Is it war crime to shoot down red cross marked plane?

il-2

#1

So I was minding my own business then someone did this!

what was the international law in ww2 regarding red cross marked aircraft


#2

The red cross has its roots in the 1864 Geneva Convention, but that wasn’t signed by many states.
It was not until the 1949 Geneva Convention that it was ratified by more countries.
So, I guess the answer to your question is, no. Not during the WWII. It is a war crime today though.


#3

As an offhand expression, yes, it is a war crime. As @Troll indicated, the prohibition on firing on “a Red Cross, a Red Crescent, Magen David Adom, The Red Crystal, or other emblem related to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement” is in Article 9 of the Geneva Convention of 1949.

That said, the Geneva Conventions are not a law, they are essentially a set of treaties. Signatories are obligated search for, then try and punish, anyone who has committed or ordered certain “grave breaches” of the laws of war. In the US, the Law of Land Warfare constitutes the basis for prosecuting members of the US military for such breaches/crimes.


#4

Show me one war were proponents actually cared about the geneva convention. My company commander even ordered me to break it in peacetime during an exercise. Had i demanded he give me that order in writing, his ass would have been in real trouble. Alas, i was young and easily coaxed.


#5

Not sure why you think I’m required to defend the Geneva Convention or comment on voilations thereof, @sobek ?
Military personell has been tried and found guilty of war time violations against the GC.
The GC is probably violated in most wars, I would imagine. It is also adhered to in many instances. Protection of medical personell and facilities, for instance. Which is what the OP was asking about.


#6

I don’t, it’s just a figure of speech.


#7

You quoted me, so I thought it was a question directed to me :slight_smile:


#8

Gotta love computer games online really :rofl:


#9

I don’t believe the USSR ratified the Geneva Conventions until 1954.

As @Hangar200 said, they’re treaties that are very loose, hence a lot of what’s happened over the past century. Given the nature of the conflict between the USSR and Germany, you can pretty much use that as an example of no holds barred pure conflict. USA vs Japan was much the same.


#10

So basically having a red cross on the battlefield doesn’t mean anything :frowning:


#11

Back then? No. Nowadays? They’re probably not even flying in a conflict zone. It’d still be illegal for signatories to shoot at such an aircraft, mind you, but there’s more than a few rebels that give eff-all about that stuff.


#12

There was little chivalry on either side on the Eastern front. That said, I wouldn’t say that the Red Cross was not universally ignored.

Even back then there was the concept of “hors de combat” - that one shouldn’t attack helpless wounded


#13

interesting I thought in ww2 it was a symbol that was protected


#14

Reminds me…evidently when the US Pacific Fleet arrived in Tokyo Bay for the surrender, Admiral Halsey came out on the deck of his flag ship, looked around, and spotted a big tent something that had a large Red Cross painted on it. He reportedly snorted and opined “Red Cross heck, that’s probably an ammo dump!” The sailors around him enjoyed the comment.

Which brings up another point, if that had been a ammo dump being protected by the Red Cross, then the IPA would have been guilty of perfidy under the recognized laws of war, and is a war crime in itself.