Practice Relating to Rule 25. Medical Personnel
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) provides:
Medical personnel are those persons, military or civilian, assigned exclusively to medical purposes or to the administration of medical units or the operation or administration of medical transports, and such assignment may be permanent or temporary. In addition to doctors, dentists, nurses, medical orderlies, hospital administrators and the like, attached to the forces or military and civilian establishments, there are included the personnel of national Red Cross and other voluntary aid societies recognised and authorized by a Party to the conflict, medical personnel attached to civil defence units, and any persons made available for humanitarian purposes by a neutral State, a recognised and authorised aid society of such State, or an impartial international humanitarian organisation.
Protection and respect must be extended to persons regularly and solely engaged in the operation and administration of civilian hospitals. Included in this category are persons engaged in the search for, removal, transport and care of wounded and sick civilians, the infirm, and maternity cases.
Other persons engaged in the operation and administration of civilian hospitals are entitled to protection … while employed on their duties.
With respect to non-international armed conflict in particular, the manual states: “Medical … personnel are to be respected and protected at all times, receiving all available aid to enable them to fulfil their duties.”
At the CDDH, New Zealand, supported by Austria, stated that the definitions provided by the 1977 Additional Protocol I could not be applied to the 1949 Geneva Conventions and considered that Committee II of the CDDH “was not competent to take a decision affecting the 1949 Geneva conventions”.