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InProgress

geneva convention

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I did not really know where to put this topic, but i need some help with it, especially from someone who is or was a soldier, preferably a medic.

 

It's my last year of college and i have to write bachelor thesis. I decieded to write about combat medicine. And one of the chapters is focused on geneva convention.

And i have a little problem here, it says about neutrality of hospitals and personel but is a combat medic with a weapon protected by geneva convention? To be honest i did not find anything like this in geneva convention (have not read all of them yet), but as far as i see, the first one from 1864 is the one that talks about medical personel and it focused on hospital, doctors or nurses but nothing about soldiers with guns and red cross armband. I assume in ww2 these medics did not use guns (pistol for protection) but mostly did not fight. So they were considered and medical personel for transport purpose.

 

It's more detailed in 1949 one, but the ones created before ww2 are pretty basic. 1949 one gives a lot of details considering combat medics.

 

My main questions would be, GC from 1949 is the one we are using now (+additional protocols from 1977 and 2005)? Older ones are no longer respected?

How does it looks like in usa now?

hires_150116-A-EM105-179B.jpg

 

While vehicles are marked with red cross(transport of wounded, protected by GC),  i never seen soldiers using it. Is it because they ARE soldiers and no longer non combatants trained to be field medic. So they have no rights to use red cross? And because of it they can become POW and aren't protected by GC when it comes to medical personel?

 

btw. I really like that part in 1864 one, where POW can be send home if they never fight again during current war. Nice rules, shame no one would respect that.

Edited by InProgress

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I don't know any specific laws but combat medics have to mix (obviously) with normal soldiers thus marking them with red crosses will not work. Could endanger the whole group, even.

Edited by Ehret

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Just redefine legal status of the enemy, in order to circumvent international law and call the enemy anything but soldier f.g.: "terrorist", "hostile armed forces" etc..
In case of doubt red crosses are said to be used to provide human shields for the villains and thus can be ignored.

Edited by [DBS]El_Marta

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3 hours ago, InProgress said:

While vehicles are marked with red cross(transport of wounded, protected by GC),  i never seen soldiers using it. Is it because they ARE soldiers and no longer non combatants trained to be field medic. So they have no rights to use red cross? And because of it they can become POW and aren't protected by GC when it comes to medical personel?

 

Medics are still trained, by definition, to be medics. That's not changed, and they're still covered by the Geneva Convention. As to why the armband isn't used as much - it makes them a much more obvious target. 

 

US Army medic, 2003 - 2008

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1 hour ago, LukeFF said:

 

Medics are still trained, by definition, to be medics. That's not changed, and they're still covered by the Geneva Convention. As to why the armband isn't used as much - it makes them a much more obvious target. 

 

US Army medic, 2003 - 2008

 

So it's personal choice of medics not to wear it or it was an order that everyone in usa military must obey? Also was it just for Iraq, Afghanistan etc where you fight terrorists and not regular army that must follow Geneva convention and not target medics. In case of war with for example canada 😛 you would wear red cross again?

 

And how does it work with weapons, medic had normal equipment in usa, main gun and side arm. You can have these and still will be protected as long as you are not using it in aggressive way (not in self defence)?

 

Btw. Why every topic is going off tracks ;| I need info about Geneva convention not war crimes.

 

 

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34 minutes ago, InProgress said:

And how does it work with weapons, medic had normal equipment in usa, main gun and side arm. You can have these and still will be protected as long as you are not using it in aggressive way (not in self defence)?

 

Under combat duress no one will care or be able to distinguish such details.

edit: Well, it's possible but still... it'd very hard that under high stress and adrenaline effects, one could reliably avoid mistakes.

Edited by Ehret

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The point of the Red Cross is to be distinctive: GC cannot protect anyone unless it is clear who is a medic, and no-one is checking ID cards before opening fire.  But if you are fighting people who have no intention of respecting the GC then making medics distinctive just makes them stand out a a target.

 

Medics are allowed to be armed and there is no specific limitation on the type of weapon to be carried, only that they are to be used only in self defence and to defend wounded men in the medic's care if they are attacked.  

 

Contrary to Ehret's statement, in WW2 at least in the west, the red cross was respected and medics not targeted as a rule, although you will always be able to find some exceptions. 

icrc-002-0173.zip

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Hi all,

 

Please keep it to what Inprogress need for his bachelor tesis, some answers about the GC and thats it.

 

My understanding is that they are indeed covered by GC. Spanish army use the armband for all medical personal as far as I know since we mostly participate in humanitarian UN missions. Also not only Red Cross is covered but also the Red Crescent (people seems to forget they exists as well)

 

All other discussion about if GC is/was respected wont take place here.

 

Haash

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Hi all, US military 1981-2001, combat vet. yes the Red cross and Crescent are the 2 recognized by the GC. A Potential target, building, tent, vehicle or person marked with a Red Cross is protected by the GC and must by left alone. If you place a AAA cannon on the top of or beside a marked building (hospital) then the hospital losses it's protection under the GC.

 

In the case of medics they are allowed side arms for reasons given above. If they carry a primary infantry weapon (rifle) they lose their protection.

 

Now you must also take into account who you are fighting. If your enemy has not sighed the GC then don't expect any protection.

