1 History 2 Governing rules 3 See also 4 References 5 External links
By the middle of the 19th century, modern warfare had become
increasingly indiscriminate. It was not uncommon for a combat medic on
the field of battle to be fired upon and to die while collecting and
caring for the wounded. There was a growing recognition of the need to
distinguish medical personnel from combatants, to make it easier for
military commanders to avoid and protect them. Allowing each
country to develop its own emblem would have led to confusion. What
was needed to save lives was a single neutral emblem that all
countries recognized and used equally.
The 1864 Geneva Convention establishes that a distinctive emblem
should be worn by medical personnel on the field of battle as an
indication of their humanitarian mission and their neutral status.
At that time, the chosen symbol was a red cross on a white background.
Muslim nations have objected to this symbol due to its resemblance to
the Christian cross. As early as 1876, the
They may be perceived as having religious, cultural or political
connotations. This perception conflicts with neutral, humanitarian
status of medical personnel in armed conflicts.
These emblems are tied to membership in the National Societies.
Members are required to use the red cross or red crescent emblem.
Magen David Adom
This map shows the current status of Geneva Protocol three, recognizing the Red Crystal as an ICRC emblem, by country: Green - signed and ratified, Yellow - signed only, Gray - neither signed nor ratified.
In 2005, an international delegation finally achieved a comprehensive
solution to these difficulties with the adoption of Protocol III.
Magen David Adom
Norwegian medics wearing a protective emblem
Article 2 of this brief protocol recognizes an additional distinctive emblem, the Red Crystal, that may be used in addition to, and for the same purposes as, the Red Cross and Red Crescent symbols. All three emblems are appointed the same legal status. There are two distinct uses that are recognized for all three emblems:
Protective use. Medical and religious personnel may mark themselves, their vehicles, ships and buildings as a sign of their humanitarian mission and protected status under the Geneva Conventions, particularly the First Geneva Convention. The protections of the Geneva Convention do not depend on the wearing of the emblem. The emblems are merely a visible sign of the protected status of individuals. Members of the armed forces may use these markings at all times. Civilian institutions such as hospitals may use these markings temporarily, within the context of an armed conflict. Indicative use. Members of the movement may wear the emblems in both times of conflict and times of peace as an indication of their membership.
Misuse of these emblems is prohibited by international law. Misuse may diminish their protective value and undermine the effectiveness of humanitarian workers. Use of one of the emblems in order to protect combatants and military equipment with the intent of misleading an adversary, is perfidy, and is considered a war crime. See also
List of parties to the Geneva Conventions: includes a list of states that signed and a list of states that have ratified Protocol III
^ Bugnion, Francois (2000). Towards a comprehensive solution to the
question of the emblem. International Committee of the Red Cross.
^ Pictet, Jean (1958).
Committee of the Red Cross: Full text of
v t e
First Geneva Convention Second Geneva Convention Third Geneva Convention Fourth Geneva Convention
Protocol I Protocol II Protocol III