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Eritrea/Ethiopia: ICRC urges respect for humanitarian law

12-05-2000 News Release 00/14

ICRC (Geneva) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), deeply concerned about the humanitarian implications of the resumption of fighting on the border between Eritrea and Ethiopia, reminds the parties of the applicability of the rules of international humanitarian law.

During the past two years thousands of soldiers have been wounded, killed or captured in this conflict. The provisions of the First Geneva Convention of 1949 require that all the wounded and sick without distinction be evacuated from the battlefield and be given appropriate medical care. Combatants killed in the fighting must be identified and afforded a decent burial, and their gravesites must be duly marked.

Prisoners of war and civilian internees must be treated in accordance with the provisions of the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions.

The belligerents are also duty bound to take all necessary steps to safeguard the civilian population from the dangers of military operations.

By virtue of the mandate entrusted to it by the Geneva Conventions, the ICRC stands ready to assist and protect the victims in accordance with the principles governing its neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian action.