Practice Relating to Rule 59. Improper Use of the Distinctive Emblems of the Geneva Conventions
Sierra Leone’s Instructor Manual (2007) states:
Improper use of the emblem
The emblems are misused when used by:
a. unauthorized persons (e.g. commercial firms, non-governmental organizations etc.)
b. armed combatants on their equipments e.g. ambulances or helicopters to transport armed combatants, ammunition or to mark ammunition dumps, position[ed] to deceive their enemies.
Note that these actions are considered perfidy, a war crime that is punishable. If witnessed, it should be reported to your superior.
[emphasis in original]
Sierra Leone’s Geneva Conventions Act (2012) states:
10. Use of red cross and other emblems.
(1) Subject to this section, it shall not be lawful for any person, without the consent in writing of the Minister [of Foreign Affairs] or a person authorized in writing by the Minister to give consent under this section to use or display for any purpose whatsoever any of the following: –
(a) the emblem of a red cross with vertical and horizontal arms of the same length on, and completely surrounded by, a white ground, or the designation “Red Cross” or “Geneva Cross”
(b) the emblem of a red crescent moon on, and completely surrounded by, a white ground, or the designation “Red Crescent”
(c) the emblem in red on, and completely surrounded by, a white ground, that is to say, a lion passing from right to left of, and with its face turned towards, the observer, holding erect in its raised right forepaw a scimitar, with appearing above the lion’s back, the upper half of the sun shooting forth rays, or the designation “Red Lion and Sun”
(d) any design consisting of a white or silver cross with vertical and horizontal arms of the same length on, and completely surrounded by, a red ground, being the heraldic emblem of the Swiss Confederation;
(h) any emblem or designation protected under any additional protocol to the [1949 Geneva] Convention[s] to which the Republic of Sierra Leone is a party;
(i) any design, wording or signal so nearly resembling any of the emblems, designations, signs or signals specified in paragraph (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), (g) or (h) as to be capable of being mistaken for, or, as the case may be, understood as referring to, one of those emblems, designations, signs or signals;
(4) A person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding fifty million leones or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years or to both the fine and imprisonment.
(5) Where a person is convicted of an offence under subsection (1), the court may in addition to the term of imprisonment or fine order the forfeiture to the State, the goods in connection with which the emblem was used by that person.
(6) Where an offence under this section is committed by a body of persons –
(a) in the case of a body corporate every director or officer of that body corporate commits that offence; and
(b) in the case of a firm or partnership, every partner commits that offence.
(7) A person shall not be convicted of an offence by virtue of subsection (6) if it is proved that the offence was committed without that person’s knowledge, connivance or that due diligence was exercised by that person to prevent the commission of the offence.