Règle correspondante
Colombia
Practice Relating to Rule 25. Medical Personnel
Colombia’s Circular on Fundamental Rules of IHL (1992) states that the protection due to the wounded and sick “also covers, as such, medical personnel”. 
Colombia, Transcripción Normas Fundamentales del Derecho Humanitario Aplicables en los Conflictos Armados, Circular No. 033/DIPL-SERPO-526, Policía Nacional, Dirección General, Santafé de Bogotá, 14 May 1992, § 3.
Colombia’s Basic Military Manual (1995) states that it is prohibited “to attack … medical and aid personnel”. 
Colombia, Derecho Internacional Humanitario – Manual Básico para las Personerías y las Fuerzas Armadas de Colombia, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, 1995, p. 29, § 2.a.
Colombia’s Operational Law Manual (2009) states:
i. Medical personnel
“Medical personnel exclusively assigned to medical duties must be respected and protected in all circumstances. They will lose their protection if they commit, outside their humanitarian function, acts harmful to the enemy.” The duty to “respect” implies “not to attack”, and in the case of protection of medical personnel, it means that they shall be granted “all available help for the performance of their duties”.
This rule is applicable in both international and non-international armed conflicts and covers both civilian and military medical personnel in all circumstances. Intentionally directing attacks against personnel displaying the distinctive emblems of the [1949] Geneva Conventions is both a crime under national law and a war crime.
The notion of “medical personnel” refers to personnel assigned exclusively “to the search for, collection, transportation, diagnosis or treatment, including first-aid treatment, of the wounded, sick and shipwrecked, as well as to the prevention of disease, the administration of medical units or to the operation or administration of medical transports. Such assignments may be either permanent or temporary.” If the assignment is temporary, medical personnel will be protected only for the duration of the assignment.
Medical personnel lose their protection when they engage in hostile acts outside their humanitarian function or commit acts harmful to the enemy. However, “neither the mere caring for enemy wounded and sick military personnel nor the sole wearing of enemy military uniforms or bearing of its insignia can be considered a hostile act.” 
Colombia, Manual de Derecho Operacional Manual FF.MM. 3-41 Público, Primera Edición 2009, Comando General de las Fuerzas Militares, aprobado por el Comandante General de las Fuerzas Armadas por Disposición Número 056, 7 December 2009, pp. 42–44.
[footnotes in original omitted]
The manual also states
4. Rules of engagement
c. Definitions
(i) Definitions for rules of engagement for land combat …
- Protected persons: Protected persons are the following: … (v) medical personnel[.] 
Colombia, Manual de Derecho Operacional Manual FF.MM. 3-41 Público, Primera Edición 2009, Comando General de las Fuerzas Militares, aprobado por el Comandante General de las Fuerzas Armadas por Disposición Número 056, 7 December 2009, pp. 103, 107 and 109.
Colombia’s Emblem Decree (1998) lists as persons who must be protected:
medical, paramedical and aid society personnel, members of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and persons who, permanently or temporarily, provide humanitarian services and transports of medicine, food and humanitarian aid in situations of armed conflict or natural disaster. 
Colombia, Emblem Decree, 1998, Article 10.
Under Colombia’s Penal Code (2000), it is a punishable act to “hinder or prevent, at the occasion of and during armed conflict, medical, health and aid personnel … from carrying out the medical and humanitarian tasks assigned to them by the norms of International Humanitarian Law”. 
Colombia, Penal Code, 2000, Article 153.
Colombia’s Decree No. 138 (2005), which implements the Emblem Law (2004), states:
All authorities and persons in Colombia must protect the medical … personnel of the public forces [i.e. the armed forces and the police], the civilian medical personnel [as well as] the medical, paramedical and relief personnel who permanently or temporarily carry out humanitarian tasks in situations of armed conflict. 
Colombia, Decree No. 138, 2005, Article 16.
In 2007, in the Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, the Plenary Chamber of Colombia’s Constitutional Court stated that the obligation in the 1977 Additional Protocol II to respect and protect medical personnel “has attained customary status, mainly due to its impact on State practice and on conflicts in the last decades”. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, Judgment of 25 April 2007, p. 69; see also p. 119.
In 2010, in the Fuentes Montaño case, the Criminal Appeals Chamber of Colombia’s Supreme Court of Justice revised the first and second instance judgments to qualify as murder of protected persons the crime of which the defendant had been convicted. The Court held:
The murder of protected persons became part of domestic law through Article 135, contained in Title II of Law No. 599 of 2000 [Colombia’s Penal Code], under the heading “Offences against persons and objects protected under international humanitarian law”. The article contains the following definition:
… For the purposes of this article and the other rules of the present Title, it is understood that protected persons according to international humanitarian law include:
4. Medical or religious personnel. 
Colombia, Supreme Court of Justice, Fuentes Montaño case, Judgment, 27 January 2010, pp. 24–25.
In 2010, in the El Iguano case, the Justice and Peace Chamber of Colombia’s High District Court of Bogotá convicted a member of the paramilitary group Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia) of several crimes committed against the civilian population. The Court stated:
[T]he protected persons mentioned in article 135 of the [2000] Penal Code [on the prohibition of killing protected persons during an armed conflict] fall into these categories: … 3) medical or religious personnel, [pursuant to] article 9 of the [1977] Additional Protocol II. 
Colombia, High District Court of Bogotá, El Iguano case, Judgment, 2 December 2010, § 216.
