Practice Relating to Rule 29. Medical Transports
Section B. Respect for and protection of medical aircraft
The Russian Federation’s Military Manual (1990) states that “attack, bombardment or destruction of … medical aircraft displaying the distinctive emblems” is a prohibited method of warfare.
The Russian Federation’s Regulations on the Application of IHL (2001) states:
92. The following classes of enemy aircraft are exempt from attack:
- medical aircraft
They shall not be attacked only if:
a) for medical aircraft recognised as such:
- they are acting in compliance with an agreement between the parties to the conflict concerning medical flights. When such an agreement is concluded, it shall specify the altitudes, times and routes for safe operation and it shall include means of identification and communications;
- fly in areas under the control of own or friendly forces; or
- fly outside the area of armed conflict.
In case of doubt whether an aircraft exempt from attack is being used to make an effective contribution to military action, it shall be presumed not to be so used.
93. The aircraft falling under Paragraph 91 [sic] may be attacked by reason of a breach of a condition of exemption if:
- diversion for landing, visit and search, and possible capture, is not feasible;
- no other method is available for exercising military control;
- the circumstances of non-compliance are sufficiently grave that the aircraft has become, or may be reasonably assumed to be, a military objective;
- the collateral casualties or damage will not be disproportionate to the military advantage gained or anticipated.
Medical aircraft shall obey every summons to alight on land or water for inspection and search. Upon alighting on land or water the medical aircraft shall be inspected without delay and within the shortest possible time preventing any deterioration of condition of the wounded and sick.
The Regulations further states:
Medical aircraft … shall not be attacked if they:
- are innocently employed in their normal role;
- do not commit acts harmful to the enemy;
- immediately submit to identification and inspection when required;
- do not intentionally hamper the movement of combatants and obey orders to divert when required;
- do not violate a previously concluded agreement.