Practice Relating to Rule 87. Humane Treatment
Section C. Wounded and sick
Switzerland’s Basic Military Manual (1987) provides that the wounded and sick shall be humanely treated. It adds that the “enemy sick and wounded who have laid down their arms or are hors de combat
shall be respected”.
In 2005, in a report in response to a parliamentary postulate on private security and military companies, Switzerland’s Federal Council stated:
International humanitarian law is aimed not only at states
. It also contains numerous provisions for individuals and even civilians to observe. Perhaps the most well known example is Article 3 common to all four Geneva Conventions
, according to which persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed “hors de combat” by sickness, wounds … or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated human[e]ly, without violence to life and person, in particular mutilation, torture and cruel treatment.
[footnote in original omitted; emphasis in original]
Switzerland’s ABC of International Humanitarian Law (2009) states:
Wounded, sick and shipwrecked
Wounded and sick are defined as members of the armed forces or Civilians
, who are in need of medical attention and who renounce all acts of hostility. … International humanitarian law calls on all parties to a conflict to treat the wounded and sick in a humane way, i.e. to shelter, rescue and protect them and to provide medical care. No distinction is to be made, except of a medical nature, and Women are given special consideration. The same rules apply to shipwrecked persons, i.e. to all members of the armed forces and civilians in danger at sea or in any other body of water.