GENERAL PROVISIONS
ARTICLE 1.— The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect
and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all
circumstances.
ART. 2. — In addition to the provisions which shall be
implemented in peacetime, the present Convention shall apply to all
cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict which may arise
between two or more of the High Contracting Parties, even if the
state of war is not recognized by one of them.
The Convention shall also apply to all cases of partial or total
occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party, even if the
said occupation meets with no armed resistance.
Although one of the Powers in conflict may not be a party to the
present Convention, the Powers who are parties thereto shall remain
bound by it in their mutual relations. They shall furthermore be
bound by the Convention in relation to the said Power, if the latter
accepts and applies the provisions thereof.
ART. 3. — In the case of armed conflict not of an international
character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting
Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a
minimum, the following provisions:
1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including
members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and
those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or
any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely,
Respect
for the
Convention1
Application
of the
Convention
Conflicts
not of an
international
character
1 The marginal notes or titles of articles have been drafted by the Swiss Federal
Department of Foreign Affairs.
without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion
or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.
To this end, the following acts are and shall remain prohibited
at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to
the above-mentioned persons:
a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all
kinds,mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
b) taking of hostages;
c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating
and degrading treatment;
d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of
executions without previous judgment pronounced by a
regularly constituted court affording all the judicial
guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by
civilized peoples.
2) The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.
An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International
Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to
the conflict.
The Parties to the conflict should further endeavour to bring into
force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other
provisions of the present Convention.
The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the
legal status of the Parties to the conflict.
ART. 4. — A. Prisoners of war, in the sense of the present
Convention, are persons belonging to one of the following
categories, who have fallen into the power of the enemy:
1) Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict as well
as members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of
such armed forces.
2) Members of other militias and members of other volunteer
corps, including those of organized resistance movements,
belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or
outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied,
provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such
organized resistance movements, fulfil the following
conditions:
a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his
subordinates;
b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a
distance;
92 THIRD GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Prisoners
of war
c) that of carrying arms openly;
d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the
laws and customs of war.
3) Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a
government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining
Power.
4) Persons who accompany the armed forces without actually
being members thereof, such as civilian members of military
aircraft crews, war correspondents, supply contractors,
members of labour units or of services responsible for the
welfare of the armed forces, provided that they have received
authorization from the armed forces which they accompany,
who shall provide them for that purpose with an identity card
similar to the annexed model.
5) Members of crews, including masters, pilots and apprentices
of the merchant marine and the crews of civil aircraft of the
Parties to the conflict,who do not benefit by more favourable
treatment under any other provisions of international law.
6) Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory who, on the approach
of the enemy, spontaneously take up arms to resist the
invading forces, without having had time to form themselves
into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly
and respect the laws and customs of war.
B. The following shall likewise be treated as prisoners of war
under the present Convention:
1) Persons belonging, or having belonged, to the armed forces of
the occupied country, if the occupying Power considers it
necessary by reason of such allegiance to intern them, even
though it has originally liberated them while hostilities were
going on outside the territory it occupies, in particular where
such persons have made an unsuccessful attempt to rejoin the
armed forces to which they belong and which are engaged in
combat, or where they fail to comply with a summons made
to them with a view to internment.
2) The persons belonging to one of the categories enumerated in
the present Article,who have been received by neutral or nonbelligerent
Powers on their territory and whom these Powers
are required to intern under international law, without
prejudice to any more favourable treatment which these
Powers may choose to give and with the exception of
Articles 8, 10, 15, 30, fifth paragraph, 58-67, 92, 126 and,
PRISONERS OF WAR 93
where diplomatic relations exist between the Parties to the
conflict and the neutral or non-belligerent Power concerned,
those Articles concerning the Protecting Power.Where such
diplomatic relations exist, the Parties to a conflict on whom
these persons depend shall be allowed to perform towards
them the functions of a Protecting Power as provided in the
present Convention,without prejudice to the functions which
these Parties normally exercise in conformity with diplomatic
and consular usage and treaties.
C. This Article shall in no way affect the status of medical
personnel and chaplains as provided for in Article 33 of the present
Convention.
ART. 5. — The present Convention shall apply to the persons
referred to in Article 4 from the time they fall into the power of the
enemy and until their final release and repatriation.
Should any doubt arise as to whether persons having committed
a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy
belong to any of the categories enumerated in Article 4, such
persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until
such time as their status has been determined by a competent
tribunal.
ART. 6. — In addition to the agreements expressly provided for in
Articles 10, 23, 28, 33, 60, 65, 66, 67, 72, 73, 75, 109, 110, 118, 119, 122
and 132, the High Contracting Parties may conclude other special
agreements for all matters concerning which they may deem it
suitable to make separate provision. No special agreement shall
adversely affect the situation of prisoners of war, as defined by the
present Convention, nor restrict the rights which it confers upon
them.
Prisoners of war shall continue to have the benefit of such
agreements as long as the Convention is applicable to them, except
where express provisions to the contrary are contained in the
aforesaid or in subsequent agreements, or where more favourable
measures have been taken with regard to them by one or other of
the Parties to the conflict.
ART. 7. — Prisoners of war may in no circumstances renounce in
part or in entirety the rights secured to them by the present
Convention, and by the special agreements referred to in the
foregoing Article, if such there be.
94 THIRD GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Beginning
and end of
application
Special
agreements
Nonrenunciation
of rights
ART. 8. — The present Convention shall be applied with the cooperation
and under the scrutiny of the Protecting Powers whose
duty it is to safeguard the interests of the Parties to the conflict. For
this purpose, the Protecting Powers may appoint, apart from their
diplomatic or consular staff, delegates from amongst their own
nationals or the nationals of other neutral Powers. The said
delegates shall be subject to the approval of the Power with which
they are to carry out their duties.
The Parties to the conflict shall facilitate to the greatest extent
possible the task of the representatives or delegates of the Protecting
Powers.
The representatives or delegates of the Protecting Powers shall
not in any case exceed their mission under the present Convention.
They shall, in particular, take account of the imperative necessities
of security of the State wherein they carry out their duties.
ART. 9. — The provisions of the present Convention constitute
no obstacle to the humanitarian activities which the International
Committee of the Red Cross or any other impartial humanitarian
organization may, subject to the consent of the Parties to the conflict
concerned, undertake for the protection of prisoners of war and for
their relief.
ART. 10. — The High Contracting Parties may at any time agree
to entrust to an organization which offers all guarantees of
impartiality and efficacy the duties incumbent on the Protecting
Powers by virtue of the present Convention.
When prisoners of war do not benefit or cease to benefit, no
matter for what reason, by the activities of a Protecting Power or of
an organization provided for in the first paragraph above, the
Detaining Power shall request a neutral State, or such an
organization, to undertake the functions performed under the
present Convention by a Protecting Power designated by the Parties
to a conflict.
If protection cannot be arranged accordingly, the Detaining
Power shall request or shall accept, subject to the provisions of this
Article, the offer of the services of a humanitarian organization,
such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, to assume the
humanitarian functions performed by Protecting Powers under the
present Convention.
Any neutral Power or any organization invited by the Power
concerned or offering itself for these purposes, shall be required to
act with a sense of responsibility towards the Party to the conflict on
which persons protected by the present Convention depend, and
PRISONERS OF WAR 95
Protecting
Powers
Activities
of the
International
Committee of
the Red Cross
Substitutes
for Protecting
Powers
shall be required to furnish sufficient assurances that it is in a
position to undertake the appropriate functions and to discharge
them impartially.
No derogation from the preceding provisions shall be made by
special agreements between Powers one of which is restricted, even
temporarily, in its freedom to negotiate with the other Power or its
allies by reason of military events, more particularly where the
whole, or a substantial part, of the territory of the said Power is
occupied.
Whenever in the present Convention mention is made of a
Protecting Power, such mention applies to substitute organizations
in the sense of the present Article.
ART. 11. — In cases where they deem it advisable in the interest of
protected persons, particularly in cases of disagreement between the
Parties to the conflict as to the application or interpretation of the
provisions of the present Convention, the Protecting Powers shall
lend their good offices with a view to settling the disagreement.
For this purpose, each of the Protecting Powers may, either at the
invitation of one Party or on its own initiative, propose to the
Parties to the conflict a meeting of their representatives, and in
particular of the authorities responsible for prisoners of war,
possibly on neutral territory suitably chosen. The Parties to the
conflict shall be bound to give effect to the proposals made to them
for this purpose. The Protecting Powers may, if necessary, propose
for approval by the Parties to the conflict a person belonging to a
neutral Power, or delegated by the International Committee of the
Red Cross, who shall be invited to take part in such a meeting.
PART II
GENERAL PROTECTION OF PRISONERS OF WAR
ART. 12. — Prisoners of war are in the hands of the enemy Power,
but not of the individuals or military units who have captured them.
Irrespective of the individual responsibilities that may exist, the
Detaining Power is responsible for the treatment given them.
Prisoners of war may only be transferred by the Detaining Power
to a Power which is a party to the Convention and after the
Detaining Power has satisfied itself of the willingness and ability of
such transferee Power to apply the Convention.When prisoners of
96 THIRD GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Conciliation
procedure
Responsibility
for the
treatment
of prisoners
war are transferred under such circumstances, responsibility for the
application of the Convention rests on the Power accepting them
while they are in its custody.
Nevertheless if that Power fails to carry out the provisions of the
Convention in any important respect, the Power by whom the
prisoners of war were transferred shall, upon being notified by the
Protecting Power, take effective measures to correct the situation or
shall request the return of the prisoners of war. Such requests must
be complied with.
ART. 13. — Prisoners of war must at all times be humanely
treated. Any unlawful act or omission by the Detaining Power
causing death or seriously endangering the health of a prisoner of
war in its custody is prohibited, and will be regarded as a serious
breach of the present Convention. In particular, no prisoner of war
may be subjected to physical mutilation or to medical or scientific
experiments of any kind which are not justified by the medical,
dental or hospital treatment of the prisoner concerned and carried
out in his interest.
Likewise, prisoners of war must at all times be protected,
particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against
insults and public curiosity.
Measures of reprisal against prisoners of war are prohibited.
ART. 14. — Prisoners of war are entitled in all circumstances to
respect for their persons and their honour.
Women shall be treated with all the regard due to their sex and shall
in all cases benefit by treatment as favourable as that granted to men.
Prisoners of war shall retain the full civil capacity which they
enjoyed at the time of their capture. The Detaining Power may not
restrict the exercise, either within or without its own territory, of the
rights such capacity confers except in so far as the captivity requires.
ART. 15. — The Power detaining prisoners of war shall be bound
to provide free of charge for their maintenance and for the medical
attention required by their state of health.
ART. 16. — Taking into consideration the provisions of the present
Convention relating to rank and sex, and subject to any privileged
treatment which may be accorded to them by reason of their state of
health, age or professional qualifications, all prisoners of war shall be
treated alike by the Detaining Power,without any adverse distinction
based on race,nationality, religious belief or political opinions, or any
other distinction founded on similar criteria.
PRISONERS OF WAR 97
Humane
treatment
of prisoners
Respect for
the person
of prisoners
Maintenance
of prisoners
Equality of
treatment
PART III
CAPTIVITY
SECTION I
BEGINNING OF CAPTIVITY
ART. 17. — Every prisoner of war, when questioned on the
subject, is bound to give only his surname, first names and rank,
date of birth, and army, regimental, personal or serial number, or
failing this, equivalent information.
If he wilfully infringes this rule, he may render himself liable to a
restriction of the privileges accorded to his rank or status.
Each Party to a conflict is required to furnish the persons under
its jurisdiction who are liable to become prisoners of war, with an
identity card showing the owner’s surname, first names, rank, army,
regimental, personal or serial number or equivalent information,
and date of birth. The identity card may, furthermore, bear the
signature or the finger-prints, or both, of the owner, and may bear,
as well, any other information the Party to the conflict may wish to
add concerning persons belonging to its armed forces. As far as
possible the card shall measure 6.5 x 10 cm and shall be issued in
duplicate. The identity card shall be shown by the prisoner of war
upon demand, but may in no case be taken away from him.
No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion,
may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them
information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to
answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any
unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind.
Prisoners of war who, owing to their physical or mental
condition, are unable to state their identity, shall be handed over to
the medical service. The identity of such prisoners shall be
established by all possible means, subject to the provisions of the
preceding paragraph.
The questioning of prisoners of war shall be carried out in a
language which they understand.
ART. 18. — All effects and articles of personal use, except arms,
horses,military equipment and military documents, shall remain in
the possession of prisoners of war, likewise their metal helmets and
98 THIRD GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Questioning
of prisoners
Property of
prisoners
gas masks and like articles issued for personal protection. Effects
and articles used for their clothing or feeding shall likewise remain
in their possession, even if such effects and articles belong to their
regulation military equipment.
At no time should prisoners of war be without identity
documents. The Detaining Power shall supply such documents to
prisoners of war who possess none.
Badges of rank and nationality, decorations and articles having
above all a personal or sentimental value may not be taken from
prisoners of war.
