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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.
The occupying State is required to respect hospital zones and to utilize them as such. This obligation is new. The 1938 Draft merely made the continued use of the zone optional: it was to continue in use as a hospital zone in the absence of notification to the contrary by the Occupying Power or opposition on the part of the dispossessed enemy. The first mention of an obligation was in the proposals submitted by the International Committee of the Red Cross to the Conference of Experts of 1947; the idea was maintained in the various drafts, and in the final text of 1949.
The Occupying Power may, however, modify the purpose to which the zones are put. The reference here is to persons admitted to the zones and sheltered there. The Occupying Power will be free to place its own wounded in a hospital zone, after making suitable arrangements for those who were there at the time of occupation. But it is not entitled to expel the local population.
The Draft does not say when the zones are to cease to exist as such. The prevailing opinion would appear to have been that this was a question for the establishing State to decide. (1) As obligations laid upon the establishing State are at the same time safeguards for the enemy, it would appear desirable for the Agreement to fix the conditions governing [p.429] liquidation, or, at least, that the utilization of the zone should be for a limited period, which could, if necessary, be extended.
* (1) [(1) p.428] See René CLEMENS, ' Le Projet de Monaco, '