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From the Red Cross Emblem to the Red Crystal: Challenges for the Legislator in Regulating the Use of the Distinctive Emblems

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On 14 January 2007, the Third Additional Protocol to the 1949 Geneva Conventions regarding the additional emblem - the Red Crystal - entered into force. The Republic of Estonia ratified the Third Additional Protocol on 11 December 2007 and it enters into force for Estonia on 28 August 2008. The ratification procedure necessitated the updating and revision of the Law on the Protection of the Name and Sign of the Red Cross Emblem. The authors also feel that this signals the appropriate time to discuss the legitimate uses of the Red Cross emblems in Estonia with the general public, as the period of the rule of the Soviet Union has distorted the meaning of the Red Cross emblems in Estonia. The Estonian Defence Forces and the Estonian Red Cross Society are the main users of the emblems and the authors hope that the following article will give guidance for the use of the emblems for both parties. The article is structured to give a brief historical overview of the Red Cross and other distinctive emblems and explains the difference between the protective and indicatory use of the emblem. Subsequently the authors address different challenges faced by the legislator in providing adequate domestic protection for the Red Crystal and the Red Cross emblem.


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