Sums of money carried by prisoners of war may not be taken
away from them except by order of an officer, and after the amount
and particulars of the owner have been recorded in a special register
and an itemized receipt has been given, legibly inscribed with the
name, rank and unit of the person issuing the said receipt. Sums in
the currency of the Detaining Power,or which are changed into such
currency at the prisoner’s request, shall be placed to the credit of the
prisoner’s account as provided in Article 64.
The Detaining Power may withdraw articles of value from
prisoners of war only for reasons of security; when such articles are
withdrawn, the procedure laid down for sums of money impounded
shall apply.
Such objects, likewise the sums taken away in any currency other
than that of the Detaining Power and the conversion of which has
not been asked for by the owners, shall be kept in the custody of the
Detaining Power and shall be returned in their initial shape to
prisoners of war at the end of their captivity.
ART. 19. — Prisoners of war shall be evacuated, as soon as
possible after their capture, to camps situated in an area far enough
from the combat zone for them to be out of danger.
Only those prisoners of war who, owing to wounds or sickness,
would run greater risks by being evacuated than by remaining
where they are, may be temporarily kept back in a danger zone.
Prisoners of war shall not be unnecessarily exposed to danger
while awaiting evacuation from a fighting zone.
ART. 20. — The evacuation of prisoners of war shall always be
effected humanely and in conditions similar to those for the forces
of the Detaining Power in their changes of station.
The Detaining Power shall supply prisoners of war who are being
evacuated with sufficient food and potable water, and with the
necessary clothing and medical attention. The Detaining Power
shall take all suitable precautions to ensure their safety during
PRISONERS OF WAR 99
Evacuation
of prisoners
Conditions of
evacuation
evacuation, and shall establish as soon as possible a list of the
prisoners of war who are evacuated.
If prisoners of war must, during evacuation, pass through transit
camps, their stay in such camps shall be as brief as possible.
SECTION II
INTERNMENT OF PRISONERS OF WAR
CHAPTER I
General Observations
ART. 21. — The Detaining Power may subject prisoners of war to
internment. It may impose on them the obligation of not leaving,
beyond certain limits, the camp where they are interned, or if the
said camp is fenced in, of not going outside its perimeter. Subject to
the provisions of the present Convention relative to penal and
disciplinary sanctions, prisoners of war may not be held in close
confinement except where necessary to safeguard their health and
then only during the continuation of the circumstances which make
such confinement necessary.
Prisoners of war may be partially or wholly released on parole or
promise, in so far as is allowed by the laws of the Power on which
they depend. Such measures shall be taken particularly in cases
where this may contribute to the improvement of their state of
health. No prisoner of war shall be compelled to accept liberty on
parole or promise.
Upon the outbreak of hostilities, each Party to the conflict shall
notify the adverse Party of the laws and regulations allowing or
forbidding its own nationals to accept liberty on parole or promise.
Prisoners of war who are paroled or who have given their promise
in conformity with the laws and regulations so notified, are bound
on their personal honour scrupulously to fulfil, both towards the
Power on which they depend and towards the Power which has
captured them, the engagements of their paroles or promises. In
such cases, the Power on which they depend is bound neither to
require nor to accept from them any service incompatible with the
parole or promise given.
100 THIRD GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Restriction of
liberty of
movement
ART. 22. — Prisoners of war may be interned only in premises
located on land and affording every guarantee of hygiene and
healthfulness. Except in particular cases which are justified by the
interest of the prisoners themselves, they shall not be interned in
penitentiaries.
Prisoners of war interned in unhealthy areas, or where the
climate is injurious for them, shall be removed as soon as possible to
a more favourable climate.
The Detaining Power shall assemble prisoners of war in camps or
camp compounds according to their nationality, language and
customs, provided that such prisoners shall not be separated from
prisoners of war belonging to the armed forces with which they
were serving at the time of their capture, except with their consent.
ART. 23. — No prisoner of war may at any time be sent to, or
detained in areas where he may be exposed to the fire of the combat
zone, nor may his presence be used to render certain points or areas
immune from military operations.
Prisoners of war shall have shelters against air bombardment and
other hazards of war, to the same extent as the local civilian
population.With the exception of those engaged in the protection
of their quarters against the aforesaid hazards, they may enter such
shelters as soon as possible after the giving of the alarm. Any other
protective measure taken in favour of the population shall also
apply to them.
Detaining Powers shall give the Powers concerned, through the
intermediary of the Protecting Powers, all useful information
regarding the geographical location of prisoner of war camps.
Whenever military considerations permit, prisoner of war camps
shall be indicated in the day-time by the letters PW or PG, placed so
as to be clearly visible from the air. The Powers concerned may,
however, agree upon any other system of marking.Only prisoner of
war camps shall be marked as such.
ART. 24. — Transit or screening camps of a permanent kind shall
be fitted out under conditions similar to those described in the
present Section, and the prisoners therein shall have the same
treatment as in other camps.
PRISONERS OF WAR 101
Places and
conditions of
internment
Security of
prisoners
Permanent
transit camps
CHAPTER II
Quarters, Food and Clothing of Prisoners ofWar
ART. 25. — Prisoners of war shall be quartered under conditions
as favourable as those for the forces of the Detaining Power who are
billeted in the same area. The said conditions shall make allowance
for the habits and customs of the prisoners and shall in no case be
prejudicial to their health.
The foregoing provisions shall apply in particular to the
dormitories of prisoners of war as regards both total surface and
minimum cubic space, and the general installations, bedding and
blankets.
The premises provided for the use of prisoners of war
individually or collectively, shall be entirely protected from
dampness and adequately heated and lighted, in particular between
dusk and lights out. All precautions must be taken against the
danger of fire.
In any camps in which women prisoners of war, as well as men,
are accommodated, separate dormitories shall be provided for them.
ART. 26. — The basic daily food rations shall be sufficient in
quantity, quality and variety to keep prisoners of war in good health
and to prevent loss of weight or the development of nutritional
deficiencies. Account shall also be taken of the habitual diet of the
prisoners.
The Detaining Power shall supply prisoners of war who work
with such additional rations as are necessary for the labour on
which they are employed.
Sufficient drinking water shall be supplied to prisoners of war.
The use of tobacco shall be permitted.
Prisoners of war shall, as far as possible, be associated with the
preparation of their meals; they may be employed for that purpose
in the kitchens. Furthermore, they shall be given the means of
preparing, themselves, the additional food in their possession.
Adequate premises shall be provided for messing.
Collective disciplinary measures affecting food are prohibited.
ART. 27. — Clothing, underwear and footwear shall be supplied
to prisoners of war in sufficient quantities by the Detaining Power,
which shall make allowance for the climate of the region where the
prisoners are detained. Uniforms of enemy armed forces captured
by the Detaining Power should, if suitable for the climate, be made
available to clothe prisoners of war.
102 THIRD GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Quarters
Food
Clothing
The regular replacement and repair of the above articles shall be
assured by the Detaining Power. In addition, prisoners of war who
work shall receive appropriate clothing, wherever the nature of the
work demands.
ART. 28. — Canteens shall be installed in all camps, where
prisoners of war may procure foodstuffs, soap and tobacco and
ordinary articles in daily use. The tariff shall never be in excess of
local market prices.
The profits made by camp canteens shall be used for the benefit
of the prisoners; a special fund shall be created for this purpose.The
prisoners’ representative shall have the right to collaborate in the
management of the canteen and of this fund.
When a camp is closed down, the credit balance of the special
fund shall be handed to an international welfare organization, to be
employed for the benefit of prisoners of war of the same nationality
as those who have contributed to the fund. In case of a general
repatriation, such profits shall be kept by the Detaining Power,
subject to any agreement to the contrary between the Powers
concerned.
CHAPTER III
Hygiene and Medical Attention
ART. 29. — The Detaining Power shall be bound to take all
sanitary measures necessary to ensure the cleanliness and
healthfulness of camps, and to prevent epidemics.
Prisoners of war shall have for their use, day and night,
conveniences which conform to the rules of hygiene and are
maintained in a constant state of cleanliness. In any camps in which
women prisoners of war are accommodated, separate conveniences
shall be provided for them.
Also, apart from the baths and showers with which the camps
shall be furnished, prisoners of war shall be provided with sufficient
water and soap for their personal toilet and for washing their
personal laundry; the necessary installations, facilities and time
shall be granted them for that purpose.
ART. 30. — Every camp shall have an adequate infirmary where
prisoners of war may have the attention they require, as well as
PRISONERS OF WAR 103
Canteens
Hygiene
Medical
attention
appropriate diet. Isolation wards shall, if necessary, be set aside for
cases of contagious or mental disease.
Prisoners of war suffering from serious disease, or whose
condition necessitates special treatment, a surgical operation or
hospital care, must be admitted to any military or civilian medical
unit where such treatment can be given, even if their repatriation is
contemplated in the near future. Special facilities shall be afforded
for the care to be given to the disabled, in particular to the blind,and
for their rehabilitation, pending repatriation.
Prisoners of war shall have the attention, preferably, of medical
personnel of the Power on which they depend and, if possible, of
their nationality.
Prisoners of war may not be prevented from presenting
themselves to the medical authorities for examination. The
detaining authorities shall, upon request, issue to every prisoner
who has undergone treatment, an official certificate indicating the
nature of his illness or injury, and the duration and kind of
treatment received.A duplicate of this certificate shall be forwarded
to the Central Prisoners ofWar Agency
The costs of treatment, including those of any apparatus
necessary for the maintenance of prisoners of war in good health,
particularly dentures and other artificial appliances, and spectacles,
shall be borne by the Detaining Power.
ART. 31. — Medical inspections of prisoners of war shall be held
at least once a month. They shall include the checking and the
recording of the weight of each prisoner of war. Their purpose shall
be, in particular, to supervise the general state of health, nutrition
and cleanliness of prisoners and to detect contagious diseases,
especially tuberculosis, malaria and venereal disease. For this
purpose the most efficient methods available shall be employed,
e.g. periodic mass miniature radiography for the early detection of
tuberculosis.
ART. 32. — Prisoners of war who, though not attached to the
medical service of their armed forces, are physicians, surgeons,
dentists, nurses or medical orderlies, may be required by the
Detaining Power to exercise their medical functions in the interests
of prisoners of war dependent on the same Power. In that case they
shall continue to be prisoners of war, but shall receive the same
treatment as corresponding medical personnel retained by the
Detaining Power. They shall be exempted from any other work
under Article 49.
104 THIRD GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Medical
inspections
Prisoners
engaged
on medical
duties
CHAPTER IV
Medical Personnel and Chaplains Retained
to Assist Prisoners ofWar
ART. 33. — Members of the medical personnel and chaplains
while retained by the Detaining Power with a view to assisting
prisoners of war, shall not be considered as prisoners of war. They
shall, however, receive as a minimum the benefits and protection of
the present Convention, and shall also be granted all facilities
necessary to provide for the medical care of, and religious
ministration to prisoners of war.
They shall continue to exercise their medical and spiritual
functions for the benefit of prisoners of war, preferably those
belonging to the armed forces upon which they depend, within the
scope of the military laws and regulations of the Detaining Power
and under the control of its competent services, in accordance with
their professional etiquette. They shall also benefit by the following
facilities in the exercise of their medical or spiritual functions:
a) They shall be authorized to visit periodically prisoners of war
situated in working detachments or in hospitals outside the
camp. For this purpose, the Detaining Power shall place at
their disposal the necessary means of transport.
b) The senior medical officer in each camp shall be responsible
to the camp military authorities for everything connected
with the activities of retained medical personnel. For this
purpose, Parties to the conflict shall agree at the outbreak of
hostilities on the subject of the corresponding ranks of the
medical personnel, including that of societies mentioned in
Article 26 of the Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of
the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in
the Field of August 12, 1949. This senior medical officer, as
well as chaplains, shall have the right to deal with the
competent authorities of the camp on all questions relating to
their duties. Such authorities shall afford them all necessary
facilities for correspondence relating to these questions.
c) Although they shall be subject to the internal discipline of the
camp in which they are retained, such personnel may not be
compelled to carry out any work other than that concerned
with their medical or religious duties.
During hostilities, the Parties to the conflict shall agree
concerning the possible relief of retained personnel and shall settle
the procedure to be followed.
PRISONERS OF WAR 105
Rights and
privileges of
retained
personnel
None of the preceding provisions shall relieve the Detaining
Power of its obligations with regard to prisoners of war from the
medical or spiritual point of view.
CHAPTER V
Religious, Intellectual and Physical Activities
ART. 34. — Prisoners of war shall enjoy complete latitude in the
exercise of their religious duties, including attendance at the service
of their faith, on condition that they comply with the disciplinary
routine prescribed by the military authorities.
Adequate premises shall be provided where religious services
may be held.
