Thursday, July 17, 2008

Colombian soldier misused Red Cross symbol in hostage rescue

Colombia's president Alvaro Uribe has admitted a soldier misused the Red Cross symbol in this month's military rescue of politician Ingrid Betancourt from left-wing FARC rebels.

Improper use of the Red Cross emblem contravenes the Geneva Conventions as it compromises the humanitarian organisation's neutrality.

President Uribe says he regrets the actions of one nervous soldier who contradicted official orders and attached the Red Cross emblem to his vest.

He has made an official apology, but the revelation takes the gloss of what was a military and political coup for his administration.

Misusing the Red Cross symbol is a breach of international law and arguably a war crime.

The Red Cross condemned the improper use of its emblem, saying it must be respected at all times by both parties in the conflict

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