (1995), as amended in 2010, states:
1. Anyone who in the event of an armed conflict commits or orders to be committed any of the following acts shall be punished with four to six years’ imprisonment:
g. … [C]arrying out any other act of pillage;
2. … In all other cases mentioned in the above article, the higher sentence can be imposed when extensive and important destructions are caused to the property, objects or installations or [the acts] are of extreme gravity.
In 1993, during a debate in the UN Security Council concerning the situation in Croatia, Spain referred to the conclusions of the Provisional Report of the Security Council’s Commission of Experts, according to which grave offences and other violations of IHL had been committed in the former Yugoslavia, including looting of civilian property.