Practice Relating to Rule 35. Hospital and Safety Zones and Neutralized Zones

Geneva Convention I
Article 23 of the 1949 Geneva Convention I provides:
In time of peace, the High Contracting Parties and, after the outbreak of hostilities, the Parties to the conflict, may establish in their own territory and, if the need arises, in occupied areas, hospital zones and localities so organized as to protect the wounded and sick from the effects of war, as well as the personnel entrusted with the organization and administration of these zones and localities and with the care of the persons therein assembled.
Upon the outbreak and during the course of hostilities, the Parties concerned may conclude agreements on mutual recognition of the hospital zones and localities they have created. They may for this purpose implement the provisions of the Draft Agreement annexed to the present Convention, with such amendments as they may consider necessary. 
Convention (I) for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field, Geneva, 12 August 1949, Article 23.
Geneva Convention IV
Article 14, first paragraph, of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV provides for the establishment of “hospital and safety zones and localities so organized as to protect from the effects of war, wounded, sick and aged persons, children under fifteen, expectant mothers and mothers of children under seven”. 
Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, Geneva, 12 August 1949. Article 14, para. 1.
Geneva Convention IV
Article 15 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV provides:
Any Party to the conflict may, either direct or through a neutral State or some humanitarian organization, propose to the adverse Party to establish, in the regions where fighting is taking place, neutralized zones intended to shelter from the effects of war the following persons, without distinction:
a) wounded and sick combatants or non-combatants;
b) civilian persons who take no part in hostilities, and who, while they reside in the zones, perform no work of a military character.
When the Parties concerned have agreed upon the geographical position, administration, food supply and supervision of the proposed neutralized zone, a written agreement shall be concluded and signed by the representatives of the Parties to the conflict. The agreement shall fix the beginning and the duration of the neutralization of the zone. 
Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, Geneva, 12 August 1949, Article 15.
Memorandum of Understanding on the Application of IHL between Croatia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
On the basis of the 1991 Memorandum of Understanding on the Application of IHL between Croatia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, neutralized zones were established under ICRC supervision at the Franciscan Monastery and the New Hospital in Dubrovnik. 
Memorandum of Understanding on the Application of International Humanitarian Law between Croatia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Geneva, 27 November 1991.
Agreement between Croatia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on a Protected Zone around the Hospital of Osijek
Articles 1, 2(1) and 4(1) of the 1991 Agreement between Croatia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on a Protected Zone around the Hospital of Osijek declared the area around the Osijek hospital a protected zone placed under ICRC supervision according to the principles of Articles 23 of the 1949 Geneva Convention I and 14–15 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV. The Agreement restricted access to the zone to the following categories of persons: sick and wounded civilian and military personnel; family members visiting patients recovering in the hospital; persons over 65 years of age, children under 15, expectant mothers and mothers of children under seven; and the hospital’s medical and administrative personnel. 
Agreement Relating to the Establishment of a Protected Zone around the Hospital of Osijek, between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Croatia, Pècs, 27 December 1991, Articles 1, 2(1) and 4(1).
Article 2(4) of the Agreement provides: “Parties to the agreement shall take every measure to ensure free entrance to and exit from the protected zone for the ICRC delegates and the local staff.” 
Agreement Relating to the Establishment of a Protected Zone around the Hospital of Osijek, between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Croatia, Pècs, 27 December 1991, Article 2(4).
Article 13 of the Agreement provides: “The competent authorities … will … give all necessary collaboration to the ICRC and the staff in charge of administering the protected zone.” 
Agreement Relating to the Establishment of a Protected Zone around the Hospital of Osijek, between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Croatia, Pècs, 27 December 1991, Article 13.
Argentina
Argentina’s Law of War Manual (1969) contains a provision regarding the establishment of hospital and safety zones in order to shelter from the effects of war the wounded, sick, disabled and aged, as well as children under 15 years old, pregnant women and mothers of children under 7 years of age. The manual makes reference to Article 14 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV. 
Argentina, Leyes de Guerra, RC-46-1, Público, II Edición 1969, Ejército Argentino, Edición original aprobado por el Comandante en Jefe del Ejército, 9 May 1967, § 4.004.
Argentina
Argentina’s Law of War Manual (1989) provides for the possibility of setting up hospital and safety zones and refers to Article 14 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV. It further envisages, with reference to Article 15 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV, the possibility of creating neutralized zones in combat areas to shelter persons not, or no longer, taking part in military activities. 
Argentina, Leyes de Guerra, PC-08-01, Público, Edición 1989, Estado Mayor Conjunto de las Fuerzas Armadas, aprobado por Resolución No. 489/89 del Ministerio de Defensa, 23 April 1990, § 4.05.
Australia
Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) states:
Hospital and safety zones are established for the protection from the effects of war of the wounded, sick and aged persons, children under 15 years, expectant mothers and mothers of children under seven years … by agreement between the parties. 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, § 940; see also Law of Armed Conflict, Commanders’ Guide, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 Supplement 1 – Interim Edition, 7 March 1994, § 940.
The manual adds:
Neutralised zones may be established in regions where fighting is taking place to shelter wounded and sick combatants or noncombatants and civilian persons who take no part in hostilities and who perform no work of a military character. The zones are set up by written agreement. 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, § 941; see also Law of Armed Conflict, Commanders’ Guide, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 Supplement 1 – Interim Edition, 7 March 1994, § 941.
Australia
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) states:
9.40 The LOAC allows various zones to be set up for the protection of civilians from the effects of hostilities. They include hospital, safety [and] neutralised … zones …
9.41 Hospital and safety zones. Hospital and safety zones are established for the protection from the effects of war of the wounded, sick and aged persons, children under 15 years, expectant mothers and mothers of children under seven years. Such zones are:
• generally permanent in character;
• located outside the combat zone in either a state’s own or occupied territory; and
• established in peacetime or during war by agreement between the parties. (Such agreement may be reached through the offices of any protecting power or the ICRC.)
9.42 Neutralised zones. Neutralised zones may be established in regions where fighting is taking place to shelter wounded and sick combatants or non-combatants and civilian persons who take no part in hostilities and who perform no work of a military character. The zones are set up by written agreement, which includes details of location, administration and duration of the neutralisation of the zone. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, §§ 9.40–9.42.
In its chapter on “Maritime Operations”, the manual states: “The parties to an armed conflict at sea may agree for humanitarian purposes to create a zone in a defined area of the sea in which only activities consistent with those humanitarian purposes are permitted”. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, § 6.68.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
Burundi
Burundi’s Regulations on International Humanitarian Law (2007) states: “The civilian population of a State in conflict must be protected from the effects of war. This protection may be put into practice by … establishing hospital and safety zones.” 
Burundi, Règlement n° 98 sur le droit international humanitaire, Ministère de la Défense Nationale et des Anciens Combattants, Projet “Moralisation” (BDI/B-05), August 2007, Part I bis, p. 20.
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Disciplinary Regulations (1975) provides that each soldier must respect “hospital zones and localities”. 
Cameroon, Règlement de discipline dans les Forces Armées, Décret No. 75/700, 6 November 1975, Article 31.
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) states:
Civilian Victims of Armed Conflict
During all military operations, whether in offence or in defence, certain conduct remains prohibited under the law of armed conflict and international humanitarian law.
Examples:
- bombarding hospital zones or localities. 
Cameroon, Droit des conflits armés et droit international humanitaire, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les forces de défense, Ministère de la Défense, Présidence de la République, Etat-major des Armées, 2006, p. 60, § 252; see also p. 86, § 342, p. 93, § 352.20 and p. 135, § 412.20.
