|Handbook on War and Public Health (ICRC, 1996, 470 p.)|
|Chapter 9 - PROTECTING THE VICTIMS OF ARMED CONFLICTS|
|II. SPECIFIC POINTS OF INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW USEFUL FOR HEALTH-CARE PERSONNEL|
25 See also Baccino-Astrada, ibid.
The Geneva Conventions (Art. 19ff I, Art. 22ff II and Art. 18ff IV) and the Additional Protocols (Art. 8ff/I and 7ff/II) provide for the protection of medical facilities and means of transport. Article 11 of Protocol 11 stipulates:
"1. Medical units and transports shall be respected and protected at all times and shall not be the object of attack.
2. The protection to which medical units and transports are entitled shall not cease unless they are used to commit hostile acts, outside their humanitarian function. Protection may, however, cease only after a warning has been given setting, whenever appropriate, a reasonable time-limit, and after such warning has remained unheeded."
According to the Commentary on the Additional Protocols,
"the term 'medical units' is a generic term covering both permanent units, which stay where they are (hospitals, laboratories, equipment depots, etc.), and mobile medical units, which may be moved as required (field hospitals, first aid posts, ambulances, etc.). The term 'medical transports' means any land vehicle (cars, trucks, trains, etc.), ship, craft or aircraft assigned to transporting the wounded, sick, and shipwrecked, medical and religious personnel, and medical equipment." 26
26 Commentary on the Additional Protocols, Protocol II, Art. 11, p. 1433.
Since protection ceases if the medical units and means of transport are used for hostile acts, the health-care personnel must apply the rules very strictly.