Practice Relating to Rule 109. Search for, Collection and Evacuation of the Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked
Colombia’s Circular on Fundamental Rules of IHL (1992) provides that the “parties to the conflict shall collect and assist the wounded and sick in their power”.
Colombia’s Basic Military Manual (1995) states: “The wounded and sick must be collected”.
Colombia’s Instructors’ Manual (1999) provides: “The wounded, sick and shipwrecked shall be collected”.
Colombia’s Soldiers’ Manual (1999) provides that wounded enemy combatants shall be collected.
Colombia’s Operational Law Manual (2009) states:
The First Responder must follow a strict procedure that ensures his or her safety and avoids any contamination of the scene. The First Responder must:
- confirm the existence of wounded persons … and identify them.
Colombia’s Penal Code (2000) provides for the punishment of “anyone who, during an armed conflict, … abandons the wounded and sick”.
In 2005, in the Constitutional Case No. C-203/05, the Plenary Chamber of Colombia’s Constitutional Court stated:
In accordance with [Article 3 common to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949] … , in cases of non-international armed conflicts in the territory of one of the Parties, each party to the conflict shall be bound to apply certain minimum guarantees without affecting their legal status as parties to the conflict, including: … The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.
In 2007, in the Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, the Plenary Chamber of Colombia’s Constitutional Court stated:
Taking into account … the development of customary international humanitarian law applicable in internal armed conflicts, the Constitutional Court notes that the fundamental guarantees stemming from the principle of humanity, some of which have attained ius cogens
status, … [include] the obligation to collect … the wounded and sick.
[footnote in original omitted]