The manual also states: “During military operations, certain so-called protected zones can be established by agreement between the belligerents … These include: hospital zones and localities ”. 
Cameroon, Droit des conflits armés et droit international humanitaire, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les forces de défense, Ministère de la Défense, Présidence de la République, Etat-major des Armées, 2006, pp. 224–225, § 533.
Cameroon
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,
it is evidently necessary that the structures and buildings are not being used for military purposes;
These rules apply to the extent possible to operations undertaken by airplanes and navy ships against targets on land or at sea. 
Cameroon, Règlement de discipline générale dans les forces de défense, Décret N° 2007/199, Président de la République, 7 July 2007, Article 31.
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) describes hospital and safety zones and neutralized zones as areas that are entitled to protection from attack under the laws of armed conflict. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, pp. 4-10 and 4-11, §§ 102, 106 and 108.
The manual states: “Such zones also protect those personnel responsible for organizing and administrating the zones as well as those caring for the wounded and sick.” It adds: “Hospital zones should be located in sparsely populated areas away from legitimate targets.” 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 11-2, § 14.
The manual provides that hospital and safety zones can be established either in time of peace or after the outbreak of hostilities, and even in occupied areas if necessary. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 4-10, §§ 103–104.
As regards neutralized zones, the manual states:
Any party to a conflict may, either directly or through a neutral State or some humanitarian organization, propose to the adverse party to establish, in the regions where the fighting is taking place, neutralized zones intended to shelter from the effects of the conflict the following persons, without distinction: wounded and sick combatants or non-combatants, and civilian persons who take no part in hostilities and who, while they reside in the zones, perform no work of a military character. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 4-10, § 107.
The manual further states that any agreement setting up a neutralized zone “should provide details of the location, administration, provisioning and supervision of the proposed neutralized zone as well as fix its beginning and duration”. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 11-2, § 14.
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001) states in its chapter on targeting:
453. Scope
1. This section describes a number of areas that are entitled to protection from attack under the LOAC.
454. Hospital and safety zones
1. Hospital and safety zones can be established by parties to a conflict to protect the following persons from the effects of armed conflict:
a. wounded, sick and aged persons;
b. children under the age of fifteen;
c. expectant mothers; and
d. mothers of children under the age of seven.
2. Such zones also protect those personnel responsible for organizing and administering the zones as well as those caring for the wounded and sick.
3. Hospital zones should be located in sparsely populated areas away from legitimate targets. They shall be marked with a distinctive sign consisting of an oblique red band on a white background. Zones reserved exclusively for the wounded and sick may be marked by means of the Red Cross or the Red Crescent …
4. Hospital and safety zones are not to be attacked.
455. Neutralized zones
1. Any party to a conflict may, either directly or through a neutral state or some humanitarian organization, propose to the adverse party to establish, in the regions where the fighting is taking place, neutralized zones intended to shelter from the effects of the conflict the following persons, without distinction:
a. wounded and sick combatants or non-combatants; and
b. civilian persons who take no part in hostilities and who, while they reside in the zones, perform no work of a military character.
2. So long as the adverse party complies with the terms of the agreement establishing the neutralized zone, it shall not be attacked. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, §§ 453, 454.2–4 and 455.
In its chapter on the treatment of the wounded, sick and shipwrecked, the manual states:
In regard to permanent medical installations on land, parties may, in peace or after hostilities have commenced, establish in their own and in occupied territory, hospital zones or localities to protect the wounded and sick from war risks. During hostilities parties to a conflict may enter into agreements for the recognition of such zones and localities. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels , Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 923.
In its chapter entitled “Treatment of civilians in the hands of a party to the conflict or an occupying power”, the manual states:
1108. Hospital and safety zones
1. Hospital and safety zones and localities may be established either in time of peace or after the outbreak of hostilities. Belligerents may establish such zones and localities in their own territory and, if necessary, in occupied areas for the protection from the effects of war of wounded, sick and aged persons, children under fifteen, expectant mothers and mothers of children under seven. To facilitate the institution and recognition of hospital and safety zones, recourse may be had to the good offices of the Protecting Powers and the ICRC.
1109. Neutralized zones
1. Any belligerent may agree in writing with the opposing force to the establishment in the regions where fighting is going on of neutralized zones, in order to shelter wounded or sick combatants or non-combatants and civilian persons who take no part in hostilities and who perform no work of a military character. The agreement should provide details of the location, administration, provisioning and supervision of the proposed neutralized zone as well as fix its beginning and duration. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, §§ 1108–1109.
In its chapter entitled “Communications and contact between opposing forces”, the manual further states:
1403. Agreements
1. Any agreement made by belligerent commanders must be adhered to, and any breach of its conditions would involve international responsibility if ordered by a government, and personal liability, (which might amount to a war crime) if committed by an individual on his or her own authority. The terms of any agreement should be clear and precise and carefully explained to the troops affected by it. Whenever possible it should be reduced to writing.
1407. Special zones
1. Agreements may also be made between the belligerents for particular areas to be placed, either on a permanent or temporary basis, outside of the zone of operations. Such arrangements may be made directly or through the good offices of a neutral power of the protecting power. These agreements may be concerned with the establishment of safety zones, neutralized zones, exclusion zones, open cities and undefended places. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, §§ 1403.1 and 1407.1.
Chad
Chad’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) states that it is prohibited to attack “protected zones or areas”. 
Chad, Droit international humanitaire, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les forces armées et de sécurité, Ministère de la Défense, Présidence de la République, Etat-major des Armées, 2006, p. 78.
The manual further states: “Military operations must be maintained at a distance from the health zones and areas”. 
Chad, Droit international humanitaire, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les forces armées et de sécurité, Ministère de la Défense, Présidence de la République, Etat-major des Armées, 2006, p. 93.
The manual also states that “attacking protected zones or areas” is a war crime. 
Chad, Droit international humanitaire, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les forces armées et de sécurité, Ministère de la Défense, Présidence de la République, Etat-major des Armées, 2006, p. 78.
Côte d’Ivoire
Côte d’Ivoire’s Teaching Manual (2007) provides in Book I (Basic instruction):
Lesson 1. Basic notions of IHL
The principle of distinction specifies who and what can be attacked and who and what cannot be attacked.
- Who and what must be protected?
- hospital and safety zones and localities,
Lesson 2. Identification
II.2 Persons and objects under special protection
- hospital and safety zones and localities. 
Côte d’Ivoire, Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre I: Instruction de base, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, pp. 14–15, 17 and 19.
In Book III, Volume 1 (Instruction of first-year trainee officers), the Teaching Manual provides:
IV.2. Protected zones
The law of armed conflicts makes provision for various protected zones or localities. It is important to know the raison d’être of these zones. These zones can have different names, but they always have two elements in common:
- to protect civilian and military victims against the effects of hostilities;
- to keep these victims separate, guaranteeing that there are no military objectives in the defined zones.
Thus, if the enemy respects the law, the victims run no risk of suffering from the effects of the hostilities. Attacks against these zones or localities are prohibited.
IV.3. Hospital zones and localities
Provided for by Geneva Convention I and intended to offer protection to the sick and wounded of the armed forces and to medical personnel, these zones are created by written agreement concluded between the two parties or by a unilateral declaration recognized by your enemy. They are generally located far behind the front line, and marked by the red cross, the red crescent or the red crystal (or by the red lion and sun).
