Practice Relating to Rule 48. Attacks against Persons Parachuting from an Aircraft in Distress
France’s Disciplinary Regulations (1975), as amended, states that, under international conventions, it is prohibited “to fire at the crew and passengers of civilian or military aircraft parachuting from an aircraft in distress, except when they participate in an airborne operation”.
France’s LOAC Teaching Note (2000) states:
It is prohibited to fire at a person parachuting after having evacuated an aircraft in distress until he lands, unless he uses his weapon. It is, however, allowed to fire at airborne troops still in the air or at all combatants who use their parachute as a means of combat.
France’s LOAC Manual (2001) provides: “It is … prohibited to attack a person parachuting from an aircraft in distress … This provision, however, does not apply to airborne troops when they parachute.”
The manual adds that a person parachuting from an aircraft in distress, “when reaching the ground, … may be captured or surrender and thus benefits from the status of prisoner of war. However, if [the person] resumes combat, he does not benefit from any particular protection, and the enemy may again use arms against him.”