Central African Republic
Practice Relating to Rule 7. The Principle of Distinction between Civilian Objects and Military Objectives
Section E. Attacks against civilian means of transportation
The Central African Republic’s Instructor’s Manual (1999) states in Volume 2 (Instruction for group and patrol leaders):
1.1 Principles of combat and the need to verify the military nature of objectives (targets)
It is especially important to avoid attacking merchant ships and civilian aircraft of no military importance.
1.2 Foreign ships
In contrast [to ships that are military objectives], the following ships may be neither captured nor attacked:
- ships granted safe conduct
- small coastal fishing boats;
- other ships of no military importance.
However, in case of doubt a ship can reasonably be stopped and searched to ascertain its status. If it refuses to stop or resists being visited and searched it may be destroyed after a warning to this effect has been given.
Normally, neutral warships are not military objectives for the belligerent forces unless they refuse to be visited and searched, as described above.
1.3 Foreign aircraft
Unless they enter prohibited national airspace, foreign aircraft other than enemy military aircraft, must not be attacked.
Foreign civilian aircraft may be attacked if they are escorted by enemy military aircraft.
If civilian aircraft are flying alone they may be ordered to change their route, or to land or alight on water for inspection. If the inspection reveals that the aircraft contains personnel or objects of military importance or breaches the law of war in some other way, or if the foreign civilian aircraft refuses to alter its route or to land, it can be attacked after due warning has been given.
The above also applies to neutral military aircraft.
In Volume 2, the manual further states: “Unless they enter prohibited national airspace, foreign aircraft other than enemy military aircraft must not be attacked. … Merchant ships escorted by military vessels and civilian aircraft escorted by enemy military aircraft may be attacked.”