Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Military Aviation
Reload this Page >

Armed MEDEVAC versus the Geneva Convention

Military Aviation A forum for the professionals who fly military hardware. Also for the backroom boys and girls who support the flying and maintain the equipment, and without whom nothing would ever leave the ground. All armies, navies and air forces of the world equally welcome here.

Armed MEDEVAC versus the Geneva Convention

Old 19th Jan 2012, 14:42
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Secret airbase in Cranwell
Posts: 21
Armed MEDEVAC versus the Geneva Convention

Found this link which raises some interesting questions with regards to the use of armed MEDEVAC and the Geneva Convention. It would appear that in order to 'comply' with the Geneva Convention, US Army MEDEVAC "Dustoffs' display the Red Cross and are unarmed, thus requiring an armed escort. This therefore implies, from a US Army perspective, that other nations (including the UK) who fly unmarked, armed MEDEVAC missions are not complying. Whilst obviously an issue of 'interpretation' it will be interesting to see if the US Army adjusts its CONOPs as a result of the letter.

http://www.michaelyon-online.com/ima...01-17-2012.pdf

It also appears to raise the interesting question that if our adversaries do not recognise the Geneva Convention then why should we be 'shackled' by certain aspects of it.
Startrek3 is offline  
Old 19th Jan 2012, 22:11
  #2 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: bristol
Age: 51
Posts: 1,053
I only have experience on land based military ambulance matters, but can't really see any contradiction of the convention in what the UK do.

The baddies are not bothered about the convention it seems, and even if they were, could they really tell if the dustoff was on the way to or from an unseen casualty?
The Brit army used to (don't know if they still do) put foldable red crosses on their ambulances, but to be honest who in their right mind would want to go to the outside of a chinook and unfold a red cross to show they were not to be shot at once they had picked up a casualty
barnstormer1968 is offline  
Old 19th Jan 2012, 22:35
  #3 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: YES
Posts: 779
The reason the British military don't use red cross marked Helecopters is we don't have enough Helecopters to have 24/7 dedicated platforms. so an IRT Helecopter unlike a Dustoff can carry out other missions.
A medic contary to popular belief may be armed with personal weapon to defend themself and their casualty.
NURSE is offline  
Old 19th Jan 2012, 22:38
  #4 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: where-ever nav's chooses....
Posts: 652
You can have a big red cross and be armed, IAW Art 21 of the First Geneva Convention. This is an internal US Army decision, probably because of equipment scales.
alfred_the_great is offline  
Old 19th Jan 2012, 22:43
  #5 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: "Deplorable but happy as a drunken Monkey!
Age: 71
Posts: 16,560
The Geneva Accords are great on paper.....given a choice of scissors, paper, or rocks....I'll take the rocks thank you!

Load the birds up with guns...let them defend themselves...and get to the wounded as quick as you can.

Jason Cunningham, AF Para Rescue, bled out on Robert's Ridge because some General in Bahrain deemed it too dangerous to send in a Medevac helicopter despite being told by troops on the ground from two separate chains of command that it was safe enough.

Political Correctness and Force Protection protocols should not get in the way of taking care of the Troops wounded in battle.

In this day and time....does any of our enemies live up to the standards of the Geneva Accords? Sort of makes the argument that we should a bit moot don't it?
SASless is offline  
Old 19th Jan 2012, 22:50
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Tarn et Garonne, Southwest France
Posts: 5,283
No. Just because our enemies disregard the Convention and most, if not all, the rules in the Law of Armed Conflict does not mean we can tooo. And we do not even need to worry about that because in this case the law is quite clear. We are interpreting it quite correctly and have every right to protect our rescue assets in whatever what we see fit. The important point of law here is that we do not use the cover of MEDEVAC to carry out any other military operation.
Courtney Mil is offline  
Old 19th Jan 2012, 22:56
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Hanging off the end of a thread
Posts: 16,502
Was a reason that all the first aid kit markings on stuff like the JP and Chippie was changed to green as it was realised that it was breaking the Convention to carry a red cross externally on a Military "warplane".
NutLoose is offline  
Old 19th Jan 2012, 23:03
  #8 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Marmaris
Age: 64
Posts: 69
Hi Nutloose,

The Green Cross is the ISO standard symbol for first aid throughout the world. The Red Cross is copyright to the Geneva Red Cross and cannot be used without said organisations permission apparently
RetiredSHRigger is offline  
Old 19th Jan 2012, 23:34
  #9 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: "Deplorable but happy as a drunken Monkey!
Age: 71
Posts: 16,560
Court,

Next time you find yourself wounded and bleeding to death....it should give you great succor to know you died according to the rules!
SASless is offline  
Old 19th Jan 2012, 23:52
  #10 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: UK
Posts: 1,120
SASless

Mate,

Courtney is agreeing with you, just disagreeing with the tone of your sign off which can read as 'let's sink to their level'. I understand your point though.

He and you are saying exactly the same thing, that mil aircraft engaged in rescue operations are permitted to be toting (and using) any self defence weaponry they want.

Your example appears to be addressing a different subject. You cite the reason for the death of the hero you name as a General's decision - nothing to do with whether or not MEDEVAC could defend themselves. I am unfamiliar with the story so don't know anymore than what you've posted.

Let's not forget that one can act in self defence of others, applicable in the case of an escort aircraft with a MEDEVAC.
orca is offline  
Old 20th Jan 2012, 00:12
  #11 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 260
Before advocating that our armed forces ignore LOAC "because our enemies don't observe it", perhaps we should make some effort to understand what LOAC actually requires.

