Practice Relating to Rule 25. Medical Personnel
France’s Disciplinary Regulations (1975), as amended, provides that soldiers in combat must respect and protect medical personnel.
France’s LOAC Summary Note (1992) provides: “The specific immunity granted to certain persons and objects by the law of war [including the personnel of military and civilian medical services] must be strictly observed … They may not be attacked.”
France’s LOAC Manual (2001) states: “The law of armed conflicts provides special protection for the following persons: … medical personnel attached to armed forces [and] civilian medical personnel.”
Under the heading “Red Cross and Red Crescent (rules of protection)”, the manual also provides: “The protection is linked to the medical purposes of the actions undertaken and finds its expression in the limitation of detention, [and] in the granting of facilities when that personnel carries out its activity”.
France’s Code of Defence (2004), as amended in 2008, states:
Combatants must respect and treat with humanity all persons protected by the applicable international conventions, as well as their objects.
… [M]edical … personnel are protected persons …
Protected persons are protected as long as they abstain from taking a direct part in hostilities.
It is prohibited for combatants to deliberately target protected persons.
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 medical personnel … displaying, in accordance with international law, the distinctive emblems provided for in the [1949 Geneva Conventions] or their  Additional Protocols is punishable by 20 years’ imprisonment.
Under the instructions given to the French armed forces for the conduct of Opération Mistral, simulating a military operation under the right of self-defence or a mandate of the UN Security Council, medical personnel shall be protected.
France’s LOAC Summary Note (1992) provides that personnel of military and civilian medical services “may not take a direct part in hostilities [and] they may only be equipped with individual arms for their own protection”.