The Corner

So … Should Colombia Give the Hostages Back to the Terrorists?

The International Committee of the Red Cross is in a snit over Colombia’s use of its emblem during the brilliant rescue operation that freed Ingrid Betancourt and other hostages from the FARC terrorist group.  The AP reports from Geneva:

The International Red Cross said Wednesday that Colombia broke the Geneva Conventions by deliberately using its humanitarian emblem during the covert military mission that freed Ingrid Betancourt and other hostages….  “It seems to be a deliberate improper use of the emblem,” said Anna Schaaf, an ICRC spokesman.  She said this was a violation of international law. 

Use of the Red Cross symbol in a military operation violates the first Geneva Convention because it could damage the relief group’s neutrality in conflicts, endangering medical personnel on the battlefield who are using the red cross for protection.

In the July 2 rescue, a team of Colombian military intelligence agents posing as members of a fake international humanitarian group airlifted the hostages safety, including Betancourt, a former Colombian presidential candidate, and three U.S. military contractors….

[Ms. Schaaf] said it is now up to the Colombian government to take action against those responsible for misusing the symbol.

Here’s hoping President Uribe gives them a medal.  This is just another effort to validate terrorists whose every operation violates the customs of civilized warfare.  FARC is a terrorist organization, not a nation-state waging a legitimate war.  If they were going to comply with the Geneva Conventions and immunize medical personnel from their operations, they wouldn’t do things like take hostages and hold them for years.  The ICRC doesn’t have much to say when, for example, Palestinian terrorists use its resources as cover to transport terrorists and explosives (see this 2004 WND report from Michelle Malkin).  Why squawk about this one?

James Taranto (deftly invoking Alberto Gonzales’s much maligned but entirely fair description of the Geneva Conventions) puts it well in today’s Best of the Web:  “Maybe we’re dense, but it seems to us that rescuing civilian hostages from a terrorist group is a higher humanitarian priority than preventing unauthorized use of a trademark. The way the Red Cross interprets them, the Geneva Conventions seem almost quaint.”


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