Règle correspondante
Switzerland
Practice Relating to Rule 25. Medical Personnel
Switzerland’s Basic Military Manual (1987) states: “Medical … personnel must be respected and protected in all circumstances. They may not be attacked or prevented from carrying out their duties.” It defines medical personnel as including persons specially and exclusively assigned to the care of the wounded and sick, such as doctors, nurses and stretcher-bearers; administrative staff of medical units and establishments such as hospital administrators, drivers and cooks; chaplains and temporary medical personnel. 
Switzerland, Lois et coutumes de la guerre (Extrait et commentaire), Règlement 51.7/II f, Armée Suisse, 1987, Article 78(1) and commentary.
Switzerland’s Aide-Memoire on the Ten Basic Rules of the Law of Armed Conflict (2005) states: “I spare and respect personnel and installations as well as equipment and means of transport of the medical services … without discrimination unless they open fire on my comrades or me.” 
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, Rule 7.
The Aide-Memoire further states with regard to the protective signs of the red cross and red crescent:
Correct behaviour
- Personnel, installations, material and means of transport of the medical services as well as carriers
of signs or objects marked with distinctive signs must be respected and spared;
 
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.
Switzerland’s Regulation on Legal Bases for Conduct during an Engagement (2005) states:
12. The principle of distinction
159 Hostilities must be directed exclusively against combatants and military objectives. …
3 Protected persons are persons who are not or no longer taking part in combat or enjoy specially protected status, such as medical and religious personnel, civil protection or cultural property protection personnel, as well as wounded persons and prisoners of war.
13 Protected persons
13.1 Behaviour with regard to the wounded, sick and shipwrecked and medical and religious personnel
176 Medical personnel, equipment and means of transport as well as localities used by the military service must be spared and must not be hindered in the fulfilment of their mission.
177 The red cross and the red crescent on a white ground represent a distinctive emblem. Civilian and military medical personnel must be enabled to carry out their duties at all times. Civilian and military medical personnel who do not participate in hostilities must be protected at all times, even when wearing no distinctive emblem or no distinctive emblem that has been officially recognized by the Conventions.
178 For their own protection, medical personnel may be armed with a personal weapon (e.g. assault rifle, submachine gun, pistol). Explosive weapons and collective weapons are prohibited. Medical personnel do not participate in hostilities, except for their own protection or for the protection of the patients in their care. Nor must they be engaged in other harmful acts (e.g. intelligence services).
179 Enemy medical personnel may be retained for as long as they are needed for the care of patients. Superiors make the necessary arrangements.
15 Methods of warfare
15.2 Prohibited methods of warfare
225 Indiscriminate attacks, i.e. attacks which cannot distinguish between protected persons/objects and military objectives, as well as attacks directed against protected persons/objects or acts of revenge are prohibited in any place and at any time.
17 Sanctions for violations of the international law of armed conflict
17.1 General provisions
237 The following in particular are criminal offences: … harmful acts against internationally protected persons and objects[.] 
Switzerland, Bases légales du comportement à l’engagement (BCE), Règlement 51.007/IVf, Swiss Army, issued based on Article 10 of the Ordinance on the Organization of the Federal Department for Defence, Civil Protection and Sports of 7 March 2003, entry into force on 1 July 2005, §§ 159(3), 176–179, 225 and 237.
Switzerland’s Ordinance on the Red Cross Service (2006) states:
Article 1 Object and scope of application
1 The present ordinance regulates:
a. the attribution of the members of the Red Cross Service (RCS) to the army;
c. the rights and duties of the RCS that depart from military law;
2 For the rest, the members of the RCS have the same rights and the same duties as the military.
Article 2 Attribution and tasks
1 Members of the RCS are assigned to the army as specialists. They carry out their tasks within the framework of the army’s medical service.
2 Within the framework of the instruction, peace support and assistance services and within the framework of the active service, they support:
a. the nursing services;
b. the medical, dental and pharmaceutical services;
c. the medico-technical and medico-therapeutic services.
3 They are responsible for promoting the fundamental rules of international humanitarian law and the principles of the Red Cross. 
Switzerland, Ordinance on the Red Cross Service, 2006, Articles 1–2.
Switzerland’s ABC of International Humanitarian Law (2009) states:
Emblems (distinctive sign)
In Armed conflicts recognisable emblems serve above all to protect military and civilian medical installations as well as the buildings of national relief organisations and their personnel from attack (protective function). This protection is guaranteed not by the emblems themselves but is based directly in international law.
Prisoners of war
The medical and religious personnel who administer to prisoners must not be considered prisoners of war, although they have the right to the same treatment. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, ABC of International Humanitarian Law, 2009, pp. 18 and 34–35.