This therefore implies, from a US Army perspective, that other nations (including the UK) who fly unmarked, armed MEDEVAC missions are not complying.
No. It is misleading to suggest the UK, by transporting wounded in helicopters which are armed and are not marked with the distinctive protective emblems, is "not complying" with the Geneva Conventions.

If that was not permitted it would be impossible to carry wounded or medical personnel on any transport without first removing all weapons and applying the red cross marking. Obviously that would be nonsense.

The point about distinctive markings such as the Red Cross is that they indicate an entitlement to protection. It would therefore be perfidy - a war crime - to use the Red Cross as a cover for hostile action. Without the Red Cross, you may lose the right to special protection, that's all. But there is no mandatory requirement to use the markings.

(There are special provisions in the Convention about "medical aircraft", but these are not intended for the hot contact medevac type of situation.)

Also, as another poster has pointed out, you do not lose the protection of the Red Cross if you bear and use arms for the protection of your patients and yourself.

It is certainly arguable that a MERT helicopter could carry weapons for self-defence while bearing the Red Cross marking. We are talking Chinook not Apache.

The UK decision not to use the emblem was no doubt based on practical as well as legal considerations. As 'NURSE' has said.
baffman is offline  
Old 20th Jan 2012, 09:15
  #12 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Tarn et Garonne, Southwest France
Posts: 5,283
Thank you, Orca. Exactly right. I obviously didn't make my point clearly enough.

Courtney
Courtney Mil is offline  
Old 20th Jan 2012, 10:42
  #13 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Lincoln
Posts: 36
The US Army is in contravention of the Geneva Convention by flying medevac missions over hostile territory that have not been pre-noted and coordinated with both sides of the conflict. There is a fundamental misunderstanding of what the Convention requires.

The Geneva Convention does not restrict armed helicopters from also collecting casualties; therefore the use of armed and unmarked (ie no red cross) aircraft by the RAF, USAF and USMC is perfectly legal. They use the protection of their weapons to stay safe, rather than rely on a red cross to persuade the enemy not to fire.

The US Army can only fly into a fire-fight with armed escort, thus limiting their response options and introducing a dependency on others. This could add a delay to the operation while an escort was organised. Michael Yon gives proof of this happening and the resultant delay causing the unnecessary death of a patient. His crusade is to stop this happening again.

Speed is a life saver. The faster a casualty reaches help, the greater the chance of survival.

There is anecdotal evidence that the Taliban are aware that helicopters with red crosses are unarmed, and so draw fire. There is also a suggestion that the crosses are seen as a symbol of Christianity and provoke attack.

Unarmed helicopters have greater casualty carrying capacity as they do not have the extra weight of the weapons and door gunner.

One thing is fact – there is no question of the bravery and dedication of the crews performing these acts. Heroes, one and all.
Milarity is offline  
Old 20th Jan 2012, 12:55
  #14 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Asia Pacific
Age: 48
Posts: 1,761
I don't understand the issue here.....

Unmarked and armed - evacuates casualties, comes under fire and expects no real exemptions from the Geneva Convention.

Marked and unarmed - complies with Geneva Convention.

Now, if we had a red cross on the side and a minigun in the door I could see the point of this thread, but we don't.

Does mean there is no point to this thread?
minigundiplomat is offline  
Old 20th Jan 2012, 13:16
  #15 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: UK
Age: 45
Posts: 210
Yes MGD, it does.
I'm Off! is offline  
Old 20th Jan 2012, 14:23
  #16 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Lincoln
Posts: 36
The point to this thread is best understood by following the link in the first post and reading Michael Yon’s web site. Do not underestimate him, he has already seen 2 Generals sacked in previous campaigns and has vast popular support amongst the American military. If he wins this one, another General will be biting the dust.

It is worth a read through Yon’s archive, especially his postings from his embeds in Afghanistan. If nothing else, his photography is excellent.
Milarity is offline  
Old 20th Jan 2012, 15:03
  #17 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Secret airbase in Cranwell
Posts: 21
The point to this thread is indeed at the link which appears to suggest that the US Army believe that in order to comply with the Geneva convention MEDEVAC helicopters should be marked and unarmed (thus requiring an escort). Importantly though, this stance also appears to have resulted in a number of avoidable deaths which may have repercussions for the US Army. I recognise that an easy solution would be to remove the red cross and arm the Dustoff (thus freeing up valuable RW assets) - particularly as the Taleban do not recognise the GC but if this is the case, why haven't they done it?

Last edited by Startrek3; 20th Jan 2012 at 15:57.
Startrek3 is offline  
Old 20th Jan 2012, 17:00
  #18 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: where-ever nav's chooses....
Posts: 652
Or, if you read the convention, keep the red cross on it and put a gun on it.

And Yon is pissed on his own self-importance. He claims systematic cover-up because we gave an embed to someone other than him after he had been extended in theatre.
alfred_the_great is offline  
Old 20th Jan 2012, 20:14
  #19 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: "Deplorable but happy as a drunken Monkey!
Age: 71
Posts: 16,560
Alfred....have you read much of Von? Yours is the simple view of the situation when in effect it is far more involved. He has made enemies from on high with his reporting.

He comes close to being the Ernie Pyle of our time.

The truth is not very pretty to some of our Commanders....and there is a lot that needs to be aired. Way too many fine young men and women have been killed and maimed for no good reason.

His reporting tells the story as it is...not as the Army wishes it to be.
SASless is offline  
Old 20th Jan 2012, 20:41
  #20 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: where-ever nav's chooses....
Posts: 652
I read him a lot when he first started reporting. I stopped reading him when he became convinced that only *he* saw the truth in Afg. That is when he became pissed on his own self-importance. There are lots of things that need to be done better in Afg, however he doesn't, and will not, have the monopoly on those ideas.
alfred_the_great is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.