Practice Relating to Rule 27. Religious Personnel
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (1992) considers both military and civilian religious personnel as specially protected persons.
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) states:
541. 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.
2. Religious Personnel
[Special protection was initially] accorded to [just] military chaplains …, to religious personnel on hospital ships … and [to] religious personnel assigned to the spiritual service of the wounded, sick and shipwrecked (provided that such personnel had an official link with the armed forces …), and has [now] been extended to all civilian religious personnel.
The term religious personnel is understood to include personnel who are attached either to the armed forces of the parties to the armed conflict or to medical units or means of transport, or to organs of the civil defence.
The right to protection for religious personnel is the same as for medical personnel.
The manual also 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.
352.22 Religious personnel and objects:
The protection is identical for both civilian and military “religious personnel”.
The manual further states under the heading “ Protection of Persons and Objects”:
4) Enemy Military Religious Personnel
In case of capture, such personnel must be able to continue their activities if the capturing force has not itself secured spiritual assistance.
Their juridical status is identical to that of permanent medical military personnel. Such personnel must not be captured while in service on hospital ships.