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Convention (I) for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field. Geneva, 12 August 1949.
-- RESPECT OF THE ZONES
As a natural consequence of their being declared neutral, hospital zones must never be attacked. There is also a positive obligation; they are to be protected and respected by the belligerents at all times.
The authors have deliberately used the phrase ' protected and respected, ' which the Geneva Convention applies consistently to the persons, buildings and objects which it safeguards. The 1938 Draft referred expressly to the Convention, saying: "they shall be respected and protected in accordance with Article 6
of the Geneva Convention of 1929".
The traditional sense attaching to these two words creates positive obligations of wider implication than a mere prohibition of attack. (1) Protection must be extended, in particular, to the arrangements for supplying the zones and possibly also to the communications leading to them. In case of occupation, the enemy will, moreover, be responsible [p.428] for the welfare of persons residing in the zone. This responsibility also falls on the Power establishing the zone.
The corresponding Article in the draft submitted to the XVIIth International Red Cross Conference included a second paragraph, according to which, enemy forces reaching the outskirts of a zone could cross it without halting there. This provision has been dropped.
* (1) [(1) p.427] See above, page 196;