Practice Relating to Rule 59. Improper Use of the Distinctive Emblems of the Geneva Conventions
Italy’s IHL Manual (1991) provides that it is prohibited “to use improperly … the distinctive signs of the Red Cross and Red Crescent [or] of other authorized relief societies”.
The manual also states that grave breaches of international conventions and protocols, including “the improper … use of international protective signs”, constitute war crimes.
Italy’s Law of War Decree (1938), as amended in 1992, emphasizes that it is prohibited “to use improperly … the distinctive signs of the Red Cross, of the other authorized relief societies, of hospital ships and of medical aircraft”.
Italy’s Law concerning the Unlawful Use of the Emblem (1912) punishes “anyone who, without authorization of the Government, adopts, as emblem, the red cross on a white ground, or makes use of the designation ‘Red Cross’ or ‘Geneva Cross’”.
Italy’s Wartime Military Penal Code (1941) punishes anyone who “uses improperly … the distinctive sign of the Red Cross”.