ART. 35. — Chaplains who fall into the hands of the enemy Power
and who remain or are retained with a view to assisting prisoners of
war, shall be allowed to minister to them and to exercise freely their
ministry amongst prisoners of war of the same religion, in
accordance with their religious conscience. They shall be allocated
among the various camps and labour detachments containing
prisoners of war belonging to the same forces, speaking the same
language or practising the same religion. They shall enjoy the
necessary facilities, including the means of transport provided for
in Article 33, for visiting the prisoners of war outside their camp.
They shall be free to correspond, subject to censorship, on matters
concerning their religious duties with the ecclesiastical authorities
in the country of detention and with international religious
organizations. Letters and cards which they may send for this
purpose shall be in addition to the quota provided for in Article 71.
ART. 36. — Prisoners of war who are ministers of religion,
without having officiated as chaplains to their own forces, shall be at
liberty, whatever their denomination, to minister freely to the
members of their community. For this purpose, they shall receive
the same treatment as the chaplains retained by the Detaining
Power. They shall not be obliged to do any other work.
ART. 37. — When prisoners of war have not the assistance of a
retained chaplain or of a prisoner of war minister of their faith, a
minister belonging to the prisoners’or a similar denomination,or in
106 THIRD GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Religious
duties
Retained
chaplains
Prisoners
who are
ministers of
religion
Prisoners
without a
minister of
their religion
his absence a qualified layman, if such a course is feasible from a
confessional point of view, shall be appointed, at the request of the
prisoners concerned, to fill this office. This appointment, subject to
the approval of the Detaining Power, shall take place with the
agreement of the community of prisoners concerned and,wherever
necessary, with the approval of the local religious authorities of the
same faith. The person thus appointed shall comply with all
regulations established by the Detaining Power in the interests of
discipline and military security.
ART. 38. — While respecting the individual preferences of every
prisoner, the Detaining Power shall encourage the practice of
intellectual, educational, and recreational pursuits, sports and
games amongst prisoners, and shall take the measures necessary to
ensure the exercise thereof by providing them with adequate
premises and necessary equipment.
Prisoners shall have opportunities for taking physical exercise,
including sports and games and for being out of doors. Sufficient
open spaces shall be provided for this purpose in all camps.
CHAPTER VI
Discipline
ART. 39. — Every prisoner of war camp shall be put under the
immediate authority of a responsible commissioned officer
belonging to the regular armed forces of the Detaining Power. Such
officer shall have in his possession a copy of the present Convention;
he shall ensure that its provisions are known to the camp staff and
the guard and shall be responsible, under the direction of his
government, for its application.
Prisoners of war, with the exception of officers, must salute and
show to all officers of the Detaining Power the external marks of
respect provided for by the regulations applying in their own forces.
Officer prisoners of war are bound to salute only officers of a
higher rank of the Detaining Power; they must, however, salute the
camp commander regardless of his rank.
ART. 40. — The wearing of badges of rank and nationality, as well
as of decorations, shall be permitted.
PRISONERS OF WAR 107
Recreation,
study, sports
and games
Administration.
Saluting
Badges and
decorations
ART. 41. — In every camp the text of the present Convention and
its Annexes and the contents of any special agreement provided for
in Article 6, shall be posted, in the prisoners’own language, at places
where all may read them.Copies shall be supplied, on request, to the
prisoners who cannot have access to the copy which has been
posted.
Regulations, orders, notices and publications of every kind
relating to the conduct of prisoners of war shall be issued to them in
a language which they understand. Such regulations, orders and
publications shall be posted in the manner described above and
copies shall be handed to the prisoners’ representative. Every order
and command addressed to prisoners of war individually must
likewise be given in a language which they understand.
ART. 42. — The use of weapons against prisoners of war,
especially against those who are escaping or attempting to escape,
shall constitute an extreme measure,which shall always be preceded
by warnings appropriate to the circumstances.
CHAPTER VII
Rank of Prisoners ofWar
ART. 43. — Upon the outbreak of hostilities, the Parties to the
conflict shall communicate to one another the titles and ranks of all
the persons mentioned in Article 4 of the present Convention, in
order to ensure equality of treatment between prisoners of
equivalent rank. Titles and ranks which are subsequently created
shall form the subject of similar communications.
The Detaining Power shall recognize promotions in rank which
have been accorded to prisoners of war and which have been duly
notified by the Power on which these prisoners depend.
ART. 44. — Officers and prisoners of equivalent status shall be
treated with the regard due to their rank and age.
In order to ensure service in officers’ camps, other ranks of the
same armed forces who, as far as possible, speak the same language,
shall be assigned in sufficient numbers, account being taken of the
rank of officers and prisoners of equivalent status. Such orderlies
shall not be required to perform any other work.
108 THIRD GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Posting of the
Convention,
and of
regulations
and orders
concerning
prisoners
Use of
weapons
Notification
of ranks
Treatment of
officers
Supervision of the mess by the officers themselves shall be
facilitated in every way.
ART. 45. — Prisoners of war other than officers and prisoners of
equivalent status shall be treated with the regard due to their rank
and age.
Supervision of the mess by the prisoners themselves shall be
facilitated in every way.
CHAPTER VIII
Transfer of Prisoners ofWar after their Arrival in Camp
ART. 46. — The Detaining Power, when deciding upon the
transfer of prisoners of war, shall take into account the interests of
the prisoners themselves, more especially so as not to increase the
difficulty of their repatriation.
The transfer of prisoners of war shall always be effected
humanely and in conditions not less favourable than those under
which the forces of the Detaining Power are transferred. Account
shall always be taken of the climatic conditions to which the
prisoners of war are accustomed and the conditions of transfer shall
in no case be prejudicial to their health.
The Detaining Power shall supply prisoners of war during
transfer with sufficient food and drinking water to keep them in
good health, likewise with the necessary clothing, shelter and
medical attention. The Detaining Power shall take adequate
precautions especially in case of transport by sea or by air, to ensure
their safety during transfer, and shall draw up a complete list of all
transferred prisoners before their departure.
ART. 47. — Sick or wounded prisoners of war shall not be
transferred as long as their recovery may be endangered by the
journey, unless their safety imperatively demands it.
If the combat zone draws closer to a camp, the prisoners of war in
the said camp shall not be transferred unless their transfer can be
carried out in adequate conditions of safety, or if they are exposed
to greater risks by remaining on the spot than by being transferred.
ART. 48. — In the event of transfer, prisoners of war shall be
officially advised of their departure and of their new postal address.
PRISONERS OF WAR 109
Treatment
of other
prisoners
Conditions
Circumstances
precluding
transfer
Procedure for
transfer
Such notifications shall be given in time for them to pack their
luggage and inform their next of kin.
They shall be allowed to take with them their personal effects,
and the correspondence and parcels which have arrived for them.
The weight of such baggage may be limited, if the conditions of
transfer so require, to what each prisoner can reasonably carry,
which shall in no case be more than twenty-five kilograms per head.
Mail and parcels addressed to their former camp shall be
forwarded to them without delay. The camp commander shall take,
in agreement with the prisoners’ representative, any measures
needed to ensure the transport of the prisoners’ community
property and of the luggage they are unable to take with them in
consequence of restrictions imposed by virtue of the second
paragraph of this Article.
The costs of transfers shall be borne by the Detaining Power.
SECTION III
LABOUR OF PRISONERS OF WAR
ART. 49. — The Detaining Power may utilize the labour of
prisoners of war who are physically fit, taking into account their age,
sex, rank and physical aptitude, and with a view particularly to
maintaining them in a good state of physical and mental health.
Non-commissioned officers who are prisoners of war shall only be
required to do supervisory work. Those not so required may ask for
other suitable work which shall, so far as possible, be found for them.
If officers or persons of equivalent status ask for suitable work, it
shall be found for them, so far as possible, but they may in no
circumstances be compelled to work.
ART. 50. — Besides work connected with camp administration,
installation or maintenance, prisoners of war may be compelled to
do only such work as is included in the following classes:
a) agriculture;
b) industries connected with the production or the extraction of
raw materials, and manufacturing industries, with the
exception of metallurgical, machinery and chemical
industries; public works and building operations which have
no military character or purpose;
110 THIRD GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
General
observations
Authorized
work
c) transport and handling of stores which are not military in
character or purpose;
d) commercial business, and arts and crafts;
e) domestic service;
f) public utility services having no military character or purpose.
Should the above provisions be infringed, prisoners of war shall
be allowed to exercise their right of complaint, in conformity with
Article 78.
ART. 51. — Prisoners of war must be granted suitable working
conditions, especially as regards accommodation, food, clothing
and equipment; such conditions shall not be inferior to those
enjoyed by nationals of the Detaining Power employed in similar
work; account shall also be taken of climatic conditions.
The Detaining Power, in utilizing the labour of prisoners of war,
shall ensure that in areas in which prisoners are employed, the
national legislation concerning the protection of labour, and, more
particularly, the regulations for the safety of workers, are duly applied.
Prisoners of war shall receive training and be provided with the
means of protection suitable to the work they will have to do and
similar to those accorded to the nationals of the Detaining Power.
Subject to the provisions of Article 52, prisoners may be submitted
to the normal risks run by these civilian workers.
Conditions of labour shall in no case be rendered more arduous
by disciplinary measures.
ART. 52.— Unless he be a volunteer, no prisoner of war may be
employed on labour which is of an unhealthy or dangerous nature.
No prisoner of war shall be assigned to labour which would be
looked upon as humiliating for a member of the Detaining Power’s
own forces.
The removal of mines or similar devices shall be considered as
dangerous labour.
ART. 53. — The duration of the daily labour of prisoners of war,
including the time of the journey to and from, shall not be excessive,
and must in no case exceed that permitted for civilian workers in the
district,who are nationals of the Detaining Power and employed on
the same work.
Prisoners of war must be allowed, in the middle of the day’s work,
a rest of not less than one hour. This rest will be the same as that to
which workers of the Detaining Power are entitled, if the latter is of
longer duration. They shall be allowed in addition a rest of
PRISONERS OF WAR 111
Working
conditions
Dangerous
or
humiliating
labour
Duration
of labour
twenty-four consecutive hours every week, preferably on Sunday or
the day of rest in their country of origin. Furthermore, every
prisoner who has worked for one year shall be granted a rest of eight
consecutive days, during which his working pay shall be paid him.
If methods of labour such as piece work are employed, the length
of the working period shall not be rendered excessive thereby.
ART. 54. — The working pay due to prisoners of war shall be
fixed in accordance with the provisions of Article 62 of the present
Convention.
Prisoners of war who sustain accidents in connection with work,
or who contract a disease in the course, or in consequence of their
work, shall receive all the care their condition may require. The
Detaining Power shall furthermore deliver to such prisoners of war
a medical certificate enabling them to submit their claims to the
Power on which they depend, and shall send a duplicate to the
Central Prisoners ofWar Agency provided for in Article 123.
ART. 55. — The fitness of prisoners of war for work shall be
periodically verified by medical examinations at least once a month.
The examinations shall have particular regard to the nature of the
work which prisoners of war are required to do.
If any prisoner of war considers himself incapable of working, he
shall be permitted to appear before the medical authorities of his
camp. Physicians or surgeons may recommend that the prisoners
who are, in their opinion, unfit for work, be exempted therefrom.
ART. 56. — The organization and administration of labour
detachments shall be similar to those of prisoner of war camps.
Every labour detachment shall remain under the control of and
administratively part of a prisoner of war camp. The military
authorities and the commander of the said camp shall be responsible,
under the direction of their government, for the observance of the
provisions of the present Convention in labour detachments.
The camp commander shall keep an up-to-date record of the
labour detachments dependent on his camp, and shall
communicate it to the delegates of the Protecting Power, of the
International Committee of the Red Cross, or of other agencies
giving relief to prisoners of war, who may visit the camp.
ART. 57. — The treatment of prisoners of war who work for
private persons, even if the latter are responsible for guarding and
protecting them, shall not be inferior to that which is provided for
by the present Convention. The Detaining Power, the military
112 THIRD GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Working pay.
Occupational
accidents
and diseases
Medical
supervision
Labour
detachments
Prisoners
working for
private
employers
authorities and the commander of the camp to which such
prisoners belong shall be entirely responsible for the maintenance,
care, treatment, and payment of the working pay of such prisoners
of war.
Such prisoners of war shall have the right to remain in
communication with the prisoners’ representatives in the camps on
which they depend.
SECTION IV
FINANCIAL RESOURCES OF PRISONERS OF WAR
ART. 58. — Upon the outbreak of hostilities, and pending an
arrangement on this matter with the Protecting Power, the
Detaining Power may determine the maximum amount of money
in cash or in any similar form, that prisoners may have in their
possession. Any amount in excess, which was properly in their
possession and which has been taken or withheld from them, shall
be placed to their account, together with any monies deposited by
them, and shall not be converted into any other currency without
their consent.
If prisoners of war are permitted to purchase services or
commodities outside the camp against payment in cash, such
payments shall be made by the prisoner himself or by the camp
administration who will charge them to the accounts of the
prisoners concerned. The Detaining Power will establish the
necessary rules in this respect.
