Go to contents

Betancourt Rescuers Put Red Cross at Risk

Posted July. 18, 2008 08:07,   


The symbol of the neutral Red Cross was used in a military operation. How can it be viewed?

CNN reported Wednesday that the emblem of the Red Cross organization was used in a hostage rescue mission that freed former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt from the Revolutionary Armed Forces Colombia, the largest guerilla group in the country.

Such use of the Red Cross emblem could constitute a “war crime” under the Geneva Convention and international humanitarian law.

The 1977 Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions clearly prohibit feigning of protected status by the use of emblems of neutral parties, and say that such misuse are considered breaches of international humanitarian law and qualify as a “war crime.”

CNN reported on unpublished photographs and videos that clearly showed a man wearing a Red Cross bib. It reported, “CNN declined to buy the material from a military confidential at the price being asked.”

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe explained, “It is nothing about official operation. The official said when the rescue helicopter was about to land, he saw so many guerillas that he went into a state of angst. He feared for his life and put on the Red Cross bib over his jacket.”

The misuse of the Red Cross emblem in Colombia has put Red Cross officials who work in disrupted areas in danger.

Red Cross agents have been protected even in disrupted areas since the organization has been recognized as a neutral one that cures and protects innocent citizens and prisoners of war.