Traités, États parties et Commentaires
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Commentaire of 2016 
Article 21 : Discontinuance of protection of medical units and establishments
Text of the provision
The protection to which fixed establishments and mobile medical units of the Medical Service are entitled shall not cease unless they are used to commit, outside their humanitarian duties, acts harmful to the enemy. Protection may, however, cease only after a due warning has been given, naming, in all appropriate cases, a reasonable time limit and after such warning has remained unheeded.
Reservations or declarations
None
Contents

  • A. Introduction
  • B. Historical background
  • C. Discussion
  • Select bibliography
    A. Introduction
    1837  Article 21 lays down the conditions under which military medical establishments and units covered by Article 19 of the First Convention[1] lose their protection, i.e. if they are ‘used to commit, outside their humanitarian duties, acts harmful to the enemy’. It also regulates the stringent criteria that must be met before such a loss of protection becomes effective: a warning which provides, in all appropriate cases, a reasonable time limit has to be given. Protection ceases only ‘after such a warning has remained unheeded’. These specific conditions are reiterated in several provisions of the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols.[2] The requirement of a warning, coupled with an appropriate time limit, sets a higher threshold for the loss of protection of these specifically protected objects than that governing civilian objects under general protection.[3]
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    B. Historical background
    1838  As early as 1906, the Geneva Convention provided that the protection of ‘sanitary formations’ and establishments ceases if they are used to commit ‘acts injurious to the enemy’.[4] The 1929 Geneva Convention introduced a minor change to this wording by using the term ‘acts harmful to the enemy’ for the first time in international treaty law.[5] The same formulation also appears in the provision under discussion here, with the addition of ‘outside their humanitarian duties’.
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    C. Discussion
    1. Acts harmful to the enemy, outside their humanitarian duties
    1839  Article 21 specifies that the protection of military medical establishments and units may not cease ‘unless they are used to commit, outside their humanitarian duties, acts harmful to the enemy’ (emphasis added). The wording makes it clear that this is the sole criterion by which military medical establishments or units may lose protection. From a humanitarian perspective, both the word ‘unless’ and the addition of ‘outside their humanitarian duties’ constitute important safeguards in view of the adverse consequences for the wounded and sick that such a loss of protection would entail.
    1840  The formulations ‘acts harmful to the enemy’ and ‘outside their humanitarian duties’ are not defined in the Convention. The preparatory work shows that there was a controversy over whether to adopt the concept of ‘acts harmful to the enemy’ or that of ‘acts incompatible with their humanitarian duties’. Therefore, these two notions were initially perceived to be alternatives.[6] While the ICRC expressed its preference for ‘acts harmful to the enemy’ over ‘acts incompatible with their humanitarian duties’, it prepared an alternative proposal in case the wording ‘acts harmful to the enemy’ did not meet with States’ approval at the 1949 Diplomatic Conference. This proposal read in part as follows: ‘acts the purpose or effect of which is to harm the adverse Party, by facilitating or impeding military operations’.[7] In the end, the Drafting Committee at the 1949 Diplomatic Conference decided, as a compromise, to combine the two formulations ‘acts harmful to the enemy’ and ‘acts incompatible with their humanitarian function’, rather than deciding in favour of one or the other or providing a definition of acts leading to a loss of protection, as in the above ICRC proposal.[8] Therefore, both the wording and the preparatory work make it clear that acts must fulfil the two cumulative criteria of being harmful to the enemy and being committed outside their humanitarian duties for a military medical establishment or unit to lose its protection.
    1841  Notwithstanding the lack of an agreed definition of ‘acts harmful to the enemy’, the rationale for a loss of protection is clear. Military medical establishments and units enjoy protection because of their function of providing care for the wounded and sick. When they are used, outside their function, to interfere, directly or indirectly, in military operations and thereby cause harm to the enemy, the rationale for their specific protection is removed. Furthermore, an act harmful to the enemy, which may render a military medical establishment or unit liable to attack, may seriously endanger the wounded and sick entrusted to its care.[9] Lastly, such an act may also engender distrust of the work of military medical establishments or units in other cases, and thus may lessen the protective value of the Convention in general.
