Practice Relating to Rule 34. Journalists
France’s LOAC Manual (2001) quotes Article 4(A)(4) of the 1949 Geneva Convention III and Article 79(1) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I and adds:
In case of capture, journalists enjoy either the status of prisoners of war or that of civilian persons and the rights and protections attached thereto, depending on whether they are war correspondents or not. They must be able to prove their status.
In 2007, in response to a question in the Assemblée Nationale (lower house of parliament), France’s Minister of Foreign Affairs stated:
… war correspondents, special envoys, independent journalists are attacked more and more often when they are only doing their jobs. The year 2006 will have been the most murderous for journalists.
The violence of these attacks against journalists is all the more inacceptable as the freedom to work, the freedom of expression, and the freedom to inform are fundamental values of our Republic.
It was necessary to respond to these attacks and I would like to acknowledge two initiatives here.
First, the activities of Reporters Without Borders and of its president, Robert Menard, as well as their monitoring and mobilization capacity.
Second, the parliamentary information report that you have signed … and the proposal to present a resolution at the UN Security Council.
I have presented that resolution with my Greek colleague. That resolution – 1738 – was adopted unanimously by the Security Council in New York on 23 December. What does it say?
First of all, that crimes committed against journalists must be systematically investigated and that those responsible for these crimes must be punished.
Furthermore, that all States must accept the freedom and independence of the press.
But you are right, …, it is necessary to extend the resolution, so that the new entities, which are the International Criminal Court, the Human Rights Council, the Council of Europe and the OSCE can continue to contribute to the security and independence of journalists.