In 2009, in a statement before the UN Security Council during an open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, the permanent representative of Switzerland stated:
The current situation in Gaza cries out to us the importance of the issue we are discussing today. …
… Switzerland also wishes to recall that all the parties to the conflict are under the obligation to protect medical personnel, hospitals and other sanitary facilities. 
Switzerland, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland before the UN Security Council on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, 14 January 2009, pp. 5–6.
In 2009, in its Report on Foreign Policy, Switzerland’s Federal Council stated:
One of the primary concerns of humanitarian law and policy is to guarantee access to victims and to provide assistance to them. However, it frequently occurs … that it is impossible to ensure the security of humanitarian actors. This was once more clearly evident in the Gaza Strip at the end of 2008 and at the beginning of 2009. Switzerland called upon all the parties to the conflict … to protect medical personnel, hospitals and other medical units. 
Switzerland, Federal Council, Report on Foreign Policy 2009, 2 September 2009, Section 3.3.7.3, p. 5811.
In 2011, in a statement before the UN Security Council during an open debate on children and armed conflict, made on behalf of the Group of Friends of Children and Armed Conflict, including Switzerland, the deputy permanent representative of Canada stated:
Members of the Friends Group have reliably called on the [UN] Security Council to strengthen its protection framework even more and consistently called for all six grave violations committed against children in armed conflict to be included amongst the Security Council Resolution 1612 [of 2005] listing criteria. The Friends Group has supported a progressive approach in this regard and therefore commends the Security Council in filling an important gap in the child protection framework by including attacks against schools and hospitals as the latest trigger through the resolution it will adopt today [Resolution 1998(2011)].
For the Friends Group, a new trigger such as this not only includes in the annexes to the Secretary General’s reports on children and armed conflict those parties to armed conflict that, in contravention of applicable international law, engage in attacks against schools and hospitals, but also those who engage in threats or attacks against schoolchildren, patients, educational or medical personnel. 
Canada, Statement by the deputy permanent representative of Canada before the UN Security Council during an open debate in connection with the agenda item “Children and Armed Conflict”, made on behalf of the Group of Friends of Children and Armed Conflict, 12 July 2011.
In 2013 in a statement before the UN Human Rights Council during an interactive dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Syria and the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, the representative of Switzerland stated: “Switzerland condemns in the strongest terms deliberate attacks against medical and humanitarian personnel as well as medical installations, which, let us recall, are protected under international humanitarian law.” 
Switzerland, Statement by the representative of Switzerland before the UN Human Rights Council during an interactive dialogue with the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria and the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, 16 September 2013.
In 2013, in a statement at the 64th Session of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the ambassador of Switzerland stated: “Switzerland condemns in the strongest terms deliberate attacks against medical and humanitarian personnel as well as medical infrastructure and material. Such attacks constitute a war crime, a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and an attack on human dignity.” 
Switzerland, Statement by the ambassador of Switzerland at the 64th Session of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 1 October 2013.
In 2013, in a statement before the UN General Assembly during an interactive dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, the representative of Switzerland stated: “Switzerland condemns in the strongest terms deliberate attacks against the civilian population, including medical and humanitarian personnel, as well as against civilian, and especially medical, infrastructure. Such attacks constitute serious violations of international humanitarian law.” 
Switzerland, Statement by the representative of Switzerland before the UN General Assembly during an interactive dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, 24 October 2013.
Switzerland’s Basic Military Manual (1987) states: “Medical personnel may be armed with light weapons for its own defence.” 
Switzerland, Lois et coutumes de la guerre (Extrait et commentaire), Règlement 51.7/II f, Armée Suisse, 1987, Article 78(2); see also Article 83, commentary.
Switzerland’s Regulation on Legal Bases for Conduct during an Engagement (2005) states:
178 For their own protection, medical personnel may be armed with a personal weapon (e.g. assault rifle, submachine gun, pistol). Explosive weapons and collective weapons are prohibited. Medical personnel do not participate in hostilities, except for their own protection or for the protection of the patients in their care. Nor must they be engaged in other harmful acts (e.g. intelligence services). 
Switzerland, Bases légales du comportement à l’engagement (BCE), Règlement 51.007/IVf, Swiss Army, issued based on Article 10 of the Ordinance on the Organization of the Federal Department for Defence, Civil Protection and Sports of 7 March 2003, entry into force on 1 July 2005, § 179.
Switzerland’s Ordinance on the Red Cross Service (2006) states:
Article 1 Object and scope of application
1 The present ordinance regulates:
a. the attribution of the members of the Red Cross Service (RCS) to the army;
Article 9 Arming
1 In principle, members of the RCS carry out their tasks unarmed.
2 On request, the army can equip them with a pistol as an individual weapon and instruct them about their use. 
Switzerland, Ordinance on the Red Cross Service, 2006, Articles 1(1)(a) and 9(1)–(2).