IV.4. Safety zones
This concept is developed in Geneva Convention IV. The essential purpose of safety zones is to protect precise categories of civilians and not only military victims. The Convention quotes in particular the wounded and sick, aged persons, children under fifteen, expectant mothers and mothers of children under seven. Again, these zones must be created far behind the front lines, and by agreements of the same type. In this specific case, they are marked by oblique red bands on a white ground.
IV.5. Neutralized zones
The object of these zones is to protect all civilians who take no part in hostilities as well as sick and wounded combatants. They are distinguished by the fact that they are created in the regions where fighting takes place. They are established by a written agreement concluded with the enemy. The agreement must contain detailed information on the geographical position, marking, food supply, and control of the zone, as well as the duration of the neutralization. It goes without saying that neutralized zones must not be used for any military purposes whatsoever, otherwise the protection ends. These zones can cover larger areas than those described above. They can, for example, comprise whole villages. 
Côte d’Ivoire, Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre III, Tome 1: Instruction de l’élève officier d’active de 1ère année, Manuel de l’élève, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, pp. 35–36; see also Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre III, Tome 2: Instruction de l’élève officier d’active de 2ème année, Manuel de l’instructeur, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, p. 33; Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre IV: Instruction du chef de section et du commandant de compagnie, Manuel de l’élève, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, pp. 41–42.
Ecuador
Ecuador’s Naval Manual (1989) states: “When established by agreement between belligerents, hospital zones and neutralized zones are immune from bombardment in accordance with the terms of the agreement concerned.” 
Ecuador, Aspectos Importantes del Derecho Internacional Marítimo que Deben Tener Presente los Comandantes de los Buques, Academia de Guerra Naval, 1989, § 8.5.1.3.
France
France’s LOAC Teaching Note (2000) includes safety zones and neutralized zones among the areas specially protected by IHL. It states that these zones are established by agreement and may not be attacked. 
France, Fiche didactique relative au droit des conflits armés, Directive of the Ministry of Defence, 4 January 2000, annexed to the Directive No. 147 of the Ministry of Defence of 4 January 2000, p. 5.
France
France’s LOAC Manual (2001) notes that the laws of armed conflict afford a special protection to certain areas, among which are safety zones and neutralized zones. It states that safety zones are established by agreement between the belligerents in order to shelter wounded, sick, disabled or aged persons, children, expectant mothers and mothers of children under the age of seven; neutralized zones are set up by written agreement between the belligerents with the aim of sheltering the wounded and sick, as well as the civilian population located therein. The manual prohibits attacks against both types of zones. 
France, Manuel de droit des conflits armés, Ministère de la Défense, Direction des Affaires Juridiques, Sous-Direction du droit international humanitaire et du droit européen, Bureau du droit des conflits armés, 2001, pp. 125–126.
Germany
Germany’s Military Manual (1992) provides:
Hospital and safety zones and localities shall be established on mutual agreement so as to protect wounded, sick and aged persons, children, expectant mothers and mothers of children under seven from any attack. 
Germany, Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflicts – Manual, DSK VV207320067, edited by The Federal Ministry of Defence of the Federal Republic of Germany, VR II 3, August 1992, English translation of ZDv 15/2, Humanitäres Völkerrecht in bewaffneten Konflikten – Handbuch, August 1992, § 512; see also § 463.
The manual further provides that grave breaches of IHL are in particular “launching attacks against … neutralized zones”. 
Germany, Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflicts – Manual, DSK VV207320067, edited by The Federal Ministry of Defence of the Federal Republic of Germany, VR II 3, August 1992, English translation of ZDv 15/2, Humanitäres Völkerrecht in bewaffneten Konflikten – Handbuch, August 1992, § 1209.
Greece
The Hellenic Navy’s International Law Manual (1995) provides:
In order to safeguard the unimpeded transfer of protected persons to hospital ships, a practice was established during the Falklands war, according to which a certain neutral area was demarcated named “Red Cross Boxes”. This practice, given the increased sensitivity of states regarding the protection of the right to life for non-combatants and persons hors de combat, tends to rapidly crystallize a customary rule, closely dependent upon the particular conditions under which naval warfare is waged and the vicinity where military operations are conducted. 
Greece, International Law Manual, Hellenic Navy General Staff, Directorate A2, Division IV, 1995, Chapter 7, Part I, § 7.
Hungary
Hungary’s Military Manual (1992) instructs soldiers to respect hospital zones and localities. More generally, it provides that protected zones shall be respected and shall be taken over without combat. 
Hungary, A Hadijog, Jegyzet a Katonai, Föiskolák Hallgatói Részére, Magyar Honvédség Szolnoki Repülötiszti Föiskola, 1992, pp. 19 and 72.
The manual also stresses the possibility of non-hostile contacts with the enemy, inter alia, for the creation of neutralized zones. 
Hungary, A Hadijog, Jegyzet a Katonai, Föiskolák Hallgatói Részére, Magyar Honvédség Szolnoki Repülötiszti Föiskola, 1992, p. 79.
Ireland
Ireland’s Basic LOAC Guide (2005) states: “The parties engaged in conflict may by agreement establish hospital, safety and neutralised zones. The purpose of these zones is to shield non-combatants. Such areas may not be attacked nor used for military purposes.” 
Ireland, Basic Guide to the Law of Armed Conflict, TP/TRG/01-2005, Director of Defence Forces Training, Department of Defence, July 2005, p. 11.
(emphasis in original)
Italy
Italy’s LOAC Elementary Rules Manual (1991) states: “Where protected zones or localities (hospital zones …) have been agreed upon, the competent commanders shall issue instructions for action and behaviour near and towards such zones or localities.” 
Italy, Regole elementari di diritto di guerra, SMD-G-012, Stato Maggiore della Difesa, I Repartee, Uffizi Addestramento e Regolamenti, Rome, 1991, § 47.
The manual also provides that “protected zones shall be respected”. 
Italy, Regole elementari di diritto di guerra, SMD-G-012, Stato Maggiore della Difesa, I Reparto, Ufficio Addestramento e Regolamenti, Rome, 1991, § 70.
Italy
Italy’s IHL Manual (1991) qualifies “attacks on … hospital and safety zones which must be respected and protected at all times” as a war crime. 
Italy, Manuale di diritto umanitario, Introduzione e Volume I, Usi e convenzioni di Guerra, SMD-G-014, Stato Maggiore della Difesa, I Reparto, Ufficio Addestramento e Regolamenti, Rome, 1991, Vol. I, § 85.
Italy
Italy’s Combatant’s Manual (1998) states:
Hospital and Safety Zones are protected by the emblem “White flag with an oblique red line”.
IT IS PROHIBITED to use these zones for military purposes. 
Italy, Manuale del Combattente, SME 1000/A/2, Stato Maggiore Esercito/Reparto Impiego delle Forze, Ufficio Dottrina, Addestramento e Regolamenti, 1998, § 248.
[emphasis in original]
Kenya
Kenya’s LOAC Manual (1997) states:
Hospital and safety zones may be set up in peacetime to contain hospitals, shelters for the wounded and sick, the old and infants, children under 15 years of age, expectant mothers and mothers with children under 7 years of age. Upon the outbreak and during the course of hostilities, the parties concerned may conclude agreements on mutual recognition of the zones and localities they have created. 
Kenya, Law of Armed Conflict, Military Basic Course (ORS), 4 Précis, The School of Military Police, 1997, Précis No. 4, p. 6.