    1842  Any use by a Party to the conflict of military medical establishments or units for military purposes may be considered an ‘act harmful to the enemy’.[10] Examples of such use include firing at the enemy for reasons other than individual self-defence, installing a firing position in a medical post,[11] the use of a hospital as a shelter for able-bodied combatants,[12] as an arms or ammunition dump,[13] or as a military observation post,[14] or the placing of a medical unit in proximity to a military objective with the intention of shielding it from the enemy’s military operations.[15] Furthermore, scenarios that are recognized as being ‘acts harmful to the enemy’ in the context of hospital ships under the Second Convention (transmitting information of military value) and of civilian hospitals under the Fourth Convention (use of a civilian hospital as a centre for liaison with fighting troops) may also constitute ‘acts harmful to the enemy’ in the context of military medical establishments and units under the First Convention. Engaging in such acts may not only lead to a loss of protection, but may also qualify, where the establishments and units were displaying the distinctive emblems, as improper use of the emblems or as the war crime of perfidy, if done in order to kill or injure an enemy combatant.[16]
    1843  In contrast to the provisions of the Second Convention relating to hospital ships, the First Convention does not contain any prescriptions for how military medical establishments or units must communicate with other departments of the armed forces. This issue arises in connection with the use of ‘encrypted communications’, i.e. communication in a form that is unintelligible to the enemy, which is expressly prohibited for hospital ships under the Second Convention.[17] Where such encrypted communications are used, the enemy might not have the means to verify whether the encrypted data contain only medical information, or whether it is used for transmitting information of military value. Thus, there is the potential for abuse. On the other hand, encryption may protect the confidentiality of medical data and may thereby serve a humanitarian purpose. For this reason, the use of encrypted information per se would not necessarily lead to the conclusion that an ‘act harmful to the enemy’ has been committed. Without being legally obliged to do so, a Party to an armed conflict may decide that (at least part of) the communications of a military medical establishment be transmitted via an unencrypted channel, to allow the adverse Party to verify that the establishment is not being used to commit acts harmful to the enemy.
    1844  The wording ‘outside their humanitarian duties’, as an additional requirement for concluding that ‘acts harmful to the enemy’ have been committed, serves to prevent an overly broad understanding of such acts. Even if a particular type of conduct may appear to constitute an ‘act harmful to the enemy’, it will still not result in a loss of protection where it remains within the humanitarian duties of the military establishment or unit. One scenario might occur where a mobile medical unit accidentally breaks down while it is being moved in accordance with its humanitarian function and thereby obstructs a crossroads of military importance. More generally, as mobile medical units will need to be able to move near the front line, this additional caveat would preclude their mere presence on or close to the battlefield from being interpreted as an ‘act harmful to the enemy’. In interpreting the present provision, one must bear in mind that it is based on humanitarian considerations. Therefore, in case of doubt as to whether a particular type of conduct amounts to an ‘act harmful to the enemy’, it should not be considered as such.
    1845  Hence, the conditions entailing a loss of protection under the First Convention must be interpreted strictly. The examples of ‘acts harmful to the enemy’ must be read together with the non-exhaustive list of conditions in Article 22 of the Convention that are not to be considered such acts. Thus, Article 22 provides further guidance to prevent too broad an understanding of the term ‘acts harmful to the enemy’.
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    2. Warning and time limit
    1846  The requirement that protection may cease ‘only after a due warning has been given, naming, in all appropriate cases, a reasonable time limit and after such warning has remained unheeded’ was introduced by the 1949 Geneva Conventions.[18] These conditions highlight the specific protection to which medical establishments and units are entitled, as compared with the general protection enjoyed by civilian objects under Additional Protocol I and customary international law.[19]
    1847  In the first place, loss of protection does not necessarily mean that the establishment will be attacked, in that it also includes the possibility that its functioning may be interfered with. This follows from the basic obligation to respect and protect military medical establishments and units, which also requires Parties to the conflict to do more than merely refrain from attacking them.[20] The question of whether such an establishment or unit may be the object of an attack in turn depends on it fulfilling the criteria for qualifying as a ‘military objective’. In practice, however, it is hard to conceive of circumstances in which the commission of an ‘act harmful to the enemy’ would not transform the facility in question into a military objective.
