Practice Relating to Rule 110. Treatment and Care of the Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands states: “The wounded and sick may not be left without medical care and attention.”
With respect to non-international armed conflicts, the manual states: “Wounded, sick and shipwrecked shall receive medical care.”
The Military Handbook (1995) of the Netherlands provides: “All wounded and sick must be cared for.”
The IFOR Instructions (1995) of the Netherlands instructs soldiers to “care for [the wounded] whether friend or foe”.
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states: “The wounded and sick must, in all circumstances, be treated humanely (with human dignity) and receive, as quickly as possible, the medical care and attention appropriate to their condition”.
In its chapter on the protection of the civilian population, the manual states:
0821. Medical assistance to the civilian population
The parties to a conflict must provide assistance, if necessary, to civilian medical personnel in areas where civilian medical services are disrupted by hostilities. Civilian medical personnel must have access to all places where their services are essential. They may be subject to such safety measures as the relevant party to the conflict may deem necessary.
0822. For military medical units, the rule is that humanitarian medical help may be given to the civilian population if the operation, circumstances and resources permit. Such help is preferably implemented in consultation and cooperation with Red Cross and other civilian aid organizations. The starting point is that only help of primary necessity is provided to civilians who directly ask for help from a military medical unit.
0823. To remedy a life-threatening medical condition of a member of the civilian population, emergency medical help should be provided as quickly and adequately as possible, to remedy the acute threat to life.
In its chapter on peace operations, the manual states:
It is unclear whether the peace force is also bound to treat those who are sick and wounded as a result of the conflict between the belligerent parties. No such obligation can be inferred from the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocols. The medical support of the peace force is primarily intended for the peace force itself. Detainees or internees of course have a right to medical help from the peace force: they are dependent upon such facilities. The same applies to persons assigned to medical evacuation zones or hospitals. Given sufficient capacity and resources, the humanitarian principle will entail the deployment of medical support if the local population is cut off from medical assistance. If there is a humanitarian operation and humanitarian relief, such assistance should not generally lead to problems: the medical support is designed for this. However, it may happen that the medical capacity and resources present are barely enough to maintain the peace force, while the local population is in acute (medical) need. The mission of the relevant peace force (or part thereof) must then be the decisive factor. If the mission of the peace force is not humanitarian relief, medical support to the local population will be less important than if it is. To add clarity, the CDS [Chief of Defence Staff] has written an instruction on this (A25) entitled “Health Care During Deployment on Peace Operations” (17 October 2000). This clearly states how far Dutch troops are obliged to provide life-saving emergency relief to the civilian population.
In 2005, in reply to written questions concerning, inter alia, the treatment of wounded persons in Afghanistan, the Minister of Defence of the Netherlands stated:
If persons are wounded during actions in which Dutch soldiers are involved, then they will be treated in accordance with international humanitarian law. International humanitarian law contains, amongst others, the obligation to take all possible measures to trace the wounded and sick and to provide them with the necessary care.
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands states: “Only
urgent medical reasons will determine priority of treatment among the wounded and sick”.
With respect to non-international armed conflicts, the manual states that the wounded, sick and shipwrecked shall receive medical care without discrimination”.
The Military Handbook (1995) of the Netherlands states: “All wounded and sick must be cared for, also those from the enemies. Priority in treatment may only be based on medical grounds.”
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states: “No distinction must be made … between members of friendly and hostile forces. Priority in treatment must be assigned solely on grounds of medical necessity.”
In its chapter on non-international armed conflict, the manual states: “Medical personnel may not be required to give priority to a person, save on medical grounds, while carrying out their duties.”