Fritz Allhoff and Keagan Potts: “Medical Immunity, International Law, and Just War Theory”, Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps (2018).
Abstract: Under customary international law, the First Geneva Convention, and Additional Protocol I, medical personnel are protected against intentional attack. In § 1 of this paper, we survey these legal norms and situate them within the broader international humanitarian law framework. In § 2, we explore the historical and philosophical basis of medical immunity, both of which have been underexplored in the academic literature. In § 3, we analyze these norms as applied to a United States’ attack in Afghanistan (2015); the United States was attempting to target a Taliban command-and-control center but inadvertently destroyed a Médecins Sans Frontières hospital instead, killing forty-two people. In § 4, we consider forfeiture of medical immunity and, more skeptically, whether supreme emergency could justify infringement of non-forfeited protected status.