Practice Relating to Rule 109. Search for, Collection and Evacuation of the Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands states: “Particularly after an engagement, wounded and sick shall be searched for and collected”.
The manual adds: “Whenever circumstances permit, a cease-fire or a suspension of fire should be sought to enable the … removal of the wounded”.
In the case of non-international armed conflicts, the manual states that the “wounded, sick and shipwrecked must be searched for and collected”.
The Military Handbook (1995) of the Netherlands provides that the “wounded … shall be searched for and collected when the circumstances permit it”.
The IFOR Instructions (1995) of the Netherlands instruct soldiers to “collect the wounded … whether friend or foe”.
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states: “After a battle, in particular, the wounded and sick must be searched for and collected. As soon as circumstances permit, a truce or ceasefire must be sought … to facilitate the collection, exchange and removal of the wounded …”.
In its chapter on non-international armed conflict, the manual states: “The dead, the wounded, the sick and shipwreck survivors must be searched for and collected.”
In its chapter on peace operations, the manual states: “The peace force must offer the opportunity, circumstances permitting, (e.g., by creating a ceasefire), for the wounded and dead to be found, collected, identified and removed.”
In 2005, in reply to written questions concerning, inter alia, the treatment of wounded persons in Afghanistan, the Minister of Defence of the Netherlands stated:
If persons are wounded during actions in which Dutch soldiers are involved, then they will be treated in accordance with international humanitarian law. International humanitarian law contains, amongst others, the obligation to take all possible measures to trace the wounded and sick.