Bosnia and Herzegovina
Practice Relating to Rule 28. Medical Units
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Military Instructions (1992) provides: “Permanent medical facilities and mobile units of the medical services of armed forces must not be attacked, but have to be respected and protected.”
The instructions further state:
Medical facilities and units lose their right to protection when they offer resistance in order not to fall under the enemy’s authority. They are allowed to put up armed and other kinds of resistance to the adversary, which, in spite of the warnings, attacks them deliberately or directly.
Under the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Criminal Code (1998), it is a war crime to order that “an attack be launched against objects specifically protected by international law” or to carry out such an attack.
The Republika Srpska’s Criminal Code (2000) contains the same provision.
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Criminal Code (2003) contains the following war crimes provision:
Whoever, in violation of the rules of international law in time of war or armed conflict, orders or perpetrates … any of the following acts:
(c) Unlawful and arbitrary destruction or large-scale appropriation of material … and stocks of medical facilities or units which is not justified by military needs,
shall be punished by imprisonment for a term of not less than ten years or long-term imprisonment.
The Report on the Practice of the Republika Srpska notes that attacks on medical objects during the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina were often abusively justified on the grounds that these objects were allegedly used for military purposes.