Treaties, States Parties and Commentaries
Treaties and Documents
Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Additional Protocols, and their Commentaries
Historical Treaties and Documents
Convention (I) for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field. Geneva, 12 August 1949.
[p.422] ARTICLE 6
Hospital zones are intended to shelter categories of persons and things which are already protected under the Convention and consequently covered by the red cross emblem. It was therefore only reasonable to extend the use of the distinctive emblem to such zones (1). This principle, which has never been questioned, was already expressed in the original draft provisions.
However, since the use of the red cross emblem is expressly governed by the Geneva Convention and since a hospital zone may include a considerable amount of territory and a resident population, such an extension requires the formal agreement of the parties concerned. That is the purpose of the present Article of the Draft Agreement.
The first sentence makes the marking of zones compulsory. The second sentence makes illumination at night optional. The absence of any distinctive marking by night would undoubtedly expose the zone to risks; on the other hand, the illumination of certain parts of a territory may, as we know, provide enemy aircraft with landmarks which will assist them in attacking military objectives.
* (1) [(1) p.422] On the other hand, it was necessary to adopt
another solution in the case of safety zones, which are
intended to shelter certain elements of the civilian
population. See Article 6 of the Draft Agreement annexed
to the Fourth Convention of 1949;