In an article published by the International Review of the Red Cross (March 2004, 853), Stefan Lunze, author of “The Protection of Religious Personnel in Armed Conflict”, examines the specific function and current status of protection under international humanitarian law of a group of religious ministers who are terminologically referred to as “religious personnel”. Their protection is compared with that of civilian ministry and the option of an integrated level of protection for religious ministry is discussed. The article attempts to point out the challenges and limits these personnel face nowadays as they exercise a spiritual function within the framework of a military mission, and explores possible legal consequences of recent developments in this regard.
He concludes, “Although the national institutional frameworks for religious personnel vary, they provide spiritual assistance to troops in the field and focus their attention on the often existential spiritual needs of individual members of the armed forces. Attached as they are to a military environment but remaining non-combatants, they are exposed to danger. In response, international humanitarian law has drawn up an adequate legal regime of protection, which stands almost entirely undisputed with only a few minor exceptions.”