ART. 59. — Cash which was taken from prisoners of war, in
accordance with Article 18, at the time of their capture, and which is
in the currency of the Detaining Power, shall be placed to their
separate accounts, in accordance with the provisions of Article 64 of
the present Section.
The amounts, in the currency of the Detaining Power, due to the
conversion of sums in other currencies that are taken from the
prisoners of war at the same time, shall also be credited to their
separate accounts.
ART. 60. — The Detaining Power shall grant all prisoners of war
a monthly advance of pay, the amount of which shall be fixed by
PRISONERS OF WAR 113
Ready money
Advances
of pay
Amounts in
cash taken
from
prisoners
conversion, into the currency of the said Power, of the following
amounts:
Category I : Prisoners ranking below sergeants: eight Swiss
francs.
Category II : Sergeants and other non-commissioned officers,
or prisoners of equivalent rank: twelve Swiss
francs.
Category III : Warrant officers and commissioned officers below
the rank of major or prisoners of equivalent rank:
fifty Swiss francs.
Category IV : Majors, lieutenant-colonels, colonels or prisoners
of equivalent rank: sixty Swiss francs.
Category V : General officers or prisoners of war of equivalent
rank: seventy-five Swiss francs.
However, the Parties to the conflict concerned may by special
agreement modify the amount of advances of pay due to prisoners
of the preceding categories.
Furthermore, if the amounts indicated in the first paragraph
above would be unduly high compared with the pay of the
Detaining Power’s armed forces or would, for any reason, seriously
embarrass the Detaining Power, then, pending the conclusion of a
special agreement with the Power on which the prisoners depend to
vary the amounts indicated above, the Detaining Power:
a) shall continue to credit the accounts of the prisoners with the
amounts indicated in the first paragraph above;
b) may temporarily limit the amount made available from these
advances of pay to prisoners of war for their own use, to sums
which are reasonable, but which, for Category I, shall never be
inferior to the amount that the Detaining Power gives to the
members of its own armed forces.
The reasons for any limitations will be given without delay to the
Protecting Power.
ART. 61. — The Detaining Power shall accept for distribution as
supplementary pay to prisoners of war sums which the Power on
which the prisoners depend may forward to them,on condition that
the sums to be paid shall be the same for each prisoner of the same
category, shall be payable to all prisoners of that category depending
on that Power, and shall be placed in their separate accounts, at the
earliest opportunity, in accordance with the provisions of Article 64.
Such supplementary pay shall not relieve the Detaining Power of
any obligation under this Convention.
114 THIRD GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Supplementary
pay
ART. 62. — Prisoners of war shall be paid a fair working rate of
pay by the detaining authorities direct.The rate shall be fixed by the
said authorities, but shall at no time be less than one-fourth of one
Swiss franc for a full working day.The Detaining Power shall inform
prisoners of war, as well as the Power on which they depend,
through the intermediary of the Protecting Power, of the rate of
daily working pay that it has fixed.
Working pay shall likewise be paid by the detaining authorities to
prisoners of war permanently detailed to duties or to a skilled or
semi-skilled occupation in connection with the administration,
installation or maintenance of camps, and to the prisoners who are
required to carry out spiritual or medical duties on behalf of their
comrades.
The working pay of the prisoners’ representative, of his advisers,
if any, and of his assistants, shall be paid out of the fund maintained
by canteen profits.The scale of this working pay shall be fixed by the
prisoners’ representative and approved by the camp commander. If
there is no such fund, the detaining authorities shall pay these
prisoners a fair working rate of pay.
ART. 63. — Prisoners of war shall be permitted to receive
remittances of money addressed to them individually or collectively.
Every prisoner of war shall have at his disposal the credit balance
of his account as provided for in the following Article, within the
limits fixed by the Detaining Power, which shall make such
payments as are requested. Subject to financial or monetary
restrictions which the Detaining Power regards as essential,
prisoners of war may also have payments made abroad. In this case
payments addressed by prisoners of war to dependents shall be
given priority.
In any event, and subject to the consent of the Power on which they
depend, prisoners may have payments made in their own country, as
follows: the Detaining Power shall send to the aforesaid Power
through the Protecting Power, a notification giving all the necessary
particulars concerning the prisoners of war, the beneficiaries of the
payments, and the amount of the sums to be paid, expressed in the
Detaining Power’s currency. The said notification shall be signed by
the prisoners and countersigned by the camp commander. The
Detaining Power shall debit the prisoners’ account by a
corresponding amount; the sums thus debited shall be placed by it to
the credit of the Power on which the prisoners depend.
To apply the foregoing provisions, the Detaining Power may
usefully consult the Model Regulations in Annex V of the present
Convention.
PRISONERS OF WAR 115
Working pay
Transfer
of funds
ART. 64. — The Detaining Power shall hold an account for each
prisoner of war, showing at least the following:
1) The amounts due to the prisoner or received by him as
advances of pay, as working pay or derived from any other
source; the sums in the currency of the Detaining Power
which were taken from him; the sums taken from him and
converted at his request into the currency of the said Power.
2) The payments made to the prisoner in cash, or in any other
similar form; the payments made on his behalf and at his
request; the sums transferred under Article 63, third paragraph.
ART. 65. — Every item entered in the account of a prisoner of war
shall be countersigned or initialled by him, or by the prisoners’
representative acting on his behalf.
Prisoners of war shall at all times be afforded reasonable facilities
for consulting and obtaining copies of their accounts, which may
likewise be inspected by the representatives of the Protecting
Powers at the time of visits to the camp.
When prisoners of war are transferred from one camp to
another, their personal accounts will follow them. In case of transfer
from one Detaining Power to another, the monies which are their
property and are not in the currency of the Detaining Power will
follow them. They shall be given certificates for any other monies
standing to the credit of their accounts.
The Parties to the conflict concerned may agree to notify to each
other at specific intervals through the Protecting Power, the amount
of the accounts of the prisoners of war.
ART. 66. — On the termination of captivity, through the release
of a prisoner of war or his repatriation, the Detaining Power shall
give him a statement, signed by an authorized officer of that Power,
showing the credit balance then due to him. The Detaining Power
shall also send through the Protecting Power to the government
upon which the prisoner of war depends, lists giving all appropriate
particulars of all prisoners of war whose captivity has been
terminated by repatriation, release, escape, death or any other
means, and showing the amount of their credit balances. Such lists
shall be certified on each sheet by an authorized representative of
the Detaining Power.
Any of the above provisions of this Article may be varied by
mutual agreement between any two Parties to the conflict.
The Power on which the prisoner of war depends shall be
responsible for settling with him any credit balance due to him from
the Detaining Power on the termination of his captivity.
116 THIRD GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Prisoners’
accounts
Management
of prisoners’
accounts
Winding up
of accounts
ART. 67. — Advances of pay, issued to prisoners of war in
conformity with Article 60, shall be considered as made on behalf of
the Power on which they depend. Such advances of pay, as well as all
payments made by the said Power under Article 63, third
paragraph, and Article 68, shall form the subject of arrangements
between the Powers concerned, at the close of hostilities.
ART. 68. — Any claim by a prisoner of war for compensation in
respect of any injury or other disability arising out of work shall be
referred to the Power on which he depends, through the Protecting
Power. In accordance with Article 54, the Detaining Power will, in all
cases, provide the prisoner of war concerned with a statement
showing the nature of the injury or disability, the circumstances in
which it arose and particulars of medical or hospital treatment
given for it. This statement will be signed by a responsible officer of
the Detaining Power and the medical particulars certified by a
medical officer.
Any claim by a prisoner of war for compensation in respect of
personal effects, monies or valuables impounded by the Detaining
Power under Article 18 and not forthcoming on his repatriation, or
in respect of loss alleged to be due to the fault of the Detaining
Power or any of its servants, shall likewise be referred to the Power
on which he depends. Nevertheless, any such personal effects
required for use by the prisoners of war whilst in captivity shall be
replaced at the expense of the Detaining Power. The Detaining
Power will, in all cases,provide the prisoner of war with a statement,
signed by a responsible officer, showing all available information
regarding the reasons why such effects,monies or valuables have not
been restored to him. A copy of this statement will be forwarded to
the Power on which he depends through the Central Prisoners of
War Agency provided for in Article 123.
SECTION V
RELATIONS OF PRISONERS OF WAR
WITH THE EXTERIOR
ART. 69. — Immediately upon prisoners of war falling into its
power, the Detaining Power shall inform them and the Powers on
which they depend, through the Protecting Power, of the measures
taken to carry out the provisions of the present Section. They shall
PRISONERS OF WAR 117
Adjustments
between
Parties to the
conflict
Claims for
compensation
Notification
of measures
taken
likewise inform the parties concerned of any subsequent
modifications of such measures.
ART. 70. — Immediately upon capture, or not more than one
week after arrival at a camp, even if it is a transit camp, likewise in
case of sickness or transfer to hospital or another camp, every
prisoner of war shall be enabled to write direct to his family, on the
one hand, and to the Central Prisoners ofWar Agency provided for
in Article 123, on the other hand, a card similar, if possible, to the
model annexed to the present Convention, informing his relatives of
his capture, address and state of health. The said cards shall be
forwarded as rapidly as possible and may not be delayed in any
manner.
ART. 71. — Prisoners of war shall be allowed to send and receive
letters and cards. If the Detaining Power deems it necessary to limit
the number of letters and cards sent by each prisoner of war, the
said number shall not be less than two letters and four cards
monthly, exclusive of the capture cards provided for in Article 70,
and conforming as closely as possible to the models annexed to the
present Convention. Further limitations may be imposed only if the
Protecting Power is satisfied that it would be in the interests of the
prisoners of war concerned to do so owing to difficulties of
translation caused by the Detaining Power’s inability to find
sufficient qualified linguists to carry out the necessary censorship. If
limitations must be placed on the correspondence addressed to
prisoners of war, they may be ordered only by the Power on which
the prisoners depend, possibly at the request of the Detaining
Power. Such letters and cards must be conveyed by the most rapid
method at the disposal of the Detaining Power; they may not be
delayed or retained for disciplinary reasons.
Prisoners of war who have been without news for a long period, or
who are unable to receive news from their next of kin or to give them
news by the ordinary postal route, as well as those who are at a great
distance from their homes, shall be permitted to send telegrams, the
fees being charged against the prisoners of war’s accounts with the
Detaining Power or paid in the currency at their disposal. They shall
likewise benefit by this measure in cases of urgency.
As a general rule, the correspondence of prisoners of war shall be
written in their native language. The Parties to the conflict may
allow correspondence in other languages.
Sacks containing prisoner of war mail must be securely sealed
and labelled so as clearly to indicate their contents, and must be
addressed to offices of destination.
118 THIRD GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Capture card
Correspondence
ART. 72. — Prisoners of war shall be allowed to receive by post or
by any other means individual parcels or collective shipments
containing, in particular, foodstuffs, clothing, medical supplies and
articles of a religious, educational or recreational character which
may meet their needs, including books, devotional articles scientific
equipment, examination papers,musical instruments, sports outfits
and materials allowing prisoners of war to pursue their studies or
their cultural activities.
Such shipments shall in no way free the Detaining Power from
the obligations imposed upon it by virtue of the present
Convention.
The only limits which may be placed on these shipments shall be
those proposed by the Protecting Power in the interest of the
prisoners themselves, or by the International Committee of the Red
Cross or any other organization giving assistance to the prisoners,
in respect of their own shipments only, on account of exceptional
strain on transport or communications.
The conditions for the sending of individual parcels and
collective relief shall, if necessary, be the subject of special
agreements between the Powers concerned, which may in no case
delay the receipt by the prisoners of relief supplies. Books may not
be included in parcels of clothing and foodstuffs.Medical supplies
shall, as a rule, be sent in collective parcels.
ART. 73. — In the absence of special agreements between the
Powers concerned on the conditions for the receipt and distribution
of collective relief shipments, the rules and regulations concerning
collective shipments,which are annexed to the present Convention,
shall be applied.
The special agreements referred to above shall in no case restrict
the right of prisoners’ representatives to take possession of collective
relief shipments intended for prisoners of war, to proceed to their
distribution or to dispose of them in the interest of the prisoners.
Nor shall such agreements restrict the right of representatives of
the Protecting Power, the International Committee of the Red Cross
or any other organization giving assistance to prisoners of war and
responsible for the forwarding of collective shipments, to supervise
their distribution to the recipients.
ART. 74. — All relief shipments for prisoners of war shall be
exempt from import, customs and other dues.
Correspondence, relief shipments and authorized remittances of
money addressed to prisoners of war or despatched by them
through the post office, either direct or through the Information
PRISONERS OF WAR 119
Relief
shipments
I.
General
principles
II.
Collective
relief
Exemption
from postal
and
transport
charges
Bureaux provided for in Article 122 and the Central Prisoners of
War Agency provided for in Article 123, shall be exempt from any
postal dues, both in the countries of origin and destination, and in
intermediate countries.
If relief shipments intended for prisoners of war cannot be sent
through the post office by reason of weight or for any other cause,
the cost of transportation shall be borne by the Detaining Power in
all the territories under its control. The other Powers party to the
Convention shall bear the cost of transport in their respective
territories.
