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C. Protection of Medical Personnel and Transports

The articles on this subject were, as previously observed,[1] close to readiness for adoption at the two Conferences of Government Experts. At the Diplomatic Conference, whatever momentum there had once been seemed, save in one respect, to have been lost. Four articles on definition, field of application, general protection and care, and general protection of persons were discussed in Committee II; three were referred to the drafting committee; and the drafting committee reported out one article and one paragraph of another article, which were not acted upon by the Committee.[2] This appallingly slow pace seemed to be attributable to debate over quidities and refined lawyers’ points in the draft. The subject-matter was neutral, not tainted by the political concerns that dominated much of the other discussions in the Conference. One might even go so far as to say that the debates reflected the triumph of legalism over humanitarianism. A Technical Sub-Committee was the only body of the Conference to complete the task assigned to it—in this case the drafting of a technical annex of fifteen articles dealing with the identification and marking of medical and civil defense personnel, units, and means of transport.[3] The subject was primarily of interest to those countries with advanced technology. The articles covered such matters as a radio identification sign of “MEDICAL,” the use of flashing blue lights to identify medical aircraft, and frequencies for radio identification of medical aircraft. These articles have yet to be approved by the Committee itself.

  • [1] 59 Report of Committee II, Doc. CDDH/49 . 4 Id., Annex II.
  • [2] 61 Canadian Draft Protocol to the Geneva Conventions of1949 Relative to Conflicts Not International
  • [3] in Character, prepared and submitted by the Canadian Experts, Doc. CE/Plen. 2 bis, in I.C.R^C.,
 
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