    1848  Second, the stipulation that protection may cease ‘only after a due warning has been given’ establishes that such a warning must be issued even where an ‘act harmful to the enemy, outside their humanitarian function’ has occurred. The wording indicates a strict interpretation of the ‘due warning’ requirement which is not subject to the caveat ‘in all appropriate cases’, as this comes after the further requirement of naming a reasonable time limit.[21] However, certain States are explicit in recognizing that there may be situations where a warning is not ‘due’ owing to overriding military necessity or the exercise of the right of combatants’ self-defence, such as may occur when combatants approaching a military medical establishment or unit come under fire from persons inside it.[22]
    1849  The purpose of issuing a warning is to allow those committing an ‘act harmful to the enemy’ to terminate such act, or – if they persist – to ultimately allow for safe evacuation of the wounded and sick who are not responsible for such conduct and who should not become the victims of it. Against that background, a decision to dispense with the warning requirement must be taken with extreme caution, giving due consideration to the risk that this entails for wounded and sick people. Such a decision can only be allowed on an exceptional basis, in the extreme circumstances of an immediate threat to the lives of advancing combatants, where it is clear that a warning would not be complied with.
    1850  Article 21 does not specify what is meant by a ‘due warning’, including what form it must take. The absence of a further definition of this concept has the advantage of allowing a determination to be made about how to implement this requirement in the light of concrete circumstances and the technologies available. The warning may take various forms. In many cases, it could simply consist of an order, transmitted on the spot, to cease the harmful act within a specified period. In other instances, it could also consist of an email addressed to the military authorities in charge of the establishment or unit, a radio message or a press release.[23] Whatever the method selected, it must reach those committing an ‘act harmful to the enemy’ in order to achieve the purpose of the warning, i.e. to allow for termination of the act or, failing that, the safe evacuation of the wounded and sick.
    1851  In contrast to the warning requirement, the formulation ‘reasonable time limit’ is subject to the caveat ‘in all appropriate cases’. In the original draft submitted to the 1949 Diplomatic Conference, this condition was not included. However, it was inserted, following one delegation’s proposal to delete the requirement of naming a time limit, because of the concern that it would not always be feasible to grant such a time limit.[24] The example repeatedly given was the same scenario described above, i.e. a number of troops approaching a hospital being met by heavy fire from every window. In such a case, after the issuance of a warning, fire could be returned without delay. In other words, it is uncontroversial to dispense with the requirement of setting a time limit in cases where an imminent and severe threat emanates from a military medical establishment or unit that is used for committing an act harmful to the enemy, outside its humanitarian duties.
    1852  In cases where it is appropriate to issue a time limit, Article 21, rather than laying down a precise deadline, states that that limit must be ‘reasonable’. While thus allowing for sufficient flexibility to accommodate specific circumstances, the time limit must be long enough to achieve the purpose of a warning. The time limit should also allow those in charge of the military medical establishment or unit enough time to reply to the accusations that have been made.
    1853  In accordance with Article 21, the loss of specific protection of military medical establishments or units will only become effective when the warning that protection will cease ‘has remained unheeded’, i.e. where the act harmful to the enemy is not terminated. Obviously, where the warning has been heeded, the military medical establishment or unit remains protected and the enemy may not take any adverse measure against it that it would otherwise be entitled to take had the loss of protection become effective. Thus, any adverse measure, including an attack directed against the establishment or unit, is unlawful when those committing the act harmful to the enemy ceased doing so after the warning.
    1854  Where such a warning has remained unheeded, the enemy is no longer obliged to refrain from interfering with the work of a medical establishment or unit, or to take positive measures to assist it in its work. Even then humanitarian considerations relating to the welfare of the wounded and sick being cared for in the facility may not be disregarded. This is evident from the fundamental obligation – one not based on reciprocity – to respect and protect the wounded and sick in all circumstances. Wounded and sick persons must be spared and, as far as possible, active measures for their safety taken, including in the conduct of hostilities.[25] The same conclusion can be drawn from the general rules on the conduct of hostilities that apply to attacks on any military objective, including attacks on a military medical establishment or unit that has forfeited its protection, notably the rule on proportionality and the obligation to take all feasible precautions to avoid or at least minimize incidental loss of life of, and injury to, the wounded and sick.[26]
    1855  A loss of specific protection means that a military medical establishment or unit will also become liable to attack, once it fulfils the criteria for being qualified as a military objective, which will, as stated earlier, often likely be the case.[27] The above-mentioned restraints for the benefit of the wounded and sick will nonetheless apply.
