Belarus has been in the news for diverting a civilian airliner flying in their airspace (but not from or to Belarus) to arrest a prominent opposition activist.

What laws were broken?

My understanding from information released so far is that KGB agents on board the plane (allegedly) phoned through a fake bomb threat requiring the plane to be diverted to Minsk.

Making a bomb threat is crime in most places (including fake bomb threats). Once the treat was made, then diverting to a nearby airport seems to be standard procedure.

So what other laws were broken? Does diverting an aircraft count as hijacking if there were no actual hijackers on board? (or maybe the KGB agents who made the threat count as hijackers even if they don't announce themselves to the pilots) Or does diverting a flight count as 'air piracy'? (if there is such a thing?)

Also, would it have made any difference if the aircraft had been diverted to Minsk for an innocent reason (fuel shortage for example) and the identity of the alleged criminal only noticed whilst the aircraft was refuelled?

  • 1
    There are to many questions being asked. This situation is basically a fabricated force majeure. There are specific rules on how passengers are to be treated under force majeure conditions. So one question would be: do passengers have a special protection when a) a warrant exists for them b) is a national of that country? These areas doesn't seemed to be is covered in ICAO: Annex 9 Facilitation to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, Page 39 of pdf. May 24, 2021 at 17:01
  • Second question: A pilot is required to comply to orders from the authorities of the airspace they are flying in. Is it legitimate for that authority to order to land, due to a bomb threat, to an airport that is further away than the planned destination airport that can also deal with that situation? May 24, 2021 at 17:18


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