The manual further states:
As an emergency measure, the commanders of the Parties to the conflict may establish, in the regions where fighting is taking place, neutralized zones intended to shelter from the effects of war the following persons, without distinction:
(a) wounded and sick combatants or non-combatants;
(b) civilian persons who take no part in hostilities and who, while they reside in the zones, perform no work of a military character.
To effect such a zone, a written agreement shall be concluded and signed by the representatives of the Parties to the conflict. 
Kenya, Law of Armed Conflict, Military Basic Course (ORS), 4 Précis, The School of Military Police, 1997, Précis No. 4, p. 7.
Madagascar
Madagascar’s Military Manual (1994) states that the establishment of safety zones and protected zones is concluded by an agreement and that these zones should be respected. 
Madagascar, Le Droit des Conflits Armés, Ministère des Forces Armées, August 1994, Fiche No. 6-O, § 16 and Fiche No. 7-O, § 15.
Mexico
Mexico’s Army and Air Force Manual (2009), in a section on the 1949 Geneva Convention IV, states:
210. Safety zones
A. It is provided that either before or after the outbreak of hostilities, hospital and safety zones and localities may be established to protect the wounded, sick, disabled, elderly, children under the age of fifteen, expectant mothers and mothers of children under the age of seven. The Protecting Powers and the ICRC are invited to lend their good offices in order to facilitate the setting up and recognition of such zones.
B. If necessary, and when circumstances permit, these zones may be set up in or near places which already benefit from special protection as cultural property.
211. Neutralized zones
They are zones established in fighting areas and intended to shelter from the dangers of war all persons, without distinction, who are not, or no longer, taking part in hostilities, provided that they do not perform any work of a military nature while they remain in these zones. They are established by agreement between the parties concerned on the proposal of the party setting up the zone. 
Mexico, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para el Ejército y la Fuerza Área Mexicanos, Ministry of National Defence, June 2009, §§ 210–211.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands states that the protection offered to hospital and safety zones concerns “the wounded and sick, disabled and aged persons, children under 15 years, expectant mothers and mothers with children under 7 years” and specifies that “the rules governing hospital or safety zones must be laid down in an agreement between the parties to the conflict”. 
Netherlands, Toepassing Humanitair Oorlogsrecht, Voorschift No. 27-412/1, Koninklijke Landmacht, Ministerie van Defensie, 1993, p. V-17, § 15.
The manual also underlines the possibility for the parties to set up neutralized zones through a written agreement for the protection of “the wounded and sick, whether military or civilian, and civilians who neither take part in the hostilities nor carry out work of a military character”. 
Netherlands, Toepassing Humanitair Oorlogsrecht, Voorschift No. 27-412/1, Koninklijke Landmacht, Ministerie van Defensie, 1993, pp. V-17/V-18, § 16.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states:
In addition to possible action as a protecting power and to gathering information on prisoners of war, the ICRC fulfils the following tasks:
- providing support in establishing hospitals and safe areas. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0243.
The manual further states:
0557. Hospital and safety zones
Hospital and safety zones are areas where protection is offered to the wounded and sick and to certain groups of the civilian population, against the violence of war. The protection in hospital and safety zones applies to:
- the wounded and sick
- the disabled and old people
- children under age 15
- pregnant women
- mothers of children under the age of 7.
0558. Regulations on a hospital or safety zone should be established by agreement between the parties to a conflict. Both the Wounded and Sick Convention [1949 Geneva Convention I] and the Civilians Convention [1949 Geneva Convention IV] have annexes showing forms of agreement on hospital and safety zones. Setting up hospital and safety zones is intended to protect the listed protected persons far from the theatre of war and to maintain the zones permanently for the duration of the war.
A safety zone was set up in 1937, during the Sino-Japanese war. Around 250,000 Chinese found protection there under ICRC supervision.
Efforts by the ICRC to set up safety zones during the Second World War proved fruitless.
0559. A neutralized zone is an area within the field of battle where protection is offered to:
- wounded and sick combatants or civilians; and
- civilians taking no part in hostilities, and performing no work of a military character.
Neutralized zones are intended to give protection in the field of operations, though only in the short term. The creation of a neutralized zone requires a written agreement between representatives of the parties to the conflict.
In 1971, representatives of the ICRC succeeded in creating a neutralized zone in the war between India and Pakistan. A hotel and an adjacent hospital were recognized as such. During conflicts prior to the establishment of the Civilians Convention in 1949, the ICRC also sometimes succeeded in setting up neutralized zones: in a district of Madrid in 1936, during the Spanish Civil War; in Shanghai in 1937, during the Sino-Japanese war; and in Jerusalem in 1948, during the Palestine conflict. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, §§ 0557–0559.
New Zealand
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) provides:
A State may declare during peacetime that, in the event of armed conflict, a particular area shall be a safety or hospital zone for the protection of wounded, sick, the aged, expectant mothers and children. On the outbreak of hostilities, the combatants may agree to recognize such areas and zones as being immune from attack and outside the area of hostilities. After the commencement of the conflict, safety and hospital zones may be established in occupied territory as well. 
New Zealand, Interim Law of Armed Conflict Manual, DM 112, New Zealand Defence Force, Headquarters, Directorate of Legal Services, Wellington, November 1992, § 412(2).
In a section on “General measures for the protection of civilians”, the manual reaffirms the possibility of setting up hospital and safety zones, stating:
In time of peace or after the outbreak of hostilities, belligerents may establish such zones and localities … for the protection from the effects of war of wounded, sick and aged persons, children under fifteen, expectant mothers and mothers of children under seven. Agreements may be concluded between the belligerents concerning mutual recognition of the zones and localities so created. To facilitate the institution and recognition of hospital and safety zones and localities recourse may be had to the good offices of the Protecting Powers and the International Committee of the Red Cross. 
New Zealand, Interim Law of Armed Conflict Manual, DM 112, New Zealand Defence Force, Headquarters, Directorate of Legal Services, Wellington, November 1992, § 1106.
Concerning the establishment of neutralized zones, the manual states that an agreement is required. It adds:
In the area of operations a neutralised zone may be set up for the protection of wounded and sick or other persons hors de combat as well as non-combatants taking no part in the hostilities or in activities of a military character. The area of the zone and its agreed duration should be detailed in the agreement. 
New Zealand, Interim Law of Armed Conflict Manual, DM 112, New Zealand Defence Force, Headquarters, Directorate of Legal Services, Wellington, November 1992, § 412(3).
Nigeria
Nigeria’s Military Manual (1994) states: “Preplanned protected zones are established by agreement between belligerent parties.” 
Nigeria, International Humanitarian Law (IHL), Directorate of Legal Services, Nigerian Army, 1994, p. 43, § 14.
Peru
Peru’s IHL Manual (2004) states:
When appropriate, special agreements should be made between the parties to the conflict or with neutral States in order to:
(a) locate certain areas (hospital zones or localities … ) at a safe distance from military operations;
(b) arrange for hostilities to be suspended or cease in a certain area (neutralized area). 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial Nº 1394-2004-DE/CCFFAA/CDIH-FFAA, Lima, 1 December 2004, § 25.b.(2)(a) and (b); see also §§ 27.h.(1).(a) and 104.a.
