IRRC No. 272

Protection of the red cross and red crescent emblems and the repression of misuse

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A certain State-recognized civilian hospital employed two kinds of doctors who appeared on its staff lists: full-time doctors, and part-time doctors used to reinforce its medical team during an armed conflict with a neighbouring country. Some weeks later the country was occupied by the enemy. Two part-time doctors on their way home in a private car marked with a red cross for protective purposes were stopped by a police patrol, which seized the car and confiscated the doctors' identifying armlets. This was done on the grounds that improper use was being made of the Red Cross emblem as a protective device, contrary to Articles 24, 25, 26 and 44 of the First Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949 for the amelioration of the condition of the wounded and sick in armed forces in the field, and Articles 20 and 21 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949 relative to the protection of civilian persons in time of war.

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