Practice Relating to Rule 28. Medical Units
Norway’s Military Penal Code (1902), as amended in 1981, provides:
Anyone who contravenes or is accessory to the contravention of provisions relating to the protection of persons or property laid down in … the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 … [and in] the two additional protocols to these Conventions … is liable to imprisonment.
Norway’s Penal Code (1902), as amended in 2008, states: “Any person is liable to punishment for a war crime who in connection with an armed conflict … directs an attack against … hospitals and places where the sick and wounded are collected”.
In 1980, during a debate in the UN Security Council concerning an attack on UNIFIL headquarters in southern Lebanon, Norway strongly condemned “the deliberate shelling on the United Nations field hospital, which under international law enjoys special protection. The fact that that hospital serves the civilian population as well makes the matter even more serious.”
In 2009, in a statement on Gaza before the UN General Assembly, the permanent representative of Norway stated: “Norway also strongly condemns Israel’s shelling of the al-Quds Hospital of the Palestinian Red Crescent. Such attacks are completely unacceptable and contrary to international law.”
For more than 150 years, the international community has been in agreement that warfare should be made less inhumane, through the rules and principles of international humanitarian law. Civilians should be protected in armed conflict. … However, these rules and principles are challenged and sometimes even ignored. … This is for instance the case in Syria (and Iraq) where hospitals … are being made the actual targets of warfare. This must stop.