Doctors in arms : exploring the legal and ethical position of military medical personnel in armed conflicts
Armed conflict and international law : in search of the human face : liber amicorum in memory of Avril McDonald
The Hague : T.M.C. Asser Press, 2013
Bibliographie : p. 192-194
This contribution discusses the legal and ethical position of military medical personnel during armed conflicts. In such situations two difficult issues arise. Firstly, military health workers frequently become the object of an attack, which is a violation of their neutrality as medical personnel. Secondly, they themselves face difficult issues of "dual loyalty": they need to navigate between the interests of the patient, on the one hand, and that of their employer, the military, on the other. This contribution attempts to clarify and strengthen the legal position of military medical personnel, in particular when it comes to providing medical services around the battlefield. To do so, a basis is sought in the intertwined areas of international humanitarian law (IHL), human rights law (HRL), and medical ethics. It is argued that insufficient attention has been paid to bringing these three discourses together conceptually. It will be shown that these three disciplines provide a somewhat incoherent yet compelling framework for medical personnel during armed conflicts. In a nutshell, this framework guarantees the inviolability and neutrality of medical personnel and it stipulates that medical considerations should prevail over military ones when it comes to priority setting between patients.