Misuse of Red Crescent symbol

[JURIST] US Central Command announced late Tuesday that US Marines had secured a hospital flying the Red Crescent flag "being used as a military staging area for Iraqi para-military forces":

The Marines had been fired at from the hospital the day before....Misuse of a protected symbol, such as a Red Cross emblem or the equivalent Red Crescent, is a violation of the Geneva Convention and may subject persons to prosecution as war criminals.
Read the complete text of the CENTCOM press release.

The Red Cross and Red Crescent symbols were given "protected" status under the First Geneva Convention [text] and can only be employed by medical personnel. Article 85 of the 1977 Additional Protocol 1 to the Geneva Conventions [text] further states:
3....[T]he following acts shall be regarded as grave breaches of this Protocol, when committed wilfully, in violation of the relevant provisions of this Protocol, and causing death or serious injury to body or health:...
(f) The perfidious use, in violation of Article 37, of the distinctive emblem of the red cross, red crescent or red lion and sun or of other protective signs recognized by the Conventions or this Protocol.
JURIST's Paper Chase has more on perfidy. For more information on law relating to the use and misuse of the Red Cross/Red Crescent emblems, see Protection of the red cross and red crescent emblems and the repression of misuse, a paper by University of Tunis law professor Habib Slim on the ICRC website. The ICRC also provides other papers and information on the general subject.

 

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