(a) Civilian aircraft, whether enemy or neutral, are civilian objects and as such are entitled to protection from attack.
(b) Civilian aircraft can be the object of attack only if they constitute military objectives.
- This Rule emphasizes that, in principle, civilian aircraft are civilian objects that may not be attacked (see Rule 11 and Rule 13).
- Civilian aircraft, whether enemy or neutral in character, are not military objectives by nature. In case of doubt as to whether a civilian aircraft is being used for military purposes, it may only be attacked if — based on all the information reasonably available to the commander at the time — there are reasonable grounds to believe that it has become and remains a military objective (see Rule 12 (b)).
- For the determination of enemy or neutral character of an aircraft, see respectively Rules 144–146 and Rule 175.
- Rule 47 (a), with the exception of the reference to neutral civilian aircraft, applies also in non-international armed conflict.
- As to the specific circumstances in which an enemy civilian aircraft may become a military objective, see Rule 27. As to neutral civilian aircraft, see Rule 174.
- As to the circumstances in which a civilian airliner (enemy or neutral) constitutes a military objective, see Rule 63. If a civilian airliner constitutes a military objective under Rule 63, it may be attacked only if the conditions laid down in Rule 68 are met.
- Rule 47 (b) applies also in non-international armed conflict.
Categories: I: General Rules