    1856  The stipulation in Article 21 that protection will ‘cease’, without any further qualification, appears to suggest that once protection is lost, it cannot be regained for the duration of hostilities. However, this conclusion might be unjustified, given the purpose of a loss of specific protection, especially where a single ‘act harmful to the enemy’ does not produce any further harmful consequences for the enemy that would render an attack necessary. Moreover, for protection to be regained after the harmful consequences of an ‘act harmful to the enemy’ have ceased might be deemed desirable from the point of view of the wounded and sick, who once again could benefit from an unhindered provision of medical care. Neither the preparatory work nor subsequent State practice in the interpretation of this provision allow definite conclusions to be drawn on this question.[28]
    1857  One argument in favour of a temporary rather than a permanent loss of specific protection is that the status of an object during hostilities may change from a civilian object to a military objective, depending on the circumstances prevailing at a given time. Therefore, an object, including a military medical establishment or unit, which at the outset is not a military objective, may become one for such time as the criteria of a ‘military objective’ are fulfilled. Subsequently, when these conditions no longer exist, it will cease being a ‘military objective’ and will again enjoy protection from attack.[29]
    1858  On the other hand, the enemy may normally assume that military medical establishments or units do not abuse their function, and on that basis must accord specific protection to them. In this regard, as has been noted, any ‘act harmful to the enemy’ engenders distrust and, consequently, may lessen the protective value of the Convention in general. In the context of discouraging the further commission of ‘acts harmful to the enemy’, a definitive loss of protection may be justified. Especially where such acts are not confined to isolated or sporadic incidents, but have been committed repeatedly, the enemy’s trust may not be easily regained.
    1859  Were one to accept the possibility of protection being regained in such cases, something more might be required to justify renewed protection than simply switching back to medical activities. For example, the military medical establishment or unit could reorganize or remove the persons who committed ‘acts harmful to the enemy’, thereby making the intention clear to the enemy that, in the future, the establishment or unit will again be exclusively dedicated to medical purposes.[30]
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    Select bibliography
    Haeck, Tom, ‘Loss of Protection’, in Andrew Clapham, Paola Gaeta and Marco Sassòli (eds), The 1949 Geneva Conventions: A Commentary, Oxford University Press, 2015, pp. 839–854.
    Henckaerts, Jean-Marie and Doswald-Beck, Louise, Customary International Humanitarian Law, Volume I: Rules, Cambridge University Press, 2005, Rule 28, pp. 91–97, available at https://www.icrc.org/customary-ihl/eng/docs/v1.
    Kleffner, Jann K., ‘Protection of the Wounded, Sick, and Shipwrecked’, in Dieter Fleck (ed.), The Handbook of International Humanitarian Law, 3rd edition, Oxford University Press, 2013, pp. 321–357.
    Principe, Philip R., ‘Secret Codes, Military Hospitals, and the Law of Armed Conflict: Could Military Medical Facilities’ Use of Encrypted Communications Subject Them to Attack Under International Law?’, University of Arkansas at Little Rock Law Review, Vol. 24, 2002, pp. 727–750.
    Smith, Michael Sean, The Protection of Medical Units Under the Geneva Conventions in the Contemporary Operating Environment, thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Military Art and Science, US Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, 2008, http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a501873.pdf.

    1 - Article 19 also covers medical establishments and units of National Societies and other voluntary aid societies auxiliary to or assisting the military medical services, to the extent that they fulfil the conditions of Articles 26 or 27 of the First Convention. See the commentary on Article 19, para. 1783.
    2 - See Second Convention, Article 34; Fourth Convention, Article 19; Additional Protocol I, Articles 13 and 65; and Additional Protocol II, Article 11(2). Article 13(1) of Additional Protocol I and Article 11(2) of Additional Protocol II speak of ‘humanitarian function’ instead of ‘humanitarian duties’, while Article 11(2) of Additional Protocol II speaks of ‘hostile acts’ instead of ‘acts harmful to the enemy’. These terminological differences have no substantive implications. On the applicability of these criteria with regard to medical personnel, see the commentary on Article 24, section F. That these conditions also apply to medical transports is evident from the fact that their protection is expressly the same as that of mobile medical units. See Article 35 of the First Convention and Article 21 of Additional Protocol I. Therefore, the rules regarding their loss of protection are also the same.
    3 - On the general protection of civilian objects, see the commentary on Article 52 of Additional Protocol I.
    4 - Geneva Convention (1906), Article 7.
    5 - Geneva Convention on the Wounded and Sick (1929), Article 7.