 

Yes today in the US military the medics can and do carry assault rifles, but the USA has not fought a war with a GC member since WWII.

 

The only reason to mark your Hospitals and medics right now is so your wounded know where to go.

 

Parole was the norm for POWs since well before Napoleon and lasting into the 1880s. Little known item: Col. Robert E. Lee was captured and paroled after he swore to never fight against the confederacy.

 

Good luck with the thesis:salute:

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apologies in advance but talking to a few vets I know well the GC only comes into effect where applicable.

 

this has been from verified chaps who without a shadow of a doubt have been in theatre X or Y.

 

in the heat of combat often it seems all bets are off whereas PoWs are treated well if a little roughly depending on their background/behaviour.

 

I apologise for my vagueness and can understand if my tales are seen as apocryphal.

 

I don't feel I can go into too much detail but right or wrong there can be huge shades of grey as well as massive infractions which in a said scenario may well break a ROE/convention but in the time and context can be "justified".

 

I'm all about the GC and ROE and general humanity and fairness but humanity is fluid and isn't always fair or indeed "right"

 

again, apologies if I'm out of order. I mean no offence.

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2 hours ago, Ghost666 said:

 

 

In the case of medics they are allowed side arms for reasons given above. If they carry a primary infantry weapon (rifle) they lose their protection.

 

 

Not strictly true.  The GCs say that medical personnel may be armed and place no restriction on what those arms should be, only on how they can be used.

 

As a matter of policy an army medical branch may choose not to issue rifles, or advise medics not to carry them, perhaps because they are too cumbersome or thinking that they make the bearer more likely to be shot even if his armband is clearly visible: but the right to protection under the GCs are unaffected.  At some point arming a medical unit heavily could be considered to be an act harmful to the enemy, in which case the whole unit would lose it's protection, but on an individual basis there is no specific prohibition in the texts.

 

 

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11 hours ago, Ghost666 said:

Hi all, US military 1981-2001, combat vet. yes the Red cross and Crescent are the 2 recognized by the GC. A Potential target, building, tent, vehicle or person marked with a Red Cross is protected by the GC and must by left alone. If you place a AAA cannon on the top of or beside a marked building (hospital) then the hospital losses it's protection under the GC.

 

In the case of medics they are allowed side arms for reasons given above. If they carry a primary infantry weapon (rifle) they lose their protection.

 

Now you must also take into account who you are fighting. If your enemy has not sighed the GC then don't expect any protection.

 

Yes today in the US military the medics can and do carry assault rifles, but the USA has not fought a war with a GC member since WWII.

 

The only reason to mark your Hospitals and medics right now is so your wounded know where to go.

 

Parole was the norm for POWs since well before Napoleon and lasting into the 1880s. Little known item: Col. Robert E. Lee was captured and paroled after he swore to never fight against the confederacy.

 

Good luck with the thesis:salute:

That's a lot of good info, thanks. Law is law, it's quite complicated :P so to my understanding, todays wars are fought vs terrorists, rebels etc. So there is no GC that would reallly protect regular army, this is why medics use rifles and don't wear red cross? I  know it may be hard to answer since ww2 there was not war like this i think, but future war between 2 countries that respect GC would bring red cross  markings back and medics turn into not armed personel (apart from side arm)?

 

I still have one question about red cross vehicles, on that picture you can see big red cross.

In First GC from 1949, article 22, we can read that hospital wont lose protection if it's protected by armed personel  and   if this personel  is not armed it can be protected by picket, convoy or guards. So protection only goes to infantry formations without heavy weapons? I don't really see anything about  what kind of guns cannot be used, like that AAA gun on the roof. It says that you cant harm enemy.

 

"The protection to which fixed establishments and mobile medical units of the Medical Service are entitled shall not cease unless they are used to commit, outside their humanitarian duties, acts harmful to the enemy. Protection may, however, cease only after a due warning has been given, naming, in all appropriate cases, a reasonable time limit and after such warning has remained unheeded." Article 21

 

So having AAA gun on the roof should not be a problem unless you fire it at passing planes, but it would be ok if bomb would fall on hospital and then it would start fireing. At least how i understand it.

 

Same goes to transport vehicles. If you were in Iraq of Afghan, i am sure you saw these medevac cars, these can be protected by another mobile units (humvies) on the way to hospital

and still keep protected status? Because like i said before,  article 22 says that guards, pickete or CONVOY can be used to protect mobile  or established medical units if they are unarmed. (i  guess you need lawyer  for that lol) now would they lose protection if medical personel is armed with side arms and had convoy to protect them?

 

It's kind of hard to understand, article 21 tells us that protection can be stopped only if you use something in harm way to the enemy but next article tells you that medical personel can be armed and use weapons for  self protection. But it does not tell  you which weapon, it can be rifle, it can be tank :P I think the most important point is not to use something to harm enemy, and as long as you dont do it, you should be protected. So even medic with rifle should be ok. Tho it may look dangerous in heat of  battle where you don't have time to think and would just shoot him because he has big gun in his hands. Even tho it was legal for him to do. You can use pistol to protect yourself or ak47, should not make much of a difference.

Edited by InProgress

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10 hours ago, Mastermariner said:

Doesn't it takes a declaration of war to get these rules into play? 

 

Nope

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