Practice Relating to Rule 25. Medical Personnel
Cameroon’s Disciplinary Regulations (1975) provides that, under the laws and customs of war, each soldier must respect medical personnel, “provided they wear the distinctive emblem and carry the special identity card defined by the Geneva Conventions”.
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (1992) considers both military and civilian medical personnel as specially protected persons.
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) states:
352.2 – Special Protection: (Persons and Objects Specially Protected.)
Certain categories of persons and objects benefit from special protection under the law of armed conflict and international humanitarian law, both in the civilian domain and in the military domain.
352.20. Military Medical Services
… Medical personnel are those assigned to medical units generally integrated in hospital zones and localities which are protected and can equally comprise safety zones and localities.
352.21 Civilian Medical Services
The legislation is identical to that regarding military medical services. Nonetheless, one of the following conditions must [also] be fulfilled:
- belonging to a party to the conflict;
- being recognized by a competent authority (of one of the parties to the conflict);
- being at the service of one of the parties to the conflict.
The manual also states:
Protection of Non-Combatants in Combat Zones
Medical and religious personnel must fulfil their tasks under the special protection of the belligerents; amongst other things, they must provide assistance in the various combat zones and when circumstances require.
1. Medical Personnel
Medical personnel must be respected and protected in order to be able to act in favour of the wounded. Since they exercise their medical activities in the interest of the wounded, they must be able to do so without any doubt or constraint.
The manual further states under the heading “Protection of Persons and Objects”:
3. Enemy Military Medical Personnel
Medical personnel of captured units and medical transports must be free to pursue their tasks in situations when the capturing force is not yet able to provide for the care for the wounded and sick in these units or transports.
The manual also provides under the heading “Protection in Case of Evacuation”:
d) Enemy Medical Military Personnel
The evacuation of enemy medical military personnel is to be carried out via a medical channel and only when those personnel are no longer needed by the wounded and shipwrecked. They may be called upon to carry out medical tasks during the evacuation.
The manual further provides under the heading “Enemy Medical Military Personnel”:
These personnel are not prisoners of war, but they benefit from all provisions of the Third Geneva Convention [1949 Geneva Convention III] regarding the treatment of prisoners of war.
But the temporary medical military personnel, being deployed to their missions, will be prisoners of war.
Cameroon’s Disciplinary Regulations (2007) states:
Article 31: Humanitarian rules
Every soldier must:
respect medical units, establishments and transports, hospital zones and localities, places where the wounded and sick, civilian or military, are collected, the emblems of the Red Cross, the Red Crescent and national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, which are protective signs as such, as well as medical personnel;
For the application of the rules addressed in the two preceding paragraphs,
the medical and religious personnel, apart from their distinctive emblem, must carry the special identity card defined by the Geneva Conventions.
These rules apply to the extent possible to operations undertaken by airplanes and navy ships against targets on land or at sea.
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (1992) states: “The weapons carried by medical personnel must be of such a nature as to avoid any confusion with combatants.”
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (2006), under the heading “Command Responsibility”, states: “The weapons of the medical personnel must be of a nature and proportion so as to avoid any confusion with the status of a combatant.”