In the absence of special agreements between the Parties
concerned, the costs connected with transport of such shipments,
other than costs covered by the above exemption, shall be charged
to the senders.
The High Contracting Parties shall endeavour to reduce, so far as
possible, the rates charged for telegrams sent by prisoners of war, or
addressed to them.
ART. 75. — Should military operations prevent the Powers
concerned from fulfilling their obligation to assure the transport of
the shipments referred to in Articles 70, 71, 72 and 77, the Protecting
Powers concerned, the International Committee of the Red Cross or
any other organization duly approved by the Parties to the conflict
may undertake to ensure the conveyance of such shipments by
suitable means (railway wagons, motor vehicles, vessels or
aircraft, etc.). For this purpose, the High Contracting Parties shall
endeavour to supply them with such transport and to allow its
circulation, especially by granting the necessary safe-conducts.
Such transport may also be used to convey:
a) correspondence, lists and reports exchanged between the
Central Information Agency referred to in Article 123 and the
National Bureaux referred to in Article 122;
b) correspondence and reports relating to prisoners of war
which the Protecting Power, the International Committee of
the Red Cross or any other body assisting the prisoners,
exchange either with their own delegates or with the Parties
to the conflict.
These provisions in no way detract from the right of any Party to
the conflict to arrange other means of transport, if it should so
prefer, nor preclude the granting of safe-conducts, under mutually
agreed conditions, to such means of transport.
In the absence of special agreements, the costs occasioned by the
use of such means of transport shall be borne proportionally by the
Parties to the conflict whose nationals are benefited thereby.
120 THIRD GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Special
means of
transport
ART. 76. — The censoring of correspondence addressed to
prisoners of war or despatched by them shall be done as quickly as
possible. Mail shall be censored only by the despatching State and
the receiving State, and once only by each.
The examination of consignments intended for prisoners of war
shall not be carried out under conditions that will expose the goods
contained in them to deterioration; except in the case of written or
printed matter, it shall be done in the presence of the addressee, or
of a fellow-prisoner duly delegated by him. The delivery to
prisoners of individual or collective consignments shall not be
delayed under the pretext of difficulties of censorship.
Any prohibition of correspondence ordered by Parties to the
conflict, either for military or political reasons, shall be only
temporary and its duration shall be as short as possible.
ART. 77. — The Detaining Power shall provide all facilities for the
transmission, through the Protecting Power or the Central
Prisoners ofWar Agency provided for in Article 123,of instruments,
papers or documents intended for prisoners of war or despatched
by them, especially powers of attorney and wills.
In all cases they shall facilitate the preparation and execution of
such documents on behalf of prisoners of war; in particular, they
shall allow them to consult a lawyer and shall take what measures
are necessary for the authentication of their signatures.
SECTION VI
RELATIONS BETWEEN PRISONERS OF WAR
AND THE AUTHORITIES
CHAPTER I
Complaints of Prisoners ofWar
Respecting the Conditions of Captivity
ART. 78. — Prisoners of war shall have the right to make known
to the military authorities in whose power they are, their requests
regarding the conditions of captivity to which they are subjected.
PRISONERS OF WAR 121
Censorship
and
examination
Preparation,
execution
and
transmission
of legal
documents
Complaints
and requests
They shall also have the unrestricted right to apply to the
representatives of the Protecting Powers either through their
prisoners’ representative or, if they consider it necessary, direct, in
order to draw their attention to any points on which they may have
complaints to make regarding their conditions of captivity.
Theses requests and complaints shall not be limited nor
considered to be a part of the correspondence quota referred to in
Article 71. They must be transmitted immediately. Even if they are
recognized to be unfounded, they may not give rise to any
punishment.
Prisoners’ representative may send periodic reports on the
situation in the camps and the needs of the prisoners of war to the
representatives of the Protecting Powers.
CHAPTER II
Prisoner ofWar Representatives
ART. 79. — In all places where there are prisoners of war, except
in those where there are officers, the prisoners shall freely elect by
secret ballot, every six months, and also in case of vacancies,
prisoners’ representatives entrusted with representing them before
the military authorities, the Protecting Powers, the International
Committee of the Red Cross and any other organization which may
assist them. These prisoners’ representatives shall be eligible for reelection.
In camps for officers and persons of equivalent status or in mixed
camps, the senior officer among the prisoners of war shall be
recognized as the camp prisoners’ representative. In camps for
officers, he shall be assisted by one or more advisers chosen by the
officers; in mixed camps, his assistants shall be chosen from among
the prisoners of war who are not officers and shall be elected by them.
Officer prisoners of war of the same nationality shall be stationed
in labour camps for prisoners of war, for the purpose of carrying
out the camp administration duties for which the prisoners of war
are responsible. These officers may be elected as prisoners’
representatives under the first paragraph of this Article. In such a
case the assistants to the prisoners’ representatives shall be chosen
from among those prisoners of war who are not officers.
Every representative elected must be approved by the Detaining
Power before he has the right to commence his duties.Where the
122 THIRD GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Election
Detaining Power refuses to approve a prisoner of war elected by his
fellow prisoners of war, it must inform the Protecting Power of the
reason for such refusal.
In all cases the prisoners’ representative must have the same
nationality, language and customs as the prisoners of war whom he
represents.Thus,prisoners of war distributed in different sections of
a camp, according to their nationality, language or customs, shall
have for each section their own prisoners’ representative, in
accordance with the foregoing paragraphs.
ART. 80. — Prisoners’ representatives shall further the physical,
spiritual and intellectual well-being of prisoners of war.
In particular, where the prisoners decide to organize amongst
themselves a system of mutual assistance, this organization will be
within the province of the prisoners’ representative, in addition to
the special duties entrusted to him by other provisions of the
present Convention.
Prisoners’ representatives shall not be held responsible, simply by
reason of their duties, for any offences committed by prisoners of war.
ART. 81. — Prisoners’ representatives shall not be required to
perform any other work, if the accomplishment of their duties is
thereby made more difficult.
Prisoners’ representatives may appoint from amongst the
prisoners such assistants as they may require. All material facilities
shall be granted them, particularly a certain freedom of movement
necessary for the accomplishment of their duties (inspection of
labour detachments, receipt of supplies, etc.).
Prisoners’ representatives shall be permitted to visit premises
where prisoners of war are detained, and every prisoner of war shall
have the right to consult freely his prisoners’ representative.
All facilities shall likewise be accorded to the prisoners’
representatives for communication by post and telegraph with the
detaining authorities, the Protecting Powers, the International
Committee of the Red Cross and their delegates, the Mixed Medical
Commissions and with the bodies which give assistance to
prisoners of war. Prisoners’ representatives of labour detachments
shall enjoy the same facilities for communication with the prisoners’
representatives of the principal camp. Such communications shall
not be restricted, nor considered as forming a part of the quota
mentioned in Article 71.
Prisoners’ representatives who are transferred shall be allowed a
reasonable time to acquaint their successors with current affairs.
In case of dismissal, the reasons therefor shall be communicated
to the Protecting Power.
PRISONERS OF WAR 123
Duties
Prerogatives
CHAPTER III
Penal and Disciplinary Sanctions
I. General Provisions
ART. 82. — A prisoner of war shall be subject to the laws,
regulations and orders in force in the armed forces of the Detaining
Power; the Detaining Power shall be justified in taking judicial or
disciplinary measures in respect of any offence committed by a
prisoner of war against such laws, regulations or orders. However,
no proceedings or punishments contrary to the provisions of this
Chapter shall be allowed.
If any law, regulation or order of the Detaining Power shall
declare acts committed by a prisoner of war to be punishable,
whereas the same acts would not be punishable if committed by a
member of the forces of the Detaining Power, such acts shall entail
disciplinary punishments only.
ART. 83. — In deciding whether proceedings in respect of an
offence alleged to have been committed by a prisoner of war shall be
judicial or disciplinary, the Detaining Power shall ensure that the
competent authorities exercise the greatest leniency and adopt,
wherever possible, disciplinary rather than judicial measures.
ART. 84. — A prisoner of war shall be tried only by a military
court, unless the existing laws of the Detaining Power expressly
permit the civil courts to try a member of the armed forces of the
Detaining Power in respect of the particular offence alleged to have
been committed by the prisoner of war.
In no circumstances whatever shall a prisoner of war be tried by
a court of any kind which does not offer the essential guarantees of
independence and impartiality as generally recognized, and, in
particular, the procedure of which does not afford the accused the
rights and means of defence provided for in Article 105.
ART. 85. — Prisoners of war prosecuted under the laws of the
Detaining Power for acts committed prior to capture shall retain,
even if convicted, the benefits of the present Convention.
ART. 86. — No prisoner of war may be punished more than once
for the same act, or on the same charge.
124 THIRD GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Applicable
legislation
Choice of
disciplinary
or judicial
proceedings
Courts
“Non bis
in idem”
Offences
committed
before
capture
ART. 87. — Prisoners of war may not be sentenced by the military
authorities and courts of the Detaining Power to any penalties
except those provided for in respect of members of the armed forces
of the said Power who have committed the same acts.
When fixing the penalty, the courts or authorities of the
Detaining Power shall take into consideration, to the widest extent
possible, the fact that the accused, not being a national of the
Detaining Power, is not bound to it by any duty of allegiance, and
that he is in its power as the result of circumstances independent of
his own will. The said courts or authorities shall be at liberty to
reduce the penalty provided for the violation of which the prisoner
of war is accused, and shall therefore not be bound to apply the
minimum penalty prescribed.
Collective punishment for individual acts, corporal punishment,
imprisonment in premises without daylight and, in general, any
form of torture or cruelty, are forbidden.
No prisoner of war may be deprived of his rank by the Detaining
Power, or prevented from wearing his badges.
ART. 88. — Officers, non-commissioned officers and men who
are prisoners of war undergoing a disciplinary or judicial
punishment, shall not be subjected to more severe treatment than
that applied in respect of the same punishment to members of the
armed forces of the Detaining Power of equivalent rank.
A woman prisoner of war shall not be awarded or sentenced to a
punishment more severe, or treated whilst undergoing punishment
more severely, than a woman member of the armed forces of the
Detaining Power dealt with for a similar offence.
In no case may a woman prisoner of war be awarded or
sentenced to a punishment more severe, or treated whilst
undergoing punishment more severely, than a male member of the
armed forces of the Detaining Power dealt with for a similar offence.
Prisoners of war who have served disciplinary or judicial
sentences may not be treated differently from other prisoners of
war.
II. Disciplinary Sanctions
ART. 89.— The disciplinary punishments applicable to prisoners
of war are the following:
1) A fine which shall not exceed 50 per cent of the advances of
pay and working pay which the prisoner of war would
otherwise receive under the provisions of Articles 60 and 62
during a period of not more than thirty days.
PRISONERS OF WAR 125
Penalties
Execution
of penalties
General
observations
I.
Forms of
punishment
2) Discontinuance of privileges granted over and above the
treatment provided for by the present Convention.
3) Fatigue duties not exceeding two hours daily.
4) Confinement.
The punishment referred to under 3) shall not be applied to
officers.
In no case shall disciplinary punishments be inhuman, brutal or
dangerous to the health of prisoners of war.
ART. 90. — The duration of any single punishment shall in no case
exceed thirty days.Any period of confinement awaiting the hearing of
a disciplinary offence or the award of disciplinary punishment shall
be deducted from an award pronounced against a prisoner of war.
The maximum of thirty days provided above may not be
exceeded, even if the prisoner of war is answerable for several acts at
the same time when he is awarded punishment, whether such acts
are related or not.
The period between the pronouncing of an award of disciplinary
punishment and its execution shall not exceed one month.
When a prisoner of war is awarded a further disciplinary
punishment, a period of at least three days shall elapse between the
execution of any two of the punishments, if the duration of one of
these is ten days or more.
ART. 91. — The escape of a prisoner of war shall be deemed to
have succeeded when:
1) he has joined the armed forces of the Power on which he
depends, or those of an allied Power;
2) he has left the territory under the control of the Detaining
Power, or of an ally of the said Power;
3) he has joined a ship flying the flag of the Power on which he
depends, or of an allied Power, in the territorial waters of the
Detaining Power, the said ship not being under the control of
the last named Power.
Prisoners of war who have made good their escape in the sense of
this Article and who are recaptured, shall not be liable to any
punishment in respect of their previous escape.
ART. 92. — A prisoner of war who attempts to escape and is
recaptured before having made good his escape in the sense of
Article 91 shall be liable only to a disciplinary punishment in
respect of this act, even if it is a repeated offence.
126 THIRD GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
II.
Duration of
punishments
II.
Unsuccessful
escape
Escapes
I.
Successful
escape
A prisoner of war who is recaptured shall be handed over without
delay to the competent military authority.
Article 88, fourth paragraph, notwithstanding, prisoners of war
punished as a result of an unsuccessful escape may be subjected to
special surveillance. Such surveillance must not affect the state of
their health, must be undergone in a prisoner of war camp, and
must not entail the suppression of any of the safeguards granted
them by the present Convention.
