Treaties, States Parties and Commentaries
Treaties and Documents
Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Additional Protocols, and their Commentaries
Historical Treaties and Documents
Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949.
. -- RESPECT FOR 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.
This traditional wording creates positive obligations of wider implication than a mere prohibition of attack. 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 for the welfare of persons residing in the zone. This responsibility also falls on the Power establishing the zone (2).
Notes: (1) [(2) p.638] Article 11 of the draft submitted to the
XVIIth International Red Cross Conference included a
second paragraph, according to which enemy forces which
reached a zone could cross it without halting in it. The
paragraph has now been dropped;