Red Cross Cries Foul Over Colombia Deception

Objects to symbol use in hostage rescue
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 6, 2008 3:14 PM CDT
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has apologized to the Red Cross for a soldier's wearing of its insignia during a hostage rescue, contending that it was not done under orders.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The Red Cross chided the Colombian government today for its "deliberate misuse" of the Red Cross symbol during a mission to rescue hostages, the BBC reports. “If authenticated, these images would clearly establish an improper use of the Red Cross emblem, which we deplore,” a spokesman said of footage from the July 2 mission that freed politician Ingrid Betancourt and 14 others.

Intentional misuse of the Red Cross symbol is a violation of the Geneva Conventions, as it can place humanitarian war zone workers in serious danger and undermines neutrality of the Red Cross. Colombian President Alvaro Uribe admitted that one soldier did wear the logo but that he was nervous and defying orders.