ART. 93. — Escape or attempt to escape, even if it is a repeated
offence, shall not be deemed an aggravating circumstance if the
prisoner of war is subjected to trial by judicial proceedings in respect
of an offence committed during his escape or attempt to escape.
In conformity with the principle stated in Article 83, offences
committed by prisoners of war with the sole intention of facilitating
their escape and which do not entail any violence against life or
limb, such as offences against public property, theft without
intention of self-enrichment, the drawing up or use of false papers,
the wearing of civilian clothing, shall occasion disciplinary
punishment only.
Prisoners of war who aid or abet an escape or an attempt to
escape shall be liable on this count to disciplinary punishment only.
ART. 94. — If an escaped prisoner of war is recaptured, the Power
on which he depends shall be notified thereof in the manner defined
in Article 122, provided notification of his escape has been made.
ART. 95. — A prisoner of war accused of an offence against
discipline shall not be kept in confinement pending the hearing
unless a member of the armed forces of the Detaining Power would
be so kept if he were accused of a similar offence, or if it is essential
in the interests of camp order and discipline.
Any period spent by a prisoner of war in confinement awaiting
the disposal of an offence against discipline shall be reduced to an
absolute minimum and shall not exceed fourteen days.
The provisions of Articles 97 and 98 of this Chapter shall apply to
prisoners of war who are in confinement awaiting the disposal of
offences against discipline.
ART. 96. — Acts which constitute offences against discipline shall
be investigated immediately.
Without prejudice to the competence of courts and superior
military authorities, disciplinary punishment may be ordered only
by an officer having disciplinary powers in his capacity as camp
PRISONERS OF WAR 127
III.
Connected
offences
IV.
Notification
of recapture
II.
Competent
authorities
and right of
defence
Procedure
I.
Confinement
awaiting
hearing
commander, or by a responsible officer who replaces him or to
whom he has delegated his disciplinary powers.
In no case may such powers be delegated to a prisoner of war or
be exercised by a prisoner of war.
Before any disciplinary award is pronounced, the accused shall
be given precise information regarding the offences of which he is
accused, and given an opportunity of explaining his conduct and of
defending himself. He shall be permitted, in particular, to call
witnesses and to have recourse, if necessary, to the services of a
qualified interpreter. The decision shall be announced to the
accused prisoner of war and to the prisoners’ representative.
A record of disciplinary punishments shall be maintained by the
camp commander and shall be open to inspection by
representatives of the Protecting Power.
ART. 97. — Prisoners of war shall not in any case be transferred
to penitentiary establishments (prisons, penitentiaries, convict
prisons, etc.) to undergo disciplinary punishment therein.
All premises in which disciplinary punishments are undergone
shall conform to the sanitary requirements set forth in Article 25.A
prisoner of war undergoing punishment shall be enabled to keep
himself in a state of cleanliness, in conformity with Article 29.
Officers and persons of equivalent status shall not be lodged in
the same quarters as non-commissioned officers or men.
Women prisoners of war undergoing disciplinary punishment
shall be confined in separate quarters from male prisoners of war
and shall be under the immediate supervision of women.
ART. 98. — A prisoner of war undergoing confinement as a
disciplinary punishment, shall continue to enjoy the benefits of the
provisions of this Convention except in so far as these are
necessarily rendered inapplicable by the mere fact that he is
confined. In no case may he be deprived of the benefits of the
provisions of Articles 78 and 126.
A prisoner of war awarded disciplinary punishment may not be
deprived of the prerogatives attached to his rank.
Prisoners of war awarded disciplinary punishment shall be
allowed to exercise and to stay in the open air at least two hours daily.
They shall be allowed, on their request, to be present at the daily
medical inspections. They shall receive the attention which their
state of health requires and, if necessary, shall be removed to the
camp infirmary or to a hospital.
They shall have permission to read and write, likewise to send
and receive letters. Parcels and remittances of money, however, may
128 THIRD GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Execution of
punishment
I.
Premises
II.
Essential
safeguards
be withheld from them until the completion of the punishment;
they shall meanwhile be entrusted to the prisoners’ representative,
who will hand over to the infirmary the perishable goods contained
in such parcels.
III. Judicial Proceedings
ART. 99. — No prisoner of war may be tried or sentenced for an
act which is not forbidden by the law of the Detaining Power or by
international law, in force at the time the said act was committed.
No moral or physical coercion may be exerted on a prisoner of
war in order to induce him to admit himself guilty of the act of
which he is accused.
No prisoner of war may be convicted without having had an
opportunity to present his defence and the assistance of a qualified
advocate or counsel.
ART. 100. — Prisoners of war and the Protecting Powers shall be
informed as soon as possible of the offences which are punishable
by the death sentence under the laws of the Detaining Power.
Other offences shall not thereafter be made punishable by the
death penalty without the concurrence of the Power upon which the
prisoners of war depend.
The death sentence cannot be pronounced on a prisoner of war
unless the attention of the court has, in accordance with Article 87,
second paragraph, been particularly called to the fact that since the
accused is not a national of the Detaining Power, he is not bound to
it by any duty of allegiance, and that he is in its power as the result
of circumstances independent of his own will.
ART. 101. — If the death penalty is pronounced on a prisoner of
war, the sentence shall not be executed before the expiration of a
period of at least six months from the date when the Protecting
Power receives, at an indicated address, the detailed communication
provided for in Article 107.
ART. 102. — A prisoner of war can be validly sentenced only if
the sentence has been pronounced by the same courts according to
the same procedure as in the case of members of the armed forces of
the Detaining Power, and if, furthermore, the provisions of the
present Chapter have been observed.
PRISONERS OF WAR 129
Essential
rules
I.
General
principles
II.
Death
penalty
III.
Delay in
execution of
the death
penalty
Procedure
I.
Conditions
for validity of
sentence
ART. 103. — Judicial investigations relating to a prisoner of war
shall be conducted as rapidly as circumstances permit and so that
his trial shall take place as soon as possible.A prisoner of war shall
not be confined while awaiting trial unless a member of the armed
forces of the Detaining Power would be so confined if he were
accused of a similar offence, or if it is essential to do so in the
interests of national security. In no circumstances shall this
confinement exceed three months.
Any period spent by a prisoner of war in confinement awaiting
trial shall be deducted from any sentence of imprisonment passed
upon him and taken into account in fixing any penalty.
The provisions of Articles 97 and 98 of this Chapter shall apply
to a prisoner of war whilst in confinement awaiting trial.
ART. 104. — In any case in which the Detaining Power has
decided to institute judicial proceedings against a prisoner of war, it
shall notify the Protecting Power as soon as possible and at least
three weeks before the opening of the trial. This period of three
weeks shall run as from the day on which such notification reaches
the Protecting Power at the address previously indicated by the
latter to the Detaining Power.
The said notification shall contain the following information:
1) surname and first names of the prisoner of war, his rank, his
army, regimental, personal or serial number, his date of birth,
and his profession or trade, if any;
2) place of internment or confinement;
3) specification of the charge or charges on which the prisoner
of war is to be arraigned, giving the legal provisions
applicable;
4) designation of the court which will try the case, likewise the
date and place fixed for the opening of the trial.
The same communication shall be made by the Detaining Power
to the prisoners’ representative.
If no evidence is submitted, at the opening of a trial, that the
notification referred to above was received by the Protecting Power,
by the prisoner of war and by the prisoners’ representative
concerned, at least three weeks before the opening of the trial, then
the latter cannot take place and must be adjourned.
ART. 105. — The prisoner of war shall be entitled to assistance by
one of his prisoner comrades, to defence by a qualified advocate or
counsel of his own choice, to the calling of witnesses and, if he
deems necessary, to the services of a competent interpreter.He shall
130 THIRD GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
II.
Confinement
awaiting trial
(Deduction
from
sentence,
treatment)
III.
Notification
of
proceedings
IV.
Rights and
means of
defence
be advised of these rights by the Detaining Power in due time before
the trial.
Failing a choice by the prisoner of war, the Protecting Power shall
find him an advocate or counsel, and shall have at least one week at
its disposal for the purpose.The Detaining Power shall deliver to the
said Power, on request, a list of persons qualified to present the
defence. Failing a choice of an advocate or counsel by the prisoner
of war or the Protecting Power, the Detaining Power shall appoint a
competent advocate or counsel to conduct the defence.
The advocate or counsel conducting the defence on behalf of the
prisoner of war shall have at his disposal a period of two weeks at
least before the opening of the trial, as well as the necessary facilities
to prepare the defence of the accused. He may, in particular, freely
visit the accused and interview him in private. He may also confer
with any witnesses for the defence, including prisoners of war. He
shall have the benefit of these facilities until the term of appeal or
petition has expired.
Particulars of the charge or charges on which the prisoner of war
is to be arraigned, as well as the documents which are generally
communicated to the accused by virtue of the laws in force in the
armed forces of the Detaining Power, shall be communicated to the
accused prisoner of war in a language which he understands, and in
good time before the opening of the trial.The same communication
in the same circumstances shall be made to the advocate or counsel
conducting the defence on behalf of the prisoner of war.
The representatives of the Protecting Power shall be entitled to
attend the trial of the case, unless, exceptionally, this is held in
camera in the interest of State security. In such a case the Detaining
Power shall advise the Protecting Power accordingly.
ART. 106.— Every prisoner of war shall have, in the same manner
as the members of the armed forces of the Detaining Power, the
right of appeal or petition from any sentence pronounced upon
him, with a view to the quashing or revising of the sentence or the
reopening of the trial. He shall be fully informed of his right to
appeal or petition and of the time limit within which he may do so.
ART. 107. — Any judgment and sentence pronounced upon a
prisoner of war shall be immediately reported to the Protecting
Power in the form of a summary communication, which shall also
indicate whether he has the right of appeal with a view to the
quashing of the sentence or the reopening of the trial. This
communication shall likewise be sent to the prisoners’
representative concerned. It shall also be sent to the accused
PRISONERS OF WAR 131
V.
Appeals
VI.
Notification
of findings
and sentence
prisoner of war in a language he understands, if the sentence was
not pronounced in his presence. The Detaining Power shall also
immediately communicate to the Protecting Power the decision of
the prisoner of war to use or to waive his right of appeal.
Furthermore, if a prisoner of war is finally convicted or if a
sentence pronounced on a prisoner of war in the first instance is a
death sentence, the Detaining Power shall as soon as possible
address to the Protecting Power a detailed communication
containing:
1) the precise wording of the finding and sentence;
2) a summarized report of any preliminary investigation and of
the trial, emphasizing in particular the elements of the
prosecution and the defence;
3) notification,where applicable, of the establishment where the
sentence will be served.
The communications provided for in the foregoing subparagraphs
shall be sent to the Protecting Power at the address
previously made known to the Detaining Power.
ART. 108. — Sentence pronounced on prisoners of war after a
conviction has become duly enforceable shall be served in the same
establishments and under the same conditions as in the case of
members of the armed forces of the Detaining Power. These
conditions shall in all cases conform to the requirements of health
and humanity.
A woman prisoner of war on whom such a sentence has been
pronounced shall be confined in separate quarters and shall be
under the supervision of women.
In any case, prisoners of war sentenced to a penalty depriving
them of their liberty shall retain the benefit of the provisions of
Articles 78 and 126 of the present Convention. Furthermore, they
shall be entitled to receive and despatch correspondence, to receive
at least one relief parcel monthly, to take regular exercise in the open
air, to have the medical care required by their state of health, and the
spiritual assistance they may desire. Penalties to which they may be
subjected shall be in accordance with the provisions of Article 87,
third paragraph.
132 THIRD GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Execution
of penalties.
Penal
regulations
PART IV
TERMINATION OF CAPTIVITY
SECTION I
DIRECT REPATRIATION AND ACCOMMODATION
IN NEUTRAL COUNTRIES
ART. 109. — Subject to the provisions of the third paragraph of
this Article, Parties to the conflict are bound to send back to their
own country, regardless of number or rank, seriously wounded and
seriously sick prisoners of war, after having cared for them until
they are fit to travel, in accordance with the first paragraph of the
following Article.
Throughout the duration of hostilities, Parties to the conflict
shall endeavour, with the co-operation of the neutral Powers
concerned, to make arrangements for the accommodation in
neutral countries of the sick and wounded prisoners of war referred
to in the second paragraph of the following Article.
They may, in addition, conclude agreements with a view to the
direct repatriation or internment in a neutral country of ablebodied
prisoners of war who have undergone a long period of
captivity.
No sick or injured prisoner of war who is eligible for repatriation
under the first paragraph of this Article, may be repatriated against
his will during hostilities.
ART. 110.— The following shall be repatriated direct;
1) Incurably wounded and sick whose mental or physical fitness
seems to have been gravely diminished.
2) Wounded and sick who, according to medical opinion, are
not likely to recover within one year, whose condition
requires treatment and whose mental or physical fitness
seems to have been gravely diminished.