The manual further states:
[Hospital] zones and localities [are] organized to protect the wounded and sick of the armed forces from the effects of war, as well as the personnel entrusted with their organization and administration and with the care of the persons assembled in them. They must fulfil the following conditions:
(1) they shall comprise only a small part of the territory controlled by the Power which has established them;
(2) they shall be thinly populated in relation to the possibilities of accommodation;
(3) they shall be far removed and free from all military objectives and large industrial and administrative establishments;
(4) they shall not be situated in areas likely to become important for the conduct of the war;
(5) the lines of communication and means of transport which they possess shall not be used for the transport of military personnel or material, even in transit;
(6) they shall in no case be defended by military means. 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial Nº 1394-2004-DE/CCFFAA/CDIH-FFAA, Lima, 1 December 2004, § 100.b.
Peru
Peru’s IHL and Human Rights Manual (2010) states:
(2) When appropriate, special agreements should be made between the parties to the conflict or with neutral States in order to:
(a) locate certain areas (hospital zones or localities … ) at a safe distance from military operations;
(b) arrange for hostilities to be suspended or cease in a certain area (neutralized area). 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario y Derechos Humanos para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial No. 049-2010/DE/VPD, Lima, 21 May 2010, § 26(b)(2)(a)–(b), p. 233; see also § 28(h)(1)(a), p. 240, and § 92(b)(1)–(2), p. 294.
The manual also states:
[Hospital and safety] zones and localities are organized to protect the wounded and sick of the armed forces from the effects of war, as well as the personnel entrusted with their organization and administration and with the care of the persons assembled in them. They must fulfil the following conditions:
(1) they shall comprise only a small part of the territory controlled by the Power which has established them;
(2) they shall be thinly populated in relation to the possibilities of accommodation;
(3) they shall be far removed and free from all military objectives and large industrial and administrative establishments;
(4) they shall not be situated in areas likely to become important for the conduct of the war; … the lines of communication and means of transport which they possess shall not be used for the transport of military personnel or material, even in transit;
(5) they shall in no case be defended by military means. 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario y Derechos Humanos para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial No. 049-2010/DE/VPD, Lima, 21 May 2010, § 91(b), p. 292; see also § 26(b), p. 233, § 92(b), p. 294, and p. 417.
Russian Federation
The Russian Federation’s Regulations on the Application of IHL (2001) states:
hospital and safety zones (localities) are exclusively established to protect the wounded and sick, as well as the personnel charged with the organisation of such areas (locations), supervision thereof and taking care of the persons located there. 
Russian Federation, Regulations on the Application of International Humanitarian Law by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, Moscow, 8 August 2001, § 1.
The Regulations further states: “objects protected by international humanitarian law include … hospital and safety zones (localities) … Attacks against such objects are prohibited by international humanitarian law with the exception of cases stipulated by this law.” 
Russian Federation, Regulations on the Application of International Humanitarian Law by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, Moscow, 8 August 2001, § 1.
Senegal
Senegal’s IHL Manual (1999) provides for the possibility of establishing neutralized zones by agreement in order to provide protection, without discrimination, for the wounded and sick, as well as for persons not taking a direct part in military operations and, while residing in the zone, not performing any activity connected with such operations. 
Senegal, Le DIH adapté au contexte des opérations de maintien de l’ordre, République du Sénégal, Ministère des Forces Armées, Haut Commandement de la Gendarmerie et Direction de la Justice Militaire, Cabinet, 1999, p. 20.
Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone’s Instructor Manual (2007) states:
Protected Areas
Safety Zones
These are battle-free zones set aside for the protection of wounded and sick and vulnerable citizens (elderly, children, mothers).
Neutralised Zones
These are battle-free zones created by agreement between the parties to the conflict to protect the wounded and sick (both combatants hors de combat and civilians) and civilians who are not performing any work of a military nature. 
Sierra Leone, The Law of Armed Conflict. Instructor Manual for the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF), Armed Forces Education Centre, September 2007, p. 28.
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) refers to Article 23 of the 1949 Geneva Convention I and Article 14 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV concerning hospital and safety zones and to Article 15 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV concerning neutralized zones. 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Publicación OR7-004, 2 Tomos, aprobado por el Estado Mayor del Ejército, Division de Operaciones, 18 March 1996, Vol. I, §§ 1.3.e.(3)-(4) and 7.3.b.(5).
The manual states that hospital and safety zones, which are intended to shelter from the effects of war the wounded and sick, the old, children under 15 years of age, expectant mothers and mothers with children under 7 years of age, may be established by agreement between the parties to a conflict, and prohibits attacks on such areas. Equally prohibited are attacks against neutralized zones, which may be established by agreement in order to protect wounded and sick combatants and non-combatants, as well as civilians not taking any part in hostilities. 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Publicación OR7-004, 2 Tomos, aprobado por el Estado Mayor del Ejército, Division de Operaciones, 18 March 1996, Vol. I, § 4.5.b.(3)(b).
The manual also stresses that, while hospital and safety zones can be set up in areas located outside the combat zone, neutralized zones are established in the regions where hostilities are taking place. 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Publicación OR7-004, 2 Tomos, aprobado por el Estado Mayor del Ejército, Division de Operaciones, 18 March 1996, Vol. I, § 9.5.(a)–(b).
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states that the zones in which military operations are not permitted include hospital zones, hospital and safety zones and neutralized zones. 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Tomo 1, Publicación OR7–004, (Edición Segunda), Mando de Adiestramiento y Doctrina, Dirección de Doctrina, Orgánica y Materiales, 2 November 2007, § 1.2.c.(2); see also § 7.3.b.(5).
The manual also states:
It is in the mutual interest of the parties to the conflict to establish protected areas where particularly vulnerable sectors of the population can be kept safe from the effects of war. In addition to those specifically provided for in the law of armed conflict, which are listed below, other protected areas can be organized through special agreements.
1.3.e.(3). Hospital zones and localities
They are created outside the areas where the hostilities are being conducted by express agreement.
1.3.e.(4). Neutralized zones
They can be organized in areas where the hostilities are being conducted by express agreement of the parties to the conflict. 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Tomo 1, Publicación OR7–004, (Edición Segunda), Mando de Adiestramiento y Doctrina, Dirección de Doctrina, Orgánica y Materiales, 2 November 2007, §§ 1.3.e and 1.3.e.(3)–(4).
With regard to hospital and safety zones, the manual further states:
[They] are established to protect the wounded, sick, disabled, elderly, children under fifteen, pregnant women and women with children under seven. They are established by agreement between the parties to the conflict. They should be situated well away from areas of interest for military operations. 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Tomo 1, Publicación OR7–004, (Edición Segunda), Mando de Adiestramiento y Doctrina, Dirección de Doctrina, Orgánica y Materiales, 2 November 2007, § 4.5.b.(3).(b); see also § 9.5.a.
With regard to neutralized zones, the manual further states:
They are established by agreement between the parties to the conflict in the combat zone, with a view to protecting:
- the wounded and the sick, whether they are combatants or not;
- civilians with no involvement in the hostilities.
The agreement establishing the neutralized area must specify the start and duration of the neutralization of the area. 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Tomo 1, Publicación OR7–004, (Edición Segunda), Mando de Adiestramiento y Doctrina, Dirección de Doctrina, Orgánica y Materiales, 2 November 2007, § 4.5.b.(3).(b); see also § 9.5.b.
Sweden
Sweden’s IHL Manual (1991) provides for the possibility in peacetime of declaring, by special agreement, a given part of a State’s territory a neutralized area. It explains that this means that “no acts of war whatsoever may be directed against or take place within that area. This restriction is intended to apply for the full duration of the conflict.” It adds:
It is also possible for the parties to reach an agreement during a conflict that all acts of war shall cease temporarily within a given part of a conflict area. Such agreements are commonly made to afford protection to civilian populations, and specially to such exposed groups as children, old people, and the sick and the wounded. 
