Practice Relating to Rule 35. Hospital and Safety Zones and Neutralized Zones
Switzerland’s Military Manual (1984) states that it is forbidden for any troop member to enter hospital and safety zones and neutralized zones.
Switzerland’s Basic Military Manual (1987) refers to Article 23 of the 1949 Geneva Convention I and provides: “The belligerent parties may at any time establish, by agreement, hospital zones and localities in order to shelter the wounded and sick, military or civilian, together with the necessary personnel, from the effects of war.”
Switzerland’s Aide-Memoire on the Ten Basic Rules of the Law of Armed Conflict (2005) states with respect to medical and security zones:
- These zones have to be respected;
- Only medical personnel, patients and civilians have access;
Prohibited is/are …
- Attacks against a marked zone;
- The presence of combatants, introduction of military equipment (with the exception of the equipment of the military medical services).
Switzerland’s ABC of International Humanitarian Law (2009) states:
Neutral territory is the territory of a State that is not party to a conflict and has chosen to remain neutral, either permanently or in relation to a given conflict.
Neutral territories are to be distinguished from neutral zones (neutralised zones, hospital and safety zones, and demilitarised zones) set aside within the territory of one or more parties to the conflict, for example to receive Wounded and sick as well as Civilians and non-combatants.
International humanitarian law calls for the special protection of women. … Pregnant women and mothers of small children enjoy the same status as the sick and Wounded, being transferred to safety zones and are first in line for assistance.