|Manual on the Rights and Duties of Medical Personnel in Armed Conflicts (ICRC, 1982, 77 p.)|
|CHAPTER 2. DUTIES OF MEDICAL PERSONNEL|
Art. 8, P. I
Medical transportation means the conveyance by land, water or air of wounded, sick or shipwrecked persons, medical and religious personnel and medical material.
Medical transports cover any means of transport, military or civilian, permanent or temporary, assigned exclusively to medical transportation and under the control of a competent authority of a Party to a conflict.
Means of medical transport are:
- "permanent" when they are assigned exclusively to medical purposes for an indeterminate period;
- "temporary" when they are used exclusively for medical purposes for limited periods, during the whole of such periods.
Medical personnel would be failing in their duty, would expose themselves to sanctions and, above all, would be endangering the wounded for whom they are responsible, if they accepted not to fulfil the obligation of using those means of transport which were exclusively devoted to medical purposes.
5.2. Respect and protection.
Art. 19, 20, 21, 22, 35 & 36, G I;
Art. 22, 24, 25, 27, 28, 34, 35 & 39, G II;
Art. 21, 22, G IV;
Art. 11, P II;
Art. 12, 13, 21-31 P. I
Means of medical transport must be respected and protected. To respect them means not to attack them, not to damage them nor obstruct their passage, that is, to permit them to carry out the task to which they are assigned. To protect them implies an active attitude, designed to assure respect, which may entail, as the case may be, coming to their rescue from third parties or otherwise defending them.
The obligation to respect means of medical transport does not cease unless they are used to commit acts injurious to the enemy (such as transporting able-bodied soldiers or weapons, as referred to above).
So that belligerents should be able to fulfil their obligation to respect and protect means of medical transport, they must be able to recognize them. To make this possible, such means of transport must be identifiable. The basic device to this end is the distinctive emblem of the red cross or red crescent on a white ground. Emphasis should be laid on its visibility, and it must be as large as possible and be applied to all surfaces, so that it can be seen from all directions and from as far as possible.
Art. 41, 42, G I;
Art. 41-43, G II;
Art. 21, 22, G IV;
Art. 12, P. II;
Art. 18 & Annex, P. I
Modern military technique, whereby an objective may be fired at without its being visible, makes it necessary in addition to provide for supplementary means of identification. A technical annex to Protocol I provides for distinctive signals (light signals, radio signals and electronic means) which make it possible to adapt the means of identification to modern technique. Such supplementary means are particularly vital for medical aircraft.