The First and Second Geneva Conventions protect the wounded and sick soldiers at land and at sea.
General principles of protection in both Conventions
Wounded and sick persons may never be attacked; they shall be protected and respected. In addition, they are entitled to medical attention and care. In order for the parties in a conflict to give medical care to all wounded and sick, medical staff, equipment, buildings, and vehicles are also protected.
The parties in a conflict have the obligation to search for wounded and sick. Wounded and sick can never be discriminated against; no distinction should be made between enemy soldiers or onesí own since only medical reasons should prevail.
Medical personnel can never be hindered in their medical work. They should be allowed to be moved unharmed and with minimum delay. All parties in an armed conflict should facilitate the work of medical personnel. They shall carry out their work neutrally and impartially.
Wounded and sick persons, as well as medical personnel, have the right to protection as long as they do not take part in the hostilities. They can defend themselves and their patients, but in no other way use force. If ambulances or medical buildings are used in fighting they will loose their protection.
Additional Protocol further protects wounded and sick civilians
With the adoption of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and the First Additional Protocol (IAP), wounded and sick civilians were also included under the category of protected persons. IAP develops the rules and enhances the scope of protection of civilians.