In 2008, in its Comprehensive Human Rights and IHL Policy, the Ministry of National Defence of Colombia stated:
121. The constitutional mandate which requires the National Security Forces to guarantee people’s rights and freedoms also carries an obligation to adopt measures in relation to special groups whose needs have to be addressed in specific ways … in accordance with Article 13 of the Constitution. Indigenous peoples, persons of African descent, displaced persons, women, children, victims of forced disappearance, human rights activists, trade unionists, journalists, members of the Medical Mission and persons covered by precautionary measures and provisional measures under the Inter-American Human Rights System are amongst the sectors of the population identified as groups whose needs must be specifically addressed.
122. The Ministry of Defence issues directives identifying the individual and collective rights of these groups and the special duties and obligations of the State in relation to them. It also issues general preventive and protective guidelines which must be disseminated at all levels by the National Security Forces. …
123. While it is the duty of every Colombian citizen to defend and promote human rights as the basis of peaceful co-existence, this duty becomes even more emphatic when those concerned enjoy collective rights recognized by international human rights instruments and are the subject of special measures. For that reason the Comprehensive Policy is aimed at giving special protection to those groups through special guidelines and instructions issued to the National Security Forces.
124. The National Security Forces have made great progress in addressing the particular needs of special groups and communities: in many parts of Colombia they have managed to initiate more harmonious relations and to deal more closely with those needs. To consolidate this work, the following strategies will be pursued:
- Attention to special groups: The programme for dealing with these groups considers their complaints and if there is evidence of infringements of human rights or IHL, proposes amicable agreements and encourages full reparation. It also formulates special protection policies for these groups and conducts workshops and training courses both for groups requiring specific attention to their needs, and for the National Security Forces.
- Liaison officers: These officers will help to create closer links between the community and the troops at brigade level, or its equivalent in the other services, thereby facilitating collaboration that is harmonious and respectful on matters relating to human rights and IHL. 
Colombia, Ministry of National Defence, Comprehensive Human Rights and IHL Policy, January 2008, §§ 121–124; see also § 46.
In 2008, in its fourth periodic report to the Committee against Torture, Colombia stated:
136. In the period 2002–2006, on the basis of discussion with civil society organizations represented by health sector associations, governmental organizations and some representatives of the academic community, the principles of protection and respect for the medical profession have been incorporated into public policies on human rights and IHL.
137. In that context, a permanent working group on the medical profession has been set up. …
138. In that framework, work has been done on such lines of action as training in the application of IHL to the medical profession for military and health personnel and the civilian population in respect of the relevant rights, duties, obligations and rules protecting the exercise of the medical profession; support for the medical profession as a whole, which, in the course of its activities or in the development of its social action, has been the victim of attacks by organized paramilitary armed groups; establishment of the Medical Profession Observatory; creation of medical staff protection, care and stabilization mechanisms and encouragement and pursuit of related research; generalization of the use of the symbol signifying IHL protection for various goods; issuance, and training in the proper use, of medical and health staff cards; and use of the media to raise awareness of the role of the medical profession, health workers and health infrastructure.
139. In the area of reducing the effects of the violence exercised by organized paramilitary armed groups on health workers, facilities and means of transport, the State, civil society and health sector jointly face a number of challenges, including the following: [e]nsuring that the armed groups meet IHL standards; training health workers in the rules and principles which protect medical work; and encouraging an attitude of rejection towards offences committed against the medical profession. 
Colombia, Fourth periodic report to the Committee against Torture, 21 February 2008, UN Doc. CAT/C/COL/4, submitted on 21 January 2008, §§ 136–139.
In 2008, in its sixth periodic report to the Human Rights Committee, Colombia stated:
200. The state democratic security policy, which guided Government actions during the reporting period, provides for strengthening the rule of law throughout the country as a means to protect the entire population against human rights violations and breaches of international humanitarian law. However, inasmuch as some Colombians are in a situation of special vulnerability which requires special attention by the State, the Government has worked to strengthen programmes geared to the protection of that population, without neglecting the preventive perspective.
211. Protection Programme. In the area of protection, we should note the strengthening of the Protection Programme, unique in the world, created in 1997 as a result of a joint effort between Government and civil society to protect certain population groups particularly vulnerable to the actions [of] illegal armed organizations in regard to their rights to life, integrity, liberty and personal security.
212. Initially, this programme sought to protect rights to life, integrity, personal liberty and security of trade union leaders and leaders of human rights NGOs, but its coverage has been extended to the following population groups:
a) Leaders and activists of political groups, opposition groups, social, civic, community, trade-union, farm and ethnic associations, human rights NGOs and members of the medical mission[.] 
Colombia, Sixth periodic report to the Human Rights Committee, 2 June 2009, UN Doc. CCPR/C/COL/6, submitted 10 December 2008, §§ 200 and 211–212.
In 2010, in its Directive No. 11 providing guidance for judicial attorneys and disciplinary officials regarding the crime of murder of protected persons, Colombia’s Attorney General stated:
[The] passive subject [of the crime of murder of protected persons is] any person who has the status of a protected person. Article 135 [of the Colombian Criminal Code], in accordance with international humanitarian law, considers as protected persons … medical … personnel. 
Colombia, Attorney General of the Nation, Directive No. 11, Guidance Regarding the Crime of Murder of Protected Persons, 14 July 2010, p. 2. See a similar statement in Directive No. 16 of the Attorney General of the Nation, Guidance Regarding the Crime of Murder of Protected Persons, 14 October 2010, p. 2.