Practice Relating to Rule 31. Humanitarian Relief Personnel
Norway’s Military Penal Code (1902), as amended in 1981, provides:
Anyone who contravenes or is accessory to the contravention of provisions relating to the protection of persons or property laid down in … the two additional protocols to [the 1949 Geneva] Conventions … is liable to imprisonment.
Norway’s Penal Code (1902), as amended in 2008, states:
Any person is liable to punishment for a war crime who in connection with an armed conflict … directs an attack against personnel … involved in a humanitarian assistance … mission … as long as they are entitled to the protection given to civilians … under international law.
In 2006, during a debate in the UN Security Council regarding the situation in Lebanon and Gaza, the Norwegian Minister for Foreign Affairs stated: “[H]umanitarian and relief workers must be given unrestricted and safe access both for themselves and for relief supplies.”
In 2010, in an opening address at a Workshop on International Humanitarian Law and the Protection of Civilians, Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs stated:
Attacks on humanitarian workers and the denial of humanitarian assistance have grave consequences for civilians caught up in armed conflicts.
We must remain focused on the humanitarian space needed to protect civilians. And we must safeguard the values of humanitarian assistance, regardless of the underlying cause of any given armed conflict.