Sweden, International Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflict, with reference to the Swedish Total Defence System, Swedish Ministry of Defence, January 1991, Section 3.4.1, p. 84.
The manual is guided by the rules embodied in Article 23 of the 1949 Geneva Convention I and Articles 14–15 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV. 
Sweden, International Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflict, with reference to the Swedish Total Defence System, Swedish Ministry of Defence, January 1991, Section 3.4.2, p. 84.
Switzerland
Switzerland’s Military Manual (1984) states that it is forbidden for any troop member to enter hospital and safety zones and neutralized zones. 
Switzerland, Lois et coutumes de la guerre, Manuel 51.7/III dfi, Armée suisse, 1984, p. 18.
Switzerland
Switzerland’s Basic Military Manual (1987) refers to Article 23 of the 1949 Geneva Convention I and provides: “The belligerent parties may at any time establish, by agreement, hospital zones and localities in order to shelter the wounded and sick, military or civilian, together with the necessary personnel, from the effects of war.” 
Switzerland, Lois et coutumes de la guerre (Extrait et commentaire), Règlement 51.7/II f, Armée Suisse, 1987, Article 86.
Switzerland
Switzerland’s Aide-Memoire on the Ten Basic Rules of the Law of Armed Conflict (2005) states with respect to medical and security zones:
Correct behaviour
- These zones have to be respected;
- Only medical personnel, patients and civilians have access;
Prohibited is/are …
- Attacks against a marked zone;
- The presence of combatants, introduction of military equipment (with the exception of the equipment of the military medical services).  
Switzerland, The Ten Basic Rules of the Law of Armed Conflict, Aide-memoire 51.007/IIIe, Swiss Army, issued based on Article 10 of the Ordinance for Organization of the Federal Department for Defence, Civil Protection and Sports dated 7 March 2003, entry into force on 1 July 2005, Chart of Protective Signs.
Ukraine
Ukraine’s IHL Manual (2004) states:
Hospital and safety zones (localities) may be established exclusively with the aim to protect the wounded and sick as well as personnel charged with the establishment of such zones (localities), their control and providing care to persons to be placed therein.
Hospital and safety zones (localities) shall not be the object of attack. 
Ukraine, Manual on the Application of IHL Rules, Ministry of Defence, 11 September 2004, § 1.2.48; see also § 1.2.51.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK Military Manual (1958) provides for the possibility of establishing, by agreement between the parties before or after the outbreak of hostilities, hospital and safety zones and localities, either in occupied territory or in the territory of a belligerent. 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, §§ 26 and 363.
The manual further allows any belligerent to propose to the opposing belligerent, either directly or through a neutral State or a humanitarian organization, the establishment of neutralized zones in the area of combat, “to shelter from the effects of war wounded or sick combatants or non-combatants and civilian persons who take no part in the hostilities and who perform no work of a military character”. 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 27.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Pamphlet (1981) provides that “safety zones may be set up to contain hospitals, shelters for the wounded and sick, the old and infirm, children under 15 years of age, expectant mothers and mothers with children under 7 years of age”. 
United Kingdom, The Law of Armed Conflict, D/DAT/13/35/66, Army Code 71130 (Revised 1981), Ministry of Defence, prepared under the Direction of The Chief of the General Staff, 1981, Section 9, p. 34, § 2.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states:
5.40. Neutralized zones may be established in regions where fighting is taking place to shelter the wounded and sick, whether combatants or non-combatants, and civilians from the effects of war.
5.40.1. These civilians may not perform work of a military character while they reside in the zone. For the purpose of establishing such zones, the written agreement of the parties to the conflict is required. That agreement may be reached either directly or through a neutral state or humanitarian organization. The agreement must define the location and area of the zone, its commencement and duration and also the arrangements for its administration, food supply and supervision. A neutralized zone is likely to be established in an area where the fighting is taking place. It is likely to be a very limited area and its purpose is very limited. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 5.40–5.40.1.
The manual further states:
5.41. Hospital and safety zones and localities may be established in peacetime or in time of armed conflict and in occupied territory “to protect from the effects of war, wounded, sick and aged persons, children under fifteen, expectant mothers and mothers of children under seven.”
5.41.1. After the outbreak of hostilities, the parties to the conflict may conclude agreements on the mutual recognition of these zones. The agreement may be modelled on the draft annexed to Geneva Convention IV. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 5.41–5.41.1.
In addition, the manual states:
The Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol I recognize that, on a number of matters, agreements between belligerents may be desirable or necessary. These cover such matters as … agreements as to the location and marking of hospitals and demilitarized zones. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 10.39.
In its chapter on air operations, the manual states that “attacks on non-defended localities and zones under special protection are prohibited”. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 12.26.
In its chapter on maritime warfare, the manual provides: “The parties to the conflict may agree, for humanitarian purposes, to create a zone in a defined area of the sea in which only activities consistent with those humanitarian purposes are permitted.” 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 13.114.
Lastly, with regard to internal armed conflict, the manual provides that (in addition to the prohibition of attacks on undefended localities) “[t]he other rules on protective zones applicable in international armed conflicts may be applied by analogy to internal armed conflicts”. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 15.25.2.
United States of America
The US Field Manual (1956) restates Article 23 of the 1949 Geneva Convention I and Articles 14–15 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV and specifies that these agreements setting up hospital and safety zones and neutralized zones “may be concluded either by the governments concerned or by subordinate military commanders”. 
United States, Field Manual 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare, US Department of the Army, 18 July 1956, as modified by Change No. 1, 15 July 1976, §§ 224 and 253.
United States of America
The US Air Force Pamphlet (1976) states:
The Geneva Conventions of 1949 provide for protected or safety zones established by agreement between the parties to the conflict. Safety zones established under the Geneva Conventions of 1949, or by other agreement among parties to a conflict, are immune from bombardment in accordance with the terms of the agreement. 
United States, Air Force Pamphlet 110-31, International Law – The Conduct of Armed Conflict and Air Operations, US Department of the Air Force, 1976, § 5-5(b).
United States of America
The US Air Force Commander’s Handbook (1980), in a section entitled “Neutralized and Demilitarized Zones”, provides:
By agreement, the parties to a conflict may establish certain zones where civilians, the sick and wounded, or other noncombatants may gather to be safe from attack. A party to conflict cannot establish such a zone by itself; neutralized zones need only be respected if established by agreement between the parties, either oral or written, or by parallel declarations. Such an agreement may be concluded either before or during hostilities.
United States forces need not respect such a zone unless the United States has agreed to respect it. Even in an unrecognized zone, of course, only legitimate military objectives … may be attacked. 
United States, Air Force Pamphlet 110-34, Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Armed Conflict, Judge Advocate General, US Department of the Air Force, 25 July 1980, § 3-6(b).
United States of America
The US Naval Handbook (1995) states: “When established by agreement between the belligerents, hospital zones and neutralized zones are immune from bombardment in accordance with the terms of the agreement concerned.” 
United States, The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations, NWP 1-14M/MCWP 5-2.1/COMDTPUB P5800.7, issued by the Department of the Navy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and Headquarters, US Marine Corps, and Department of Transportation, US Coast Guard, October 1995 (formerly NWP 9 (Rev. A)/FMFM 1-10, October 1989), § 8.5.1.5; see also § 8.6.2.2 (protected places and objects).
