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International Humanitarian Law and Violation of Medical Neutrality

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Chapter Summary

"Medical neutrality" is a term one will look for in vain in all of the conventions on international humanitarian law in force. International humanitarian law is designed to find its application in the turmoil of armed conflict. This chapter dwells at some length on the early history of international humanitarian law. It discusses the law applicable in international armed conflicts as codified in the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Protocol I of 1977. It also talks about the law applicable in internal armed conflicts. As is well-known, the development of international humanitarian law began in the 1860s, in the wake of the battle of Solferino (1859), a battle that had entailed a high number of casualties and had exposed the total inadequacy of the military medical services available on the scene for the care of the wounded.

Keywords: armed conflict; battle of Solferino; Geneva Conventions of 1949; international humanitarian law; medical neutrality; military medical services; Protocol I of 1977

10.1163/ej.9789004158252.i-1118.211
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