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Use of certain electronic and visual means of identification by medical aircraft protected under the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and under the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 AUGUST 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims international armed conflicts (Protocol I)

    The Diplomatic Conference on the Reaffirmation and Development of International Humanitarian Law Applicable in Armed Conflicts, Geneva, 1974-1977,


    Considering that :

    (a) in order to avoid their engagement by combatant forces there is an urgent need for both electronic and visual identification of medical aircraft in flight,

    (b) the Secondary Surveillance Radar (SSR) systems has the capability of providing unique identification of aircraft and of en route flight details,

    (c) the International Civil Aviation Organization is the most appropriate international body to designate SSR modes and codes in the range of circumstances envisaged,

    (d) this Conference has agreed to the use of a flashing blue light as a means of visual identification to be employed only by aircraft exclusively engaged in medical transport,


    Recognizing that the designation in advance of an exclusive, world-wide SSR mode and code for the identification of medical aircraft may not be possible owing to the extensive deployment of the SSR system,

    1. Requests the President of the Conference to transmit to the International Civil Aviation Organization this document, together with the attached documents of this Conference, inviting that Organization to :

    (a) establish appropriate procedures for the designation, in case of an international armed conflict, of an exclusive SSR mode and code to be employed by medical aircraft concerned; and,

    (b) note the agreement of this Conference to recognize the flashing blue light as a means of identification of medical aircraft, and provide for that use in the appropriate International Civil Aviation Organization documents;


    2. Urges the Governments invited to the present Conference to lend their full co-operation to this endeavour in the consultative processes of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

    Fifty-fourth plenary meeting 7 June 1977


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