    6 - Originally, the draft text of the Convention submitted to the 1949 Diplomatic Conference, which had resulted from the 1948 International Conference of the Red Cross in Stockholm, had replaced the notion of ‘acts harmful to the enemy’, proposed in a draft text prepared for that conference, with ‘acts incompatible with their humanitarian duties’; see Draft Conventions adopted by the 1948 Stockholm Conference, draft article 16, p. 15. However, at the 1949 Diplomatic Conference, the United Kingdom proposed an amendment, namely to revert to the wording ‘acts harmful to the enemy’; see Final Record of the Diplomatic Conference of Geneva of 1949, Vol. II-A, p. 58.
    7 - For the text of this proposal, see ICRC Remarks and Proposals on the 1948 Stockholm Draft, p. 12. This definition is furthermore referred to in Belgium, Law of Armed Conflict Training Manual, 2009, Course V, p. 16, and United States, Army Health System, 2013, para. 3-26.
    8 - See Final Record of the Diplomatic Conference of Geneva of 1949, Vol. II-A, p. 132.
    9 - Even in such a case, however, the enemy must take all feasible precautions to avoid or minimize incidental loss of life of, or injury to, wounded and sick within the military medical establishment or unit that has lost its protection. See para. 1854.
    10 - The practice of a number of States supports this broad understanding. See e.g. Cameroon, Disciplinary Regulations, 2007, Article 31 (‘It is evidently necessary that structures and buildings are not being used for military purposes’); Ecuador, Naval Manual, 1989, para. 8.5.1.4 (‘If medical facilities are used for military purposes inconsistent with their humanitarian mission, and if appropriate warnings that continuation of such use will result in loss of protected status are unheeded, the facilities become subject to attack’); and United States, Naval Handbook, 2007, para. 8.9.1.4 (‘If medical facilities are used for military purposes inconsistent with their humanitarian mission, and if appropriate warnings that continuation of such use will result in loss of protected status are unheeded, the facilities become subject to attack.’).
    11 - See Switzerland, Basic Military Manual, 1987, Article 83. The issue of arming military medical establishments or units is dealt with in greater detail in the commentary on Article 22, section C.
    12 - See e.g. Netherlands, Military Handbook, 2003, p. 7-44; Switzerland, Basic Military Manual, 1987, Article 83; and United States, Law of War Manual, 2015, para. 7.10.3.1.
    13 - See e.g. South Africa, LOAC Manual, 1996, Appendix A, Chapter 4, para. 59; Switzerland, Basic Military Manual, 1987, Article 83; and United States, Law of War Manual, 2015, para. 7.10.3.1.
    14 - See e.g. Switzerland, Basic Military Manual, 1987, Article 83, and United States, Air Force Pamphlet, 1976, para. 3-2(d).
    15 - See e.g. Belgium, Law of Armed Conflict Training Manual, 2009, Course V, p. 16, and Peru, IHL Manual, 2004, Chapter V, para. 88(b)(2).
    16 - Article 38 of Additional Protocol I prohibits any improper use of the emblems. In addition, the perfidious use, in violation of Article 37 of Additional Protocol I, of one of the distinctive emblems or protective signs recognized by the Conventions or by that Protocol amounts to a grave breach, in accordance with Article 85(3)(f) of Additional Protocol I. See also ICRC Study on Customary International Humanitarian Law (2005), Rules 59 and 65. In addition, under the 1998 ICC Statute, making improper use of the distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions, resulting in death or serious injury, is also a war crime in international armed conflict (Article 8(2)(b)(vii)), and treacherously killing or wounding individuals belonging to the hostile nation/army/adversary is a war crime in both international and non-international armed conflict (Article 8(2)(b)(xi) and (e)(ix), respectively).
    17 - Article 34(2) of the Second Convention states: ‘In particular, hospital ships may not possess or use a secret code for their wireless or other means of communication.’ See the commentary on that article for how this prohibition is interpreted today.
    18 - The same requirements are stated in Article 34 of the Second Convention for hospital ships, Article 19 of the Fourth Convention for civilian hospitals, Article 13(1) of Additional Protocol I for civilian medical units, and Article 11(2) of Additional Protocol II for medical units and transports.
    19 - See Additional Protocol I, Articles 48–58, and ICRC Study on Customary International Humanitarian Law (2005), Rules 1–24.
    20 - On the meaning of the obligation to respect and protect military medical establishments and units, see the commentary on Article 19, section C.2.
