Civilian Medical and Religious Personnel. Article 15 of GP I requires that civilian medical and religious
personnel shall be respected and protected. They receive the benefits of the provisions of the Geneva Conventions and
the Protocols concerning the protection and identification of medical personnel. All available help shall be given to
civilian medical personnel when civilian services are disrupted due to combat.
Personnel Engaged in the Protection of Cultural Property. Article 17 of the 1954 Hague Cultural Property
Convention established a duty to respect (not directly attack) persons engaged in the protection of cultural property. The
regulations attached to the Convention provide for specific positions as cultural protectors and for their identification.
Journalists. Given protection as "civilians" provided they take no action adversely affecting their status as
civilians. (GP I, art. 79 - considered customary international law by U.S.).
The Nature of Military Occupation
Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile armed forces. The
occupation extends only to territory where such authority has been established and can effectively be exercised. H. IV
Regs. Art. 42. Thus, occupation is a question of fact based on the invader's ability to render the invaded government
incapable of exercising public authority. Simply put, occupation must be both actual and effective. (FM 27-10, para.
352) However, military occupation (also termed belligerent occupation) is not conquest; it does not involve a transfer of
sovereignty to the occupying force. Indeed, it is unlawful for a belligerent occupant to annex occupied territory or to
create a new state therein while hostilities are still in progress. See GC, art. 47. It is also forbidden to compel the
inhabitants of occupied territory to swear allegiance to the hostile occupying power. H IV. Regs. Art. 45. Occupation is
thus provisional in nature, and is terminated if the occupying power is driven out.
Administration of Occupied Territory
Occupied territory is administered by military government, due to the inability of the legitimate government to
exercise its functions, or the undesirability of allowing it to do so. The occupying power therefore bears a legal duty to
restore and maintain public order and safety, while respecting, "unless absolutely prevented," the laws of the occupied
nation. H. IV. Regs Art. 43. The occupying power may allow the local authorities to exercise some or all of their normal
governmental functions, subject to the paramount authority of the occupant. The source of the occupant's authority is its
imposition of government by force, and the legality of its actions is determined by the Law of War.
In restoring public order and safety, the occupant is required to continue in force the normal civil and criminal laws
of the occupied nation, unless they would jeopardize the security of the occupying force or create obstacles to application
of the GC. See GC Art. 64. However, the military and civilian personnel of the occupying power remain immune from
the jurisdiction of local law enforcement.
Articles 46-63 of the GC establish important fundamental protections and benefits for the civilian population in
occupied territory. Family honor, life and property, and religious convictions must be respected. Individual or mass
forcible deportations of protected persons from the occupied territory to the territory of the occupying power or to a third
state are prohibited. GC Art. 49. The occupying power has the duty of ensuring that the population is provided with
adequate food, medical supplies and treatment facilities, hygiene, and public health measures. GC Art. 55. In addition,
children are subject to special protection and care, particularly with respect to their education, food, medical care, and
protection against the effects of war. GC Art. 50.
The occupying power is forbidden from destroying or seizing enemy property unless such action is "imperatively
demanded by the necessities of war," H. IV. Regs. Art. 23, or "rendered absolutely necessary by military operations."
GC Art. 53. "Pillage is formally forbidden." H. IV. Regs. Art. 47. However, the occupying power may requisition goods
and services from the local populace to sustain the needs of the occupying force, "in proportion to the resources of the
country, and of such a nature as not to involve the population in the obligation of taking part in operations of the war
against their country." The occupying power is obliged to pay cash for such requisitions or provide a receipt and make
payment as soon as possible. H. IV. Regs. Art. 52.
Law of War