Practice Relating to Rule 25. Medical Personnel
Section A. Respect for and protection of medical personnel
Burundi’s Regulations on International Humanitarian Law (2007) states: “The medical personnel must be respected and protected. They may not be attacked.”
The Regulations also states: “Medical personnel … attached to armed forces must be protected so that they can pursue their tasks independently from possible or actual military operations.”
The Regulations further provides: “The protection accorded to the wounded, sick and shipwrecked extends to the medical personnel … tasked with assisting them.”
The Regulations adds:
The protection granted to the wounded would be illusionary if the civilian and military medical services, which are specifically designated to care for them, could be attacked.
The medical services … are therefore not considered as combatants or military objectives even if they wear the same uniform or insignia as the adversary.
Medical personnel … of the adversary may not be attacked.
They may not even be distracted from their activities if, at the moment of capture, they are busy with assisting the wounded.
The Regulations, referring to the “red cross on white ground”, further states that “[p]ersons and material that bear this sign are protected …[, namely] military or civilian personnel … [and] personnel attached permanently or temporarily to medical units or means of transport”.
The Regulations further states: “Captured enemy military medical personnel may not be considered as prisoners of war. But they may nonetheless be retained for the sole purpose of caring for the wounded and sick without any distinction.”
The Regulations adds: “Concerning captured enemy military medical personnel … , they must be repatriated as quickly as possible if their presence with the prisoners of war is no longer necessary.”