Practice Relating to Rule 59. Improper Use of the Distinctive Emblems of the Geneva Conventions
Sri Lanka’s Geneva Conventions Act (2006) states:
(1) No person, unless authorized in writing by the Minister or by any person authorized in that behalf by the Minister, shall use or display or cause to be used or displayed for any purpose whatsoever in Sri Lanka or outside, or on board any ship or aircraft registered in Sri Lanka —
(a) the emblem of the red cross with vertical and horizontal arms of the same length on, and completely surrounded by, a white background, or the designation “Red Cross”;
(b) the emblem of the red crescent moon on and completely surrounded by, a white background, or the designation “Red Crescent”;
(c) the emblem of a red lion passing from right to left, completely surrounded by a white background, with its face turned towards the observer, holding erect in its raised right forepaw a scimita, with the upper half of the sun shooting forth rays appearing above the lions back, or the designation “Red Lion and Sun”;
(d) the emblem of a white or silver cross with vertical and horizontal arms of the same length, and completely surrounded, by a red background being the heraldic emblem of the Swiss Confederation; and
(e) a design or wording so nearly resembling any of the emblems or designations specified in paragraphs (a) to (d) above, so as to be capable of being mistaken for, or being understood as referring to, any one of those emblems or designations.
(2) If at any time subsequent to the coming into operation of this Act, any additional distinctive emblem is adopted by the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions, the Minister may by Order published in the Gazette declare any emblem as is so adopted, to be an emblem for the purposes of subsection (1) of this section, and for the use or display of which written authorisation of the Minister would be required in terms of this section.
(3) Any person who contravenes the provisions of subsection (1) of this section shall be guilty of an offence and shall on conviction after summary trial be liable to –
(a) in the case of a first offence, to a fine not exceeding five thousand rupees;
(b) in the case of a second offence, to a fine not exceeding twenty thousand rupees;
(c) in the case of a third offence, to a fine not exceeding thirty-five thousand rupees; and
(d) in the case of a subsequent offence to a fine of rupees fifty thousand and rigorous imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months.
(4) The Minister may make regulations specifying the instructions and guidelines on the use of the emblem and design and to make appropriate provisions regulating the use for the purposes of any of the Conventions set out in Schedule I, Schedule II, Schedule III and Schedule IV or of any emblem and design and any conditions or limitations, to which, any authorization granted in terms of this section shall be subject to.
(5) The prohibition contained in subsection (1) shall not apply to a trade mark registered under the law applicable prior to the date of the coming into operation of this Act: and where a person is charged with contravening the provisions of subsection (1) it shall be a defence to such person to prove, –
(a) that he was lawfully using such emblem or design from a date prior to the coming into operation of this Act;
(b) that such emblem, sign, designation or signal used in connection with such goods, had been applied to such goods before such person acquired them by some other person who had manufactured or dealt with the goods in the course of trade and had been lawfully using the same prior to the coming into operation of this Act.
(6) Where an offence against this section is committed by a body of persons, then every director, manager, secretary or other officer of such body shall be guilty of an offence unless he is able to prove that the act or omission constituting the offence was committed without his knowledge or consent and that he took all necessary steps to prevent the commission of such offence.