A medical aircraft is entitled to specific protection from attack, subject to the Rules of this Section of the Manual.
- This Rule is based on Art. 24 of AP/I. The text differs in that the wording used in Rule 75 is that a medical aircraft “is entitled to specific protection”, whereas in AP/I the phrase employed is “shall be respected and protected”. The reason for this difference is the desire to highlight the specific protection of medical aircraft (see the chapeau of the Commentary on Section K). Of course, Rule 75 does not lessen the obligation to respect and protect medical aircraft: on the contrary, its intention is to strengthen the obligation.
- The provisions applicable to the protection of medical aircraft will differ depending on the location of the aircraft. The Commentary on Rules 77, 78 and 80 distinguishes between two different situations: (a) medical aircraft operating in and over land areas physically controlled by friendly forces or in and over sea areas not physically controlled by the enemy; (b) medical aircraft operating in and over areas physically controlled by the enemy, as well as in and over those parts of the contact zone which are physically controlled by friendly forces or the physical control of which is not clearly established. This explains why Rule 75 indicates that specific protection from attack is “subject to the Rules of this Section of the Manual”.
- Rule 75 applies also in non-international armed conflict.