    21 - In contrast, Article 57(2)(c) of Additional Protocol I provides, with respect to the general precautionary obligations regarding civilians, that ‘effective advance warning shall be given of attacks which may affect the civilian population, unless circumstances do not permit’, thereby generally subjecting the warning requirement to the caveat ‘unless circumstances do not permit’. This would, in particular, allow combatants to dispense with a warning where surprise is of the essence in an attack.
    22 - See e.g. Australia, Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, 2006, para. 9.69 (‘Military medical personnel, facilities and equipment are also entitled to general protection under the Geneva Conventions. However, they may lose this protection if they engage in acts harmful to the enemy. Before the protection of medical personnel and facilities is lost, a warning will normally be provided and reasonable time allowed to permit cessation of improper activities. In extreme cases, overriding military necessity may preclude such a warning.’). See also the decision of the Israeli Supreme Court sitting as the High Court of Justice in Physicians for Human Rights v. Commander of the IDF Forces in the West Bank, Judgment, 2002, which states that: The instructions which are to be given to soldiers should deal with, among other things, the reasonable and fair warnings which should be given to medical teams. These guidelines should be subject to the circumstances, and should be carried out by the IDF in a way that balances the threat of Palestinian fighters camouflaged as medical teams against the legal and moral obligation to uphold humanitarian rules regarding the treatment of the sick and wounded. Such a balance should take into consideration, among other things, the imminence and severity of any threat. Further, see United States, Law of Armed Conflict Deskbook, 2012, p. 146, which states: ‘When receiving fire from a hospital, there is no duty to warn before returning fire in self-defense’. It goes on to cite US battlefield practice in Grenada and Operation Iraqi Freedom in this regard. See also United States, Law of War Manual, 2015, para. 7.10.3.2.
    23 - See e.g. Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare (2013), Rule 73, para. 5, p. 210.
    24 - See Final Record of the Diplomatic Conference of Geneva of 1949, Vol. II-A, pp. 58 and 193.
    25 - See, for further details, the commentary on Article 12, section E. See also Peru, IHL Manual, 2004, Chapter V, para. 88(b)(2), which states explicitly that, in the context of an attack as a result of a loss of protection of a medical unit, ‘[i]n any event, an attempt must be made to protect the wounded and sick’.
    26 - See Laurent Gisel, ‘Can the incidental killing of military doctors never be excessive?’, International Review of the Red Cross, Vol. 95, No. 889, March 2013, pp. 215–230. See also Alexandra Boivin, ‘The Legal Regime Applicable to Targeting Military Objectives in the Context of Contemporary Warfare’, Research Paper Series, No. 2, University Centre for International Humanitarian Law, Geneva, 2006, p. 56, and Kleffner, p. 344.
    27 - See para. 1847. Furthermore, the relevance of the general definition of ‘military objective’ for attacks on civilian hospitals that have lost their specific protection is apparent from Article 8(2)(b)(ix) and (e)(iv) of the 1998 ICC Statute, which characterizes as a war crime ‘intentionally directing attacks against … hospitals and places where the sick and wounded are collected, provided they are not military objectives’ (emphasis added). This in turn is based on Article 27 of the Hague Convention (IV), which states: ‘In … bombardments all necessary steps must be taken to spare, as far as possible, … hospitals, and places where the sick and wounded are collected, provided they are not being used at the time for military purposes.’ See also Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare (2013), p. 209.
    28 - But see the following statement of one delegation, in the context of a debate on whether it would be appropriate for a time limit to accompany a warning when there is a loss of specific protection: ‘… such acts destroy ipso facto all entitlement to protection’; Minutes of the Diplomatic Conference of Geneva of 1949, p. 43. It is also noted here that, in the case of civil defence buildings which also lose protection when ‘acts harmful to the enemy’ are committed, the agreed interpretation at the Diplomatic Conference leading to the adoption of the Additional Protocols was that such loss of protection would be final. See Michael Bothe, Karl Josef Partsch and Waldemar A. Solf, New Rules for Victims of Armed Conflicts: Commentary on the Two 1977 Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, The Hague, 1982, Vol. 2, p. 412.
    29 - See the commentary on Article 19 of the Fourth Convention, and especially the ICTY jurisprudence quoted in it. See also Haeck, p. 847.
    30 - For a similar case involving civil defence personnel, see Michael Bothe, Karl Josef Partsch and Waldemar A. Solf, New Rules for Victims of Armed Conflicts: Commentary on the Two 1977 Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, Vol. 2, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, The Hague, 1982, p. 413.