3) Wounded and sick who have recovered, but whose mental or
physical fitness seems to have gravely and permanently
diminished.
PRISONERS OF WAR 133
General
observations
Cases of
repatriation
and
accommodation
The following may be accommodated in a neutral country:
1) Wounded and sick whose recovery may be expected within
one year of the date of the wound or the beginning of the
illness, if treatment in a neutral country might increase the
prospects of a more certain and speedy recovery.
2) Prisoners of war whose mental or physical health, according
to medical opinion, is seriously threatened by continued
captivity, but whose accommodation in a neutral country
might remove such a threat.
The conditions which prisoners of war accommodated in a
neutral country must fulfil in order to permit their repatriation shall
be fixed, as shall likewise their status, by agreement between the
Powers concerned. In general, prisoners of war who have been
accommodated in a neutral country, and who belong to the
following categories, should be repatriated:
1) those whose state of health has deteriorated so as to fulfil the
conditions laid down for direct repatriation;
2) those whose mental or physical powers remain, even after
treatment, considerably impaired.
If no special agreements are concluded between the Parties to the
conflict concerned, to determine the cases of disablement or
sickness entailing direct repatriation or accommodation in a
neutral country, such cases shall be settled in accordance with the
principles laid down in the Model Agreement concerning direct
repatriation and accommodation in neutral countries of wounded
and sick prisoners of war and in the Regulations concerning Mixed
Medical Commissions annexed to the present Convention.
ART. 111. — The Detaining Power, the Power on which the
prisoners of war depend, and a neutral Power agreed upon by these
two Powers, shall endeavour to conclude agreements which will
enable prisoners of war to be interned in the territory of the said
neutral Power until the close of hostilities.
ART. 112. — Upon the outbreak of hostilities, Mixed Medical
Commissions shall be appointed to examine sick and wounded
prisoners of war, and to make all appropriate decisions regarding
them. The appointment, duties and functioning of these
Commissions shall be in conformity with the provisions of the
Regulations annexed to the present Convention.
However, prisoners of war who, in the opinion of the medical
authorities of the Detaining Power, are manifestly seriously injured
134 THIRD GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Internment
in a neutral
country
Mixed
Medical
Commissions
or seriously sick,may be repatriated without having to be examined
by a Mixed Medical Commission.
ART. 113. — Besides those who are designated by the medical
authorities of the Detaining Power, wounded or sick prisoners of
war belonging to the categories listed below shall be entitled to
present themselves for examination by the Mixed Medical
Commissions provided for in the foregoing Article:
1) Wounded and sick proposed by a physician or surgeon who is
of the same nationality, or a national of a Party to the conflict
allied with the Power on which the said prisoners depend, and
who exercises his functions in the camp.
2) Wounded and sick proposed by their prisoners’
representative.
3) Wounded and sick proposed by the Power on which they
depend, or by an organization duly recognized by the said
Power and giving assistance to the prisoners.
Prisoners of war who do not belong to one of the three foregoing
categories may nevertheless present themselves for examination by
Mixed Medical Commissions, but shall be examined only after
those belonging to the said categories.
The physician or surgeon of the same nationality as the prisoners
who present themselves for examination by the Mixed Medical
Commission, likewise the prisoners’ representative of the said
prisoners, shall have permission to be present at the examination.
ART. 114. — Prisoners of war who meet with accidents shall,
unless the injury is self-inflicted, have the benefit of the provisions
of this Convention as regards repatriation or accommodation in a
neutral country.
ART. 115. — No prisoner of war on whom a disciplinary
punishment has been imposed and who is eligible for repatriation
or for accommodation in a neutral country,may be kept back on the
plea that he has not undergone his punishment.
Prisoners of war detained in connection with a judicial
prosecution or conviction and who are designated for repatriation
or accommodation in a neutral country, may benefit by such
measures before the end of the proceedings or the completion of the
punishment, if the Detaining Power consents.
Parties to the conflict shall communicate to each other the names
of those who will be detained until the end of the proceedings or the
completion of the punishment.
PRISONERS OF WAR 135
Prisoners
entitled to
examination
by Mixed
Medical
Commissions
Prisoners
meeting with
accidents
Prisoners
serving a
sentence
ART. 116. — The costs of repatriating prisoners of war or of
transporting them to a neutral country shall be borne, from the
frontiers of the Detaining Power, by the Power on which the said
prisoners depend.
ART. 117. — No repatriated person may be employed on active
military service.
SECTION II
RELEASE AND REPATRIATION OF PRISONERS
OF WAR AT THE CLOSE OF HOSTILITIES
ART. 118. — Prisoners of war shall be released and repatriated
without delay after the cessation of active hostilities.
In the absence of stipulations to the above effect in any
agreement concluded between the Parties to the conflict with a view
to the cessation of hostilities, or failing any such agreement, each of
the Detaining Powers shall itself establish and execute without delay
a plan of repatriation in conformity with the principle laid down in
the foregoing paragraph.
In either case, the measures adopted shall be brought to the
knowledge of the prisoners of war.
The costs of repatriation of prisoners of war shall in all cases be
equitably apportioned between the Detaining Power and the Power
on which the prisoners depend. This apportionment shall be
carried out on the following basis:
a) If the two Powers are contiguous, the Power on which the
prisoners of war depend shall bear the costs of repatriation
from the frontiers of the Detaining Power.
b) If the two Powers are not contiguous, the Detaining Power
shall bear the costs of transport of prisoners of war over its
own territory as far as its frontier or its port of embarkation
nearest to the territory of the Power on which the prisoners of
war depend. The Parties concerned shall agree between
themselves as to the equitable apportionment of the
remaining costs of the repatriation. The conclusion of this
agreement shall in no circumstances justify any delay in the
repatriation of the prisoners of war.
136 THIRD GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Costs of
repatriation
Activity after
repatriation
Release and
repatriation
ART. 119.— Repatriation shall be effected in conditions similar
to those laid down in Articles 46 to 48 inclusive of the present
Convention for the transfer of prisoners of war, having regard to the
provisions of Article 118 and to those of the following paragraphs.
On repatriation, any articles of value impounded from prisoners
of war under Article 18, and any foreign currency which has not been
converted into the currency of the Detaining Power, shall be restored
to them.Articles of value and foreign currency which, for any reason
whatever, are not restored to prisoners of war on repatriation, shall be
despatched to the Information Bureau set up under Article 122.
Prisoners of war shall be allowed to take with them their personal
effects, and any correspondence and parcels which have arrived for
them. The weight of such baggage may be limited, if the conditions
of repatriation so require, to what each prisoner can reasonably
carry. Each prisoner shall in all cases be authorized to carry at least
twenty-five kilograms.
The other personal effects of the repatriated prisoner shall be left
in the charge of the Detaining Power which shall have them
forwarded to him as soon as it has concluded an agreement to this
effect, regulating the conditions of transport and the payment of the
costs involved, with the Power on which the prisoner depends.
Prisoners of war against whom criminal proceedings for an
indictable offence are pending may be detained until the end of
such proceedings, and, if necessary, until the completion of the
punishment. The same shall apply to prisoners of war already
convicted for an indictable offence.
Parties to the conflict shall communicate to each other the names
of any prisoners of war who are detained until the end of the
proceedings or until punishment has been completed.
By agreement between the Parties to the conflict, commissions
shall be established for the purpose of searching for dispersed
prisoners of war and of assuring their repatriation with the least
possible delay.
SECTION III
DEATH OF PRISONERS OF WAR
ART. 120. — Wills of prisoners of war shall be drawn up so as to
satisfy the conditions of validity required by the legislation of their
country of origin, which will take steps to inform the Detaining
Power of its requirements in this respect. At the request of the
PRISONERS OF WAR 137
Details of
procedure
Wills, death
certificates,
burial,
cremation
prisoner of war and, in all cases, after death, the will shall be
transmitted without delay to the Protecting Power; a certified copy
shall be sent to the Central Agency.
Death certificates, in the form annexed to the present Convention,
or lists certified by a responsible officer, of all persons who die as
prisoners of war shall be forwarded as rapidly as possible to the
Prisoner of War Information Bureau established in accordance with
Article 122. The death certificates or certified lists shall show
particulars of identity as set out in the third paragraph of Article 17,
and also the date and place of death, the cause of death, the date and
place of burial and all particulars necessary to identify the graves.
The burial or cremation of a prisoner of war shall be preceded by
a medical examination of the body with a view to confirming death
and enabling a report to be made and,where necessary, establishing
identity.
The detaining authorities shall ensure that prisoners of war who
have died in captivity are honourably buried, if possible according to
the rites of the religion to which they belonged, and that their graves
are respected, suitably maintained and marked so as to be found at
any time. Wherever possible, deceased prisoners of war who
depended on the same Power shall be interred in the same place.
Deceased prisoners of war shall be buried in individual graves
unless unavoidable circumstances require the use of collective
graves. Bodies may be cremated only for imperative reasons of
hygiene, on account of the religion of the deceased or in accordance
with his express wish to this effect. In case of cremation, the fact
shall be stated and the reasons given in the death certificate of the
deceased.
In order that graves may always be found, all particulars of
burials and graves shall be recorded with a Graves Registration
Service established by the Detaining Power. Lists of graves and
particulars of the prisoners of war interred in cemeteries and
elsewhere shall be transmitted to the Power on which such
prisoners of war depended. Responsibility for the care of these
graves and for records of any subsequent moves of the bodies shall
rest on the Power controlling the territory, if a Party to the present
Convention. These provisions shall also apply to the ashes, which
shall be kept by the Graves Registration Service until proper
disposal thereof in accordance with the wishes of the home country.
ART. 121. — Every death or serious injury of a prisoner of war
caused or suspected to have been caused by a sentry, another
prisoner of war, or any other person, as well as any death the cause
of which is unknown, shall be immediately followed by an official
enquiry by the Detaining Power.
138 THIRD GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Prisoners
killed or
injured in
special
circumstances
A communication on this subject shall be sent immediately to the
Protecting Power. Statements shall be taken from witnesses,
especially from those who are prisoners of war, and a report
including such statements shall be forwarded to the Protecting
Power.
If the enquiry indicates the guilt of one or more persons, the
Detaining Power shall take all measures for the prosecution of the
person or persons responsible.
PART V
INFORMATION BUREAUX AND RELIEF SOCIETIES
FOR PRISONERS OF WAR
ART. 122. — Upon the outbreak of a conflict and in all cases of
occupation, each of the Parties to the conflict shall institute an
official Information Bureau for prisoners of war who are in its
power. Neutral or non-belligerent Powers who may have received
within their territory persons belonging to one of the categories
referred to in Article 4, shall take the same action with respect to
such persons. The Power concerned shall ensure that the Prisoners
of War Information Bureau is provided with the necessary
accommodation, equipment and staff to ensure its efficient
working. It shall be at liberty to employ prisoners of war in such a
Bureau under the conditions laid down in the Section of the present
Convention dealing with work by prisoners of war.
Within the shortest possible period, each of the Parties to the
conflict shall give its Bureau the information referred to in the
fourth, fifth and sixth paragraphs of this Article regarding any
enemy person belonging to one of the categories referred to in
Article 4, who has fallen into its power. Neutral or non-belligerent
Powers shall take the same action with regard to persons belonging
to such categories whom they have received within their territory.
The Bureau shall immediately forward such information by the
most rapid means to the Powers concerned, through the
intermediary of the Protecting Powers and likewise of the Central
Agency provided for in Article 123.
This information shall make it possible quickly to advise the next
of kin concerned. Subject to the provisions of Article 17, the
information shall include, in so far as available to the Information
Bureau, in respect of each prisoner of war, his surname, first names,
PRISONERS OF WAR 139
National
Bureaux
rank, army, regimental, personal or serial number, place and full
date of birth, indication of the Power on which he depends, first
name of the father and maiden name of the mother, name and
address of the person to be informed and the address to which
correspondence for the prisoner may be sent.
The Information Bureau shall receive from the various
departments concerned information regarding transfers, releases,
repatriations, escapes, admissions to hospital, and deaths, and shall
transmit such information in the manner described in the third
paragraph above.
Likewise, information regarding the state of health of prisoners
of war who are seriously ill or seriously wounded shall be supplied
regularly, every week if possible.
The Information Bureau shall also be responsible for replying to all
enquiries sent to it concerning prisoners of war, including those who
have died in captivity; it will make any enquiries necessary to obtain
the information which is asked for if this is not in its possession.
All written communications made by the Bureau shall be
authenticated by a signature or a seal.
The Information Bureau shall furthermore be charged with
collecting all personal valuables, including sums in currencies other
than that of the Detaining Power and documents of importance to
the next of kin, left by prisoners of war who have been repatriated
or released, or who have escaped or died, and shall forward the said
valuables to the Powers concerned. Such articles shall be sent by the
Bureau in sealed packets which shall be accompanied by statements
giving clear and full particulars of the identity of the person to
whom the articles belonged, and by a complete list of the contents of
the parcel. Other personal effects of such prisoners of war shall be
transmitted under arrangements agreed upon between the Parties
to the conflict concerned.
