Aircraft granted safe conduct by agreement between the Belligerent Parties − such as cartel aircraft − are entitled to specific protection from attack.
- Rule 64 is based on Para. 53 (b) of the SRM/ACS.
- Although the category of “aircraft granted safe conduct” relates principally to cartel aircraft (defined in Rule 1 (g)), there is no limitation on the type of aircraft (military or other State aircraft, civilian aircraft or medical aircraft), or on the activities carried out, to which safe conduct may be granted by agreement. A safe conduct may be granted for purposes exceeding the role of cartel aircraft, e.g., carrying consignments of humanitarian aid (see Section O).
- All aircraft granted safe conduct enjoy specific protection from attack contingent on respect for the conditions enumerated in Rule 65. On the notion of specific protection, see paragraph 3 of the Commentary in the chapeau on Section K.
- The specific protection of aircraft granted safe conduct is contingent on the agreement whereby they operate. To the extent that these are civilian or medical aircraft, they also benefit from the protection due to them as such (see, respectively, Section I and Section L).
- Aircraft granted safe conduct are entitled to specific protection from attack not only when they are performing their assigned mission, such as transporting POWs or parlementaires, but also on their way to collecting such individuals and on their way back after having transported them.
- The agreement reached by the Belligerent Parties ought to contain details about the flight and activities carried out by the aircraft granted safe conduct. Such details are indispensable in the absence of any special method of identification foreseen for such aircraft.
- Aircraft granted safe conduct may be identified through the filing of a detailed flight plan pursuant to Rule 53 (a) of this Manual and through the use of Secondary Surveillance Radar (SSR) modes and codes for civilian aircraft. However, it may not use medical aircraft identification. ICRC aircraft — one type of aircraft that may be granted safe conduct — constitute an exception in this respect: ICRC aircraft may use the same means of identification as medical aircraft, even though they operate under a safe conduct granted by Belligerent Parties.
- Para. 53 (b) of SRM/ACS, see fn. 344.
- See Para. 55.1 of the Commentary on the SRM/ACS: “Belligerents would expect that aircraft granted safe conduct would comply with the conditions in this paragraph. There is no limitation on what the agreed role could be. Aircraft granted safe conduct could be inter alia transporting prisoners of war, conducting relief missions, transporting cultural property, or protecting the environment. …”
- See Para. 47.22 of the Commentary on the SRM/ACS: “Cartel vessels are exempt from capture and attack, not only when they are carrying the prisoners of war or communications, but also on the journeys to collect the prisoners or communications and on their way back after having transported them.” This explanation concerning cartel vessels ought to apply by analogy to aircraft granted safe conduct.
- See the final sentence of Para. 55.1 of the Commentary to the SRM/ACS: “Other safe conduct aircraft may not use medical aircraft identification, but at present must rely on filing a detailed flight plan (paragraph 76) and using Secondary Surveillance Radar (SSR) modes and codes for civil aircraft.”
- Penultimate sentence of Para. 55.1 of the Commentary to the SRM/ACS: “With regard to the identification of [aircraft granted safe conduct], aircraft chartered by the ICRC have the same status as medical aircraft and may use the same methods of identification (paragraph 175).”
Categories: J: Aircraft Granted Safe Conduct