Practice Relating to Rule 7. The Principle of Distinction between Civilian Objects and Military Objectives
Section E. Attacks against civilian means of transportation
Nigeria’s Military Manual (1994) states: “The military character of the objectives and targets must be verified and precaution taken not to attack non-military objectives like merchant ships, civilian aircraft, etc.”
The manual further states that foreign aircraft “of no military importance shall not be captured or attacked except [when] they are of a dubious status, i.e., when it is uncertain whether it is a military objective or not. In that case, it may be stopped and searched so as to establish its status.”
The manual also states: “Specifically protected … transports recognised as such must be respected … though they could be inspected to ascertain their contents and effective use.”
According to Nigeria’s Manual on the Laws of War, “civilian aircraft belong[ing] to the enemy flying outside their own territory, in a zone controlled by the state or close to it, or near the battle zone can be shot down only when they do not comply with landing orders”.