Medical objects are composed of :   Medical material All the equipment and supplies necessary for the functioning of medical units.   Medical ships and craft Any medical transport by water   Medical transport and transportation Any means of transportation, whether military or civilian, permanent or temporary, assigned exclusively to medical transportation and under the control of a competent authority. It may be a medical vehicle, a medical ship or craft, or a medical aircraft. Medical transports are protected by international law and may bear the distinctive emblem prescribed for that purpose. Medical transportation means the conveyance by land, water or air of the wounded, sick and shipwrecked, medical and religious personnel and medical material.   Medical unit A military or civilian establishment or other unit organized for medical purposes, namely the search for, collection, transportation, diagnosis or treatment – including first-aid treatment – of the wounded, sick and shipwrecked, or for the prevention of disease. Medical units include hospitals and other similar units, blood transfusion centres, preventive medicine centres and institutes, and the medical and pharmaceutical stores of such units. Medical units may be fixed or mobile, permanent or temporary.   Medical vehicle Any medical transport (i.e. means of medical transportation) by land.




    GCI, 19 (see ICRC updated Commentary) and 35 (see ICRC updated Commentary)

    CIHL, 28-30

protection of medical units

    HR, 27

    GCI, 19 (see ICRC updated Commentary23 (see ICRC updated Commentary)

    PI, 8/e and 12-14

    PII, 11

loss of protection

    GCI, 21 (see ICRC updated Commentary22 (see ICRC updated Commentary)



Suggested readings:   RUFIN Jean-Christophe, “The Paradoxes of Armed Protection”, in Médecins Sans Frontières (ed.), Life, Death and Aid, New York, Routledge, 1993, pp. 111-123   CASSESE Antonio, “Under What Conditions May Belligerents Be Acquitted of the Crime of Attacking an Ambulance?”, in Journal of International Criminal Justice, Vol. 6, No. 2, 2008, pp. 385-397   Further readings:   BOUVIER Antoine, “Humanitarian Protection and Armed Conflicts at Sea: Means and Methods of Identifying Protected Craft”, in SyracuseJournal of International Law and Commerce, Vol. 14, 1988, pp. 759-765.   CAUDERAY Gérald C, “Visibility of the Distinctive Emblem on Medical Establishments, Units, and Transports”, in IRRC, No. 277, July-August 1990, pp. 295-321.   CAUDERAY Gérald C., “Means of Identification for Protected Medical Transports”, in IRRC, No. 300, May-June 1994, pp. 266-278.   CAUDERAY Gerald C. & BOUVIER Antoine, Manual for the Use of Technical Means of Identifications by Hospital Ships, Coastal Rescue Craft, Other Protected Craft and Medical Aircraft, Geneva, ICRC, 1995, 196 pp.   EBERLIN Philippe, “La modernisation de la signalisation protectrice et les communications des unités et moyens de transport sanitaires”, in Studies and Essays on International Humanitarian Law and Red Cross Principles in Honour of Jean Pictet, Geneva/The Hague, ICRC/M. Nijhoff, 1984, pp. 47-75.   EBERLIN Philippe, “Underwater Acoustic Identification of Hospital Ships”, in IRRC, No. 267, November-December 1988, pp. 505-518