Persons aboard medical aircraft who fall into the hands of a neutral power : the scope of their liability to detention under the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the 1977 Additional Protocol I / Yutaka Arai-Takahashi
Persons aboard medical aircraft who fall into the hands of a neutral power : the scope of their liability to detention under the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the 1977 Additional Protocol I
Revisiting the Geneva Conventions : 1949-2019
Leiden : Brill Nijhoff, 2019
Bibliography : p. 143-145
This paper explores under what circumstances the members of armed forces and their associated civilian personnel who are aboard medical aircraft, and who fall into the hands of a neutral power, are considered liable to detention under the law of neutrality. When flying over a neutral territory, medical aircraft may be summoned to land for inspection by the neutral power. In theory, it is possible that on board the aircraft claiming itself (truly or falsely) to be medical are a variety of passengers or crews who are members of armed forces of a belligerent party (and those of its adversary), associated civilian personnel, and other civilians. Clearly, whether they risk being interned depends not only on the legal status of those persons and the status of the aircraft itself (as a medical transport or otherwise), but also considerably on their health conditions: if they are fit, or wounded, sick and shipwrecked. The paper begins by examining the preliminary issues relating to the definition of medical aircraft, the conditions for a medical aircraft’s transit over territories of a neutral state, and to the inspection that can be undertaken by that neutral state. The paper will then turn to different situations in which a variety of the aforementioned military or civilian associated personnel who are occupants of the (genuine or false) medical aircraft may be considered vulnerable to detention under the law of neutrality.
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