United States of America
The US Naval Handbook (2007) states: “When established by agreement between the belligerents, hospital zones and neutralized zones are immune from bombardment in accordance with the terms of the agreement concerned.” 
United States, The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations, NWP 1-14M/MCWP 5-12.1/COMDTPUB P5800.7, issued by the Department of the Navy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and Headquarters, US Marine Corps, and Department of Homeland Security, US Coast Guard, July 2007, § 8.9.1.5.
The Handbook also states: “The [1949] Geneva Conventions recognize the special status of the ICRC and have assigned specific tasks for it to perform, including … offering its ‘good offices’ to facilitate the establishment of hospital and safety zones.” 
United States, The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations, NWP 1-14M/MCWP 5-12.1/COMDTPUB P5800.7, issued by the Department of the Navy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and Headquarters, US Marine Corps, and Department of Homeland Security, US Coast Guard, July 2007, § 6.2.2.
Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia’s Military Manual (1998) contains provisions regarding the establishment of and respect for hospital and safety zones and neutralized zones, which mirror the relevant provisions of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. 
Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of, Propisi o Primeri Pravila Medjunarodnog Ratnog Prava u Oruzanim Snagama SFRJ, PrU-2, Savezni Sekretarijat za Narodnu Odbranu (Pravna Uprava), 1988, §§ 83–84.
Colombia
Under Colombia’s Penal Code (2000), it is a war crime to attack or destroy, without imperative military necessity, “hospital zones … properly marked with the distinctive emblems of the red cross or red crescent”. 
Colombia, Penal Code, 2000, Article 155.
Denmark
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (1973), as amended in 1978, provides:
Any person who uses war instruments or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or the general rules of international law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. a fine, lenient imprisonment or up to 12 years’ imprisonment]. 
Denmark, Military Criminal Code, 1973, as amended in 1978, § 25(1).
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (2005) provides:
Any person who deliberately uses war means [“krigsmiddel”] or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or international customary law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. imprisonment up to life imprisonment]. 
Denmark, Military Criminal Code, 2005, § 36(2).
Finland
Finland’s Criminal Code (1889), as amended in 2008, provides that any person who “attacks … places used for … medical treatment” shall be “sentenced for a war crime to imprisonment for at least one year or for life”. 
Finland, Criminal Code, 1889, as amended in 2008, Chapter 11, Section 5(1)(10).
(emphasis in original)
France
France’s Penal Code (1992), as amended in 2010, states in its section on war crimes common to both international and non-international armed conflicts:
Intentionally launching attacks against … hospitals and places where the wounded and sick are collected, provided that they are not used for military purposes, is punishable by 20 years’ imprisonment. 
France, Penal Code, 1992, as amended in 2010, Article 461-13.
Italy
Italy’s Law of War Decree (1938), as amended in 1992, provides:
A royal decree can establish rules to guarantee, on the basis of reciprocity, respect for and protection of towns or localities used exclusively by the medical services or for the protection of the civilian population. 
Italy, Law of War Decree, 1938, as amended in 1992, Article 46.
Poland
Poland’s Penal Code (1997) provides for the punishment of “any person who, during hostilities, attacks a … neutralized zone”. 
Poland, Penal Code, 1997, Article 122(1).
Spain
Spain’s Penal Code (1995) provides for the punishment of “anyone who, in the event of armed conflict, should … knowingly violate the protection due to … health and security areas [and/or] neutralized areas … which are duly identified with signs or the appropriate distinctive signals”. 
Spain, Penal Code, 1995, Article 612(1).
Spain
Spain’s Penal Code (1995), as amended in 2003, states:
Anyone who [commits any of the following acts] during armed conflict shall be punished with three to seven years’ imprisonment:
1. Knowingly violating the protection owed to … medical and safety zones. 
Spain, Penal Code, 1995, as amended on 25 November 2003, Article 612(1).
Venezuela
In 2001, in the Ballestas case, the Colombian Government requested the preventive detention and extradition of a Colombian citizen belonging to the armed group known as the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (National Liberation Army) for the crimes of rebellion, kidnapping, wrongful death, seizure and diversion of aircraft. The Chamber of Criminal Appeals of Venezuela’s Supreme Tribunal of Justice stated:
[The] … laws [of war] prohibit attacks on civilians or persons uninvolved in the conflict and on non-military targets … In order to avoid harming the latter, specific zones are drawn and some are declared off-limits: … [such as] medical and neutralized [zones]. 
Venezuela, Supreme Tribunal of Justice, Ballestas case, Judgment, 10 December 2001, p. 8.
Australia
In 2009, in a ministerial statement before the House of Representatives on the situation in Sri Lanka, Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs stated:
Australia calls on all those involved in the fighting to make protecting civilians an absolute priority: All parties must respect “safe areas” nominated by the Sri Lankan government and not fire into or out of these zones or in the vicinity of the PTK [Puthukkudiyiruppu] hospital or any other medical facility. 
Australia, House of Representatives, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ministerial statement: Situation in Sri Lanka, Hansard, 5 February 2009, p. 623.
Egypt
According to the Report on the Practice of Egypt, “Egypt thinks that protection of … demilitarized zones … consists in refraining from launching attacks against … these areas”, which implies that “attacks against such places are prohibited”. 
Report on the Practice of Egypt, 1997, Chapter 1.8.
France
According to the Report on the Practice of France, France has consistently upheld the general principle of protection of safety zones, the principle implying that it is prohibited to launch attacks or bombardments against these zones. The report notes that France was the initiator of the concept of safety zones. 
Report on the Practice of France, 1998, Chapter 1.8.
Switzerland
Switzerland’s ABC of International Humanitarian Law (2009) states:
Neutral territory/zone
Neutral territory is the territory of a State that is not party to a conflict and has chosen to remain neutral, either permanently or in relation to a given conflict.
Neutral territories are to be distinguished from neutral zones (neutralised zones, hospital and safety zones, and demilitarised zones) set aside within the territory of one or more parties to the conflict, for example to receive Wounded and sick as well as Civilians and non-combatants.
Women
International humanitarian law calls for the special protection of women. … Pregnant women and mothers of small children enjoy the same status as the sick and Wounded, being transferred to safety zones and are first in line for assistance. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, ABC of International Humanitarian Law, 2009, pp. 31 and 42.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
During the war in the South Atlantic, at the United Kingdom’s suggestion, and without any special agreement in writing, the parties to the conflict established a neutral zone at sea. This zone, called the Red Cross Box, with a diameter of approximately 20 nautical miles, was located on the high seas to the north of the islands. Without hampering military operations, it enabled hospital ships to hold position and exchange British and Argentine wounded. 
Sylvie S. Junod, Protection of the Victims of Armed Conflict: Falkland-Malvinas Islands (1982): International Humanitarian Law and Humanitarian Action, ICRC, Geneva, 2nd edition, December 1985, pp. 23–24, and 26.
Yugoslavia, Federal Republic of
According to the Report on the Practice of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, “the opinio iuris and the customary nature of rules relevant to the establishment of neutralized zones in the FRY is absolutely clear”.  
Report on the Practice of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, 1997, Chapter 1.8.
UN General Assembly
In 1970, the UN General Assembly, “bearing in mind the need for measures to ensure the better protection of human rights in armed conflicts of all types”, adopted Resolution 2675 (XXV) in which it stated that “places or areas designated for the sole protection of civilians, such as hospital zones or similar refuges, should not be the object of military operations”. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 2675 (XXV), 9 December 1970, preamble and § 7, voting record: 109-0-8-10.
