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INTERCEPTION, VISIT AND SEARCH OF CIVIL AIRCRAFT
    SECTION III : INTERCEPTION, VISIT AND SEARCH OF CIVIL AIRCRAFT

    Basic rules

    125. In exercising their legal rights in an international armed conflict at sea, belligerent military aircraft have a right to intercept civil aircraft outside neutral airspace where there are reasonable grounds for suspecting they are subject to capture. If, after interception, reasonable grounds for suspecting that a civil aircraft is subject to capture still exist, belligerent military aircraft have the right to order the civil aircraft to proceed for visit and search to a belligerent airfield that is safe for the type of aircraft involved and reasonably accessible.

    If there is no belligerent airfield that is safe and reasonably accessible for visit and search, a civil aircraft may be diverted from its declared destination.

    126. As an alternative to visit and search:

    (a) an enemy civil aircraft may be diverted from its declared destination;
    (b) a neutral civil aircraft may be diverted from its declared destination with its consent.

    Civil aircraft under the operational control of an accompanying neutral military aircraft or warship

    127. A neutral civil aircraft is exempt from the exercise of the right of visit and search if it meets the following conditions:

    (a) it is bound for a neutral airfield;
    (b) it is under the operational control of an accompanying:
    (i) neutral military aircraft or warship of the same nationality; or
    (ii) neutral military aircraft or warship of a State with which the flag State of the civil aircraft has concluded
    an agreement providing for such control;
    (c) the flag State of the neutral military aircraft or warship warrants that the neutral civil aircraft is not carrying contraband or otherwise engaged in activities inconsistent with its neutral status; and
    (d) the commander of the neutral military aircraft or warship provides, if requested by the commander of an intercepting belligerent military aircraft, all information as to the character of the civil aircraft and its cargo as could otherwise be obtained by visit and search.

    Measures of interception and supervision

    128. Belligerent States should promulgate and adhere to safe procedures for intercepting civil aircraft as issued by the competent international organization.

    129. Civil aircraft should file the required flight plan with the cognizant Air Traffic Service, complete with information as to registration, destination, passengers, cargo, emergency communication channels, identification modes and codes, updates en route and carry certificates as to registration, airworthiness, passengers and cargo. They should not deviate from a designated Air Traffic Service route or flight plan without Air Traffic Control clearance unless unforeseen conditions arise, e.g., safety or distress, in which case appropriate notification should be made immediately.

    130. Belligerents and neutrals concerned, and authorities providing air traffic services, should establish procedures whereby commanders of warships and military aircraft are continuously aware of designated routes assigned to and flight plans filed by civil aircraft in the area of military operations, including information on communication channels, identification modes and codes, destination, passengers and cargo.

    131. In the immediate vicinity of naval operations, civil aircraft shall comply with instructions from the combatants regarding their heading and altitude.

    132. In order to avoid the necessity of visit and search, belligerent States may establish reasonable measures for the inspection of the cargo of neutral civil aircraft and certification that an aircraft is not carrying contraband.

    133. The fact that a neutral civil aircraft has submitted to such measures of supervision as the inspection of its cargo and grant of certificates of non-contraband cargo by one belligerent is not an act of unneutral service with regard to an opposing belligerent.

    134. In order to obviate the necessity for visit and search, neutral States are encouraged to enforce reasonable control measures and certification procedures to ensure that their civil aircraft are not carrying contraband.


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