Q24N (EFE) The National Assembly of Nicaragua urgently dissolved the new “Nicaraguan Red Cross”, created on May 10, 2023, and in its place established the “White Cross”.
During an unusual session held on a Friday, June 2, Nicaraguan legislators repealed Article 2 by which they had created the new “Nicaraguan Red Cross as an autonomous, decentralized entity, with legal status, its own assets, indefinite duration and full capacity to acquire rights and contract obligations, which will be the legal successor without interruption of the Nicaraguan Red Cross Association.”
That article also established that this new “Red Cross” would be attached to the Ministry of Health (Minsa), “which will continue to comply with the international legal framework based on the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols to which Nicaragua is a State Party.”
“Likewise, the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement approved at the Vienna Conference of 1965 and its reform of the XXV Geneva Conference of 1986, as well as those in which Nicaragua is a State Party,” according to the text.
The new amendment creating the White Cross always leaves all the patrimony of the confiscated Red Cross, in the hands of the State of Nicaragua, but excludes Minsa (Ministry of Health) as their administrator.
The other repealed article that incorporated the new Red Cross as a decentralized entity of Minsa, and included it in the Law of Organization, Competence and Procedures of the Executive Power.
“White Cross” instead of “Red Cross”
Subsequently, the Nicaraguan Parliament, which is totally controlled by Ortega-Murillo, urgently approved the “Law Creating the White Cross,” which virtually replaces the dictatorship’s Nicaraguan Red Cross, which lasted less than a month.
The difference is that the “White Cross” will not be the legal successor of the Nicaraguan Red Cross Association, nor will it continue to comply with the international legal framework based on the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols, to which Nicaragua is a State party.
Neither will it continue to comply with the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement approved at the Vienna Conference of 1965 and its reform of the XXV Geneva Conference of 1986, as well as those to which Nicaragua is a State Party.
The White Cross, according to the law, will have the purpose of carrying out humanitarian and relief activities, especially in the field of health, “governed by the principles of solidarity and humanitarian practices of the Nicaraguan nation,” and not those of the International Red Cross, as they had approved on May 10.
The emblem of the International Cred Cross?
The new law establishes that the emblem of the White Cross will be for the exclusive use of that institution, without referring to the fact that this Thursday the same Parliament had authorized the State to use the emblem and flag of the International Red Cross, which remains in force until it is repealed.
After the annulment, human rights specialists described the event as the end of the institution’s autonomy and considered that the use of its emblem, logo and flag, registered with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, could put the regime in legal trouble.
“If the dictatorship is fixated on maintaining the name and emblem, these organizations could file an international criminal appeal asking the State of Nicaragua to account for the use of its emblem,” conflict resolution expert Alex Aguirre said.
Regarding the patrimony, the White Cross will be constituted with the “financial resources, property and assets, registered or not, that belonged to the extinct Nicaraguan Red Cross Association”, which had been governed by the principles of the International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.
Nicaragua has been going through a political and social crisis since April 2018, which has worsened after the controversial general elections of November 7, 2021, in which President Daniel Ortega was re-elected for a fifth term, fourth consecutive, and second with his wife. Rosario Murillo, as vice president, with their main contenders in prison.