“Technical arrangements” as used in Rule 101 may include such matters as:
- Establishment of air corridors or air routes.
- Organization of air drops.
- Agreement on flight details (i.e. timing, route, landing).
- Search of relief supplies.
- As indicated by the words “may include such matters as”, Rule 104 merely sets forth examples of “technical arrangements”.
- Rule 104 applies also in non-international armed conflict.
Whilst the Parties concerned must allow the unimpeded passage of relief consignments (see Rule 101), delivery of such consignments through “air corridors” or “air routes” may be arranged. “Air route” is the more general term of the two. It is simply “the navigable airspace between two points, identified to the extent necessary for the application of flight rules”. The term “air corridor” has more specific implications. It means “a restricted air route of travel specified for use by friendly aircraft and established for the purpose of preventing friendly aircraft from being fired on by friendly forces.”
- DoD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, at page 24.
- DoD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, at page 13.
Where territory is not otherwise accessible, air drops present an alternative to relief consignments distributed on the ground. Obviously, where air drops are carried out, it is impossible to meet the condition of relief actions being “conducted without adverse distinction” (see Rule 100 (a)). Hence, as soon as it is possible, relief consignments ought to be distributed on the ground evenly and with priority to those most in need.
- Art. 70 (1) of AP/I, final sentence, see fn. 577.
The deliverer of relief supplies and the Party concerned may agree on flight details such as timing, route or landing. This is true even of occupied territories (see the fourth paragraph of Art. 59 of GC/IV). However, if an aircraft carrying relief consignments fails to meet a minor condition in an agreement (e.g., the flight is conducted at a slight time variance from the agreed upon schedule), this ought not to be used as a pretext to refuse relief supplies.
- Fourth Para. of Art. 59 of GC/IV: “A Power granting free passage to consignments on their way to territory occupied by an adverse Party to the conflict shall, however, have the right to search the consignments, to regulate their passage according to prescribed times and routes, and to be reasonably satisfied through the Protecting Power that these consignments are to be used for the relief of the needy population and are not to be used for the benefit of the Occupying Power.”
The Parties concerned may search relief supplies (see Commentary on Rule 101). Evidently, a search ought to be conducted as expeditiously as possible, in order not to delay relief supplies too long. The terms “relief supplies” and “relief consignments” are used interchangeably; they both mean goods delivered for humanitarian ends.