On the 20th of December 1972, the Polish-flagged merchant vessel M/S Józef Conrad, anchored in the North Vietnam port of Haiphong, was hit by an air-delivered projectile in the Linebacker II air campaign, also referred to as the ‘Christmas bombing’. The attack caused both loss of life and health among Polish sailors, and destroyed the ship itself. In 2020, the Polish Commissioner for Human Rights submitted a formal petition to the executive branch of the Polish government, highlighting that despite the fact that the act was a violation of the ICCPR and UDHR, neither legal actions nor diplomatic efforts were later undertaken on behalf of the victims. The statement of the High Commisioner did not examine the bombardment from the perspective of the law of air warfare, which is a pivotal precondition to determine the wrongfulness of the act in the light of international law.
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