Council of Europe Commission of Inquiry for the conflict in Chechnya
In 1995, the Council of Europe’s Commission of Inquiry for the conflict in Chechnya commented on UN General Assembly Resolution 2675 (XXV) relative to the protection of civilian medical establishments, saying that it did not make any distinction between international and non-international conflicts. The Commission recalled the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the UN General Assembly resolutions on the protection of civilian populations in times of armed conflict, and emphasized that one of the basic principles of the protection of civilian populations was that “places or areas designated for the sole protection of civilians, such as hospital zones or similar refuges, should not be the object of military operations”. 
Council of Europe, Commission of Inquiry for the conflict in Chechnya, Opinion, Doc. 7231, 2 February 1995, pp. 3–4.
International Conference of the Red Cross (1986)
The 25th International Conference of the Red Cross in 1986 adopted a resolution on the protection of the civilian population in armed conflicts which “encourages an expanded use of protective zones in all armed conflicts”. 
25th International Conference of the Red Cross, Geneva, 23–31 October 1986, Res. VIII, § 5.
International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (1999)
The Plan of Action for the years 2000–2003 adopted in 1999 by the 27th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent proposed that all the parties to an armed conflict take effective measures to ensure that
an attempt is made whenever possible to enhance the safety of protected persons, and in the framework of international humanitarian law or the United Nations Charter, to create a humanitarian space through the establishment of safety zones, humanitarian corridors, and other forms of special protection for civilian populations and other persons protected under international humanitarian law. 
27th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, Geneva, 31 October–6 November 1999, Res. I, Annex 2, Plan of Action for the years 2000–2003, Actions proposed for final goal 1.1, § 1(h).
No data.
ICRC
To fulfil its task of disseminating IHL, the ICRC has delegates around the world teaching armed and security forces that: “Preplanned protected zones are established by agreement between belligerent Parties … [including] hospital zones and localities.” They specify that: “This term includes in practice also the ‘safety zones and localities’.” 
Frédéric de Mulinen, Handbook on the Law of War for Armed Forces, ICRC, Geneva, 1987, § 418 and footnote.
ICRC
During Bangladesh’s war of independence, three neutralized zones were established in a college, a hospital and the Sheraton Hotel. These zones, all administered by the ICRC, were respected. 
Yves Sandoz, “The Establishment of Safety Zones for Persons Displaced Within Their Country of Origin”, in Najeeb Al-Nauimi and Richard Meese (eds.), International Legal Issues Arising Under the United Nations Decade of International Law, Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, 1995, p. 909.
ICRC
During the Vietnam War in 1975, the ICRC declared the headquarters of the Vietnamese Red Cross and a neighbouring building in Saigon as neutralized zones. These zones gave shelter to the wounded and sick, the disabled, orphans and lost children. 
Yves Sandoz, “The Establishment of Safety Zones for Persons Displaced Within Their Country of Origin”, in Najeeb Al-Nauimi and Richard Meese (eds.), International Legal Issues Arising Under the United Nations Decade of International Law, Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, 1995, p. 910.
ICRC
In 1975, in Nicosia (Cyprus), more than 2,000 civilians found shelter in three neutralized zones administered by the ICRC. 
Yves Sandoz, “The Establishment of Safety Zones for Persons Displaced Within Their Country of Origin”, in Najeeb Al-Nauimi and Richard Meese (eds.), International Legal Issues Arising Under the United Nations Decade of International Law, Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, 1995, pp. 909–910.
ICRC
In 1975, the ICRC had a neutralized zone set up in Phnom Penh (Cambodia) during the final battle for the city. Around 2,000 foreign nationals were allowed to take refuge in Le Phnom hotel, where the agreed zone was located and respected. 
Yves Sandoz, “The Establishment of Safety Zones for Persons Displaced Within Their Country of Origin”, in Najeeb Al-Nauimi and Richard Meese (eds.), International Legal Issues Arising Under the United Nations Decade of International Law, Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, 1995, pp. 910–911.
ICRC
In 1990, the ICRC issued a press release concerning the creation of a hospital zone around the premises of the Jaffna Hospital in Sri Lanka. The ICRC communicated the rules concerning the establishment of the hospital zone to both the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and stated that they were to be implemented as of 6 November 1990. The rules were as follows:
The premises of Jaffna Hospital are placed under ICRC protection. They will be regarded by the Parties as a Hospital zone:
–the compound will be clearly marked with red crosses for easy identification from the ground and the air;
–no armed personnel will be allowed within the compound;
–no military vehicle will be stationed at the entrance of the hospital compound;
–no vehicle other than those of the hospital, the Sri Lanka Red Cross and the ICRC will be admitted into the compound.
Around the Hospital, a safety area is established. The rules governing this safety area (which includes the hospital compound) are:
–the area will be clearly marked in such a way that it can be easily identified both from the ground and from the air;
–the area will remain void of any military or political installation;
–no military action will be undertaken either from or against the safety area;
–no military base, installation or position of any kind will be established or maintained within the area;
–no military personnel will be stationed and no military equipment will be stored at any time within the said area;
–no weapon will be activated from outside the safety area against persons or buildings within the safety area.
In cases of severe or persistent violation of these rules, the ICRC may unilaterally withdraw its protection of the hospital. 
ICRC, Press Release, ICRC Colombo, 6 November 1990.
ICRC
In 1992, in a position paper on the establishment of protected zones for endangered civilians in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the ICRC outlined the conditions that would need to be met in order for such zones to be established in the region. These conditions were:
– The protected zone(s) must meet appropriate hygiene standards.
– The protected zone(s) must be in an area where the necessary protection may be assumed.
– The international responsibility for such zone(s) must be clearly established.
– The parties concerned must give their agreement to the concept and to the location of the protected zone(s).
– Duly mandated international troops, such as UNPROFOR, must assure the internal and external security of this zone(s), as well as for part of the logistics.
– International organizations must help with the entire installation of the zone(s) – housing, shelter, heating, sanitation – and with the logistics. In addition, the organizations involved must take responsibility for the food deliveries, the cooking and the medical services.
The ICRC is willing and ready to offer its services to help with the establishment and running of such zones. 
ICRC, Position Paper on the Establishment of Protected Zones for Endangered Civilians in Bosnia-Herzegovina, 30 October 1992, quoted in Marco Sassòli and Antoine A. Bouvier, How Does Law Protect in War?, ICRC, Geneva, 1999, pp. 1127–1129.
ICRC
During the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, the ICRC organized meetings between the parties to the conflict with a view, inter alia, to establishing protected zones to afford special protection for the sick and wounded and other particularly vulnerable groups of non-combatants. As a result of the talks, the hospital and the Franciscan convent in Dubrovnik and the Osijek hospital were declared protected zones between mid-December 1991 and early January 1992. The parties agreed to place such zones under ICRC supervision.  
ICRC, Communication to the Press No. 92/1, Conflict in Yugoslavia. Review of ICRC activities, 2 January 1992.
ICRC
In a communication to the press issued in 1992, the ICRC condemned a number of incidents that had occurred within the protected zone of Osijek hospital and strongly urged the parties to the conflict to take all necessary measures to ensure respect for the protected zone, which could not be the object of attack in any circumstances. 
ICRC, Communication to the Press No. 92/7, Yugoslavia: Dialogue continues as plenipotentiaries meet in Geneva, 27 March 1992; Press Release No. 1710, Yugoslavia: New attack on Osijek hospital, 24 April 1992.
No data.