Biomedical enhancement of warfighters and the legal protection of military medical personnel in armed conflict
Host item entries:
Medical law review, Vol. 26, no. 3, 2017, p. 421-448
Under international law, military medical personnel and facilities must be respected and protected in the event of an armed conflict. This special status only applies to personnel and facilities exclusively engaged in certain enumerated medical duties, especially the treatment of the wounded and sick, and the prevention of disease. Military medical personnel have, however, been called upon to engage in the biomedical enhancement of warfighters, as exemplified by the supply of central nervous system stimulants as a fatigue countermeasure. This article argues that international law of armed conflict does not recognise human enhancement as a medical duty, and that engaging in enhancement that is harmful to the enemy results in the loss of special protection normally enjoyed by military medical personnel and units.