Practice Relating to Rule 29. Medical Transports
Section C. Respect for and protection of hospital ships
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) states:
Hospital ships … must be respected and protected at all times and must not be attacked …
Convoys of vehicles or hospital trains on land, and specially provided vessels at sea, conveying wounded and sick civilians, the infirm, and maternity cases must be protected and respected in the same way as civilian hospitals.
The manual further states that “attacking a properly marked hospital ship” constitutes a war crime recognized by the customary law of armed conflict.
With respect to non-international armed conflicts in particular, it states that “medical … transports are to be respected at all times and not made the object of attack”.