ART. 123. — A Central Prisoners of War Information Agency
shall be created in a neutral country. The International Committee
of the Red Cross shall, if it deems necessary, propose to the Powers
concerned the organization of such an Agency.
The function of the Agency shall be to collect all the information
it may obtain through official or private channels respecting
prisoners of war, and to transmit it as rapidly as possible to the
country of origin of the prisoners of war or to the Power on which
they depend. It shall receive from the Parties to the conflict all
facilities for effecting such transmissions.
The High Contracting Parties, and in particular those whose
nationals benefit by the services of the Central Agency, are
requested to give the said Agency the financial aid it may require.
140 THIRD GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Central
Agency
The foregoing provisions shall in no way be interpreted as
restricting the humanitarian activities of the International
Committee of the Red Cross, or of the relief Societies provided for
in Article 125.
ART. 124. — The national Information Bureaux and the Central
Information Agency shall enjoy free postage for mail, likewise all the
exemptions provided for in Article 74, and further, so far as
possible, exemption from telegraphic charges or, at least, greatly
reduced rates.
ART. 125. — Subject to the measures which the Detaining Powers
may consider essential to ensure their security or to meet any other
reasonable need, the representatives of religious organizations, relief
societies, or any other organization assisting prisoners of war, shall
receive from the said Powers, for themselves and their duly
accredited agents, all necessary facilities for visiting the prisoners,
distributing relief supplies and material, from any source, intended
for religious, educational or recreative purposes, and for assisting
them in organizing their leisure time within the camps. Such
societies or organizations may be constituted in the territory of the
Detaining Power or in any other country, or they may have an
international character.
The Detaining Power may limit the number of societies and
organizations whose delegates are allowed to carry out their
activities in its territory and under its supervision, on condition,
however, that such limitation shall not hinder the effective operation
of adequate relief to all prisoners of war.
The special position of the International Committee of the Red
Cross in this field shall be recognized and respected at all times.
As soon as relief supplies or material intended for the abovementioned
purposes are handed over to prisoners of war, or very
shortly afterwards, receipts for each consignment, signed by the
prisoners’ representative, shall be forwarded to the relief society or
organization making the shipment. At the same time, receipts for
these consignments shall be supplied by the administrative
authorities responsible for guarding the prisoners.
PRISONERS OF WAR 141
Exemption
from charges
Relief
societies
and other
organizations
PART VI
EXECUTION OF THE CONVENTION
SECTION I
GENERAL PROVISIONS
ART. 126. — Representatives or delegates of the Protecting
Powers shall have permission to go to all places where prisoners of
war may be, particularly to places of internment, imprisonment and
labour, and shall have access to all premises occupied by prisoners
of war; they shall also be allowed to go to the places of departure,
passage and arrival of prisoners who are being transferred. They
shall be able to interview the prisoners, and in particular the
prisoners’ representatives, without witnesses, either personally or
through an interpreter.
Representatives and delegates of the Protecting Powers shall have
full liberty to select the places they wish to visit. The duration and
frequency of these visits shall not be restricted. Visits may not be
prohibited except for reasons of imperative military necessity, and
then only as an exceptional and temporary measure.
The Detaining Power and the Power on which the said prisoners
of war depend may agree, if necessary, that compatriots of these
prisoners of war be permitted to participate in the visits.
The delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross
shall enjoy the same prerogatives. The appointment of such
delegates shall be submitted to the approval of the Power detaining
the prisoners of war to be visited.
ART. 127.— The High Contracting Parties undertake, in time of
peace as in time of war, to disseminate the text of the present
Convention as widely as possible in their respective countries, and,
in particular, to include the study thereof in their programmes of
military and, if possible, civil instruction, so that the principles
thereof may become known to all their armed forces and to the
entire population.
Any military or other authorities, who in time of war assume
responsibilities in respect of prisoners of war,must possess the text
of the Convention and be specially instructed as to its provisions.
142 THIRD GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Supervision
Dissemination
of the
Convention
ART. 128. — The High Contracting Parties shall communicate to
one another through the Swiss Federal Council and, during
hostilities, through the Protecting Powers, the official translations of
the present Convention, as well as the laws and regulations which
they may adopt to ensure the application thereof.
ART. 129. — The High Contracting Parties undertake to enact
any legislation necessary to provide effective penal sanctions for
persons committing, or ordering to be committed, any of the grave
breaches of the present Convention defined in the following Article.
Each High Contracting Party shall be under the obligation to
search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to
be committed, such grave breaches, and shall bring such persons,
regardless of their nationality, before its own courts. It may also, if it
prefers, and in accordance with the provisions of its own legislation,
hand such persons over for trial to another High Contracting Party
concerned, provided such High Contracting Party has made out a
prima facie case.
Each High Contracting Party shall take measures necessary for
the suppression of all acts contrary to the provisions of the present
Convention other than the grave breaches defined in the following
Article.
In all circumstances, the accused persons shall benefit by
safeguards of proper trial and defence, which shall not be less
favourable than those provided by Article 105 and those following
of the present Convention.
ART. 130. — Grave breaches to which the preceding Article
relates shall be those involving any of the following acts, if
committed against persons or property protected by the
Convention: wilful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including
biological experiments, wilfully causing great suffering or serious
injury to body or health, compelling a prisoner of war to serve in the
forces of the hostile Power, or wilfully depriving a prisoner of war of
the rights of fair and regular trial prescribed in this Convention.
ART. 131. — No High Contracting Party shall be allowed to
absolve itself or any other High Contracting Party of any liability
incurred by itself or by another High Contracting Party in respect of
breaches referred to in the preceding Article.
ART. 132. — At the request of a Party to the conflict, an enquiry
shall be instituted, in a manner to be decided between the interested
Parties, concerning any alleged violation of the Convention.
PRISONERS OF WAR 143
Translations.
Rules of
application
II
Grave
breaches
III.
Responsibilities
of the
Contracting
Parties
Enquiry
procedure
Penal
sanctions
I.
General
observations
If agreement has not been reached concerning the procedure for
the enquiry, the Parties should agree on the choice of an umpire
who will decide upon the procedure to be followed.
Once the violation has been established, the Parties to the conflict
shall put an end to it and shall repress it with the least possible delay.
SECTION II
FINAL PROVISIONS
ART. 133. — The present Convention is established in English
and in French. Both texts are equally authentic.
The Swiss Federal Council shall arrange for official translations of
the Convention to be made in the Russian and Spanish languages.
ART. 134. — The present Convention replaces the Convention of
July 27, 1929, in relations between the High Contracting Parties.
ART. 135. — In the relations between the Powers which are
bound by the Hague Convention respecting the Laws and
Customs of War on Land, whether that of July 29, 1899, or that of
October 18, 1907, and which are parties to the present Convention,
this last Convention shall be complementary to Chapter II of the
Regulations annexed to the above-mentioned Conventions of the
Hague.
ART. 136. — The present Convention, which bears the date of
this day, is open to signature until February 12, 1950, in the name of
the Powers represented at the Conference which opened at
Geneva on April 21, 1949; furthermore, by Powers not represented
at that Conference, but which are parties to the Convention of
July 27, 1929.
ART. 137. — The present Convention shall be ratified as soon as
possible and the ratifications shall be deposited at Berne.
A record shall be drawn up of the deposit of each instrument of
ratification and certified copies of this record shall be transmitted
by the Swiss Federal Council to all the Powers in whose name the
Convention has been signed, or whose accession has been notified.
144 THIRD GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Languages
Relation
to the 1929
Convention
Relation to
the Hague
Convention
Signature
Ratification
ART. 138. — The present Convention shall come into force six
months after not less than two instruments of ratification have been
deposited.
Thereafter, it shall come into force for each High Contracting
Party six months after the deposit of the instrument of ratification.
ART. 139. — From the date of its coming into force, it shall be
open to any Power in whose name the present Convention has not
been signed, to accede to this Convention.
ART. 140.— Accessions shall be notified in writing to the Swiss
Federal Council, and shall take effect six months after the date on
which they are received.
The Swiss Federal Council shall communicate the accessions to
all the Powers in whose name the Convention has been signed, or
whose accession has been notified.
ART. 141. — The situations provided for in Articles 2 and 3 shall
give immediate effect to ratifications deposited and accessions
notified by the Parties to the conflict before or after the beginning of
hostilities or occupation. The Swiss Federal Council shall
communicate by the quickest method any ratifications or accessions
received from Parties to the conflict.
ART. 142. — Each of the High Contracting Parties shall be at
liberty to denounce the present Convention.
The denunciation shall be notified in writing to the Swiss Federal
Council, which shall transmit it to the Governments of all the High
Contracting Parties.
The denunciation shall take effect one year after the notification
thereof has been made to the Swiss Federal Council. However, a
denunciation of which notification has been made at a time when
the denouncing Power is involved in a conflict shall not take effect
until peace has been concluded, and until after operations
connected with the release and repatriation of the persons protected
by the present Convention have been terminated.
The denunciation shall have effect only in respect of the
denouncing Power. It shall in no way impair the obligations which
the Parties to the conflict shall remain bound to fulfil by virtue of
the principles of the law of nations, as they result from the usages
established among civilized peoples, from the laws of humanity and
the dictates of the public conscience.
PRISONERS OF WAR 145
Coming
into force
Accession
Notification
of accessions
Immediate
effect
Denunciation
ART. 143. — The Swiss Federal Council shall register the present
Convention with the Secretariat of the United Nations. The Swiss
Federal Council shall also inform the Secretariat of the United
Nations of all ratifications, accessions and denunciations received
by it with respect to the present Convention.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned, having deposited their
respective full powers, have signed the present Convention.
DONE at Geneva this twelfth day of August 1949, in the English
and French languages. The original shall be deposited in the
Archives of the Swiss Confederation. The Swiss Federal Council
shall transmit certified copies thereof to each of the signatory and
acceding States.
146 THIRD GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Registration
with the
United
Nations
ANNEX I
MODEL AGREEMENT CONCERNING DIRECT
REPATRIATION AND ACCOMMODATION IN NEUTRAL
COUNTRIES OF WOUNDED AND SICK PRISONERS OF WAR
(see Article 110)
I. PRINCIPLES FOR DIRECT REPATRIATION
AND ACCOMMODATION IN NEUTRAL COUNTRIES
A. DIRECT REPATRIATION
The following shall be repatriated direct:
1) All prisoners of war suffering from the following disabilities as the result of
trauma: loss of limb, paralysis, articular or other disabilities, when this
disability is at least the loss of a hand or a foot, or the equivalent of the loss of
a hand or a foot.
Without prejudice to a more generous interpretation, the following shall
be considered as equivalent to the loss of a hand or a foot:
a) Loss of a hand or of all the fingers, or of the thumb and forefinger of one
hand; loss of a foot, or of all the toes and metatarsals of one foot.
b) Ankylosis, loss of osseous tissue, cicatricial contracture preventing the
functioning of one of the large articulations or of all the digital joints of
one hand.
c) Pseudarthrosis of the long bones.
d) Deformities due to fracture or other injury which seriously interfere with
function and weight-bearing power.
2) All wounded prisoners of war whose condition has become chronic, to the
extent that prognosis appears to exclude recovery–in spite of treatment–
within one year from the date of the injury, as, for example, in case of:
a) Projectile in the heart, even if the Mixed Medical Commission should fail,
at the time of their examination, to detect any serious disorders.
b) Metallic splinter in the brain or the lungs, even if the Mixed Medical
Commission cannot, at the time of examination, detect any local or
general reaction.
c) Osteomyelitis,when recovery cannot be foreseen in the course of the year
following the injury, and which seems likely to result in ankylosis of a
joint, or other impairments equivalent to the loss of a hand or a foot.
d) Perforating and suppurating injury to the large joints.
e) Injury to the skull, with loss or shifting of bony tissue.
f) Injury or burning of the face with loss of tissue and functional lesions.
g) Injury to the spinal cord.
h) Lesion of the peripheral nerves, the sequelae of which are equivalent to
the loss of a hand or foot, and the cure of which requires more than a year
from the date of injury, for example: injury to the brachial or lumbosacral
plexus, the median or sciatic nerves, likewise combined injury to the
radial and cubital nerves or to the lateral popliteal nerve (N. peroneus
communis) and medial popliteal nerve (N. tibialis); etc. The separate
injury of the radial (musculo-spiral), cubital, lateral or medial popliteal
nerves shall not, however, warrant repatriation except in case of
contractures or of serious neurotrophic disturbance.
i) Injury to the urinary system, with incapacitating results.
3) All sick prisoners of war whose condition has become chronic to the extent
that prognosis seems to exclude recovery–in spite of treatment–within one
year from the inception of the disease, as, for example, in case of:
a) Progressive tuberculosis of any organ which, according to medical
prognosis, cannot be cured, or at least considerably improved by
treatment in a neutral country.
b) Exudate pleurisy.
c) Serious diseases of the respiratory organs of non-tubercular etiology,
presumed incurable, for example: serious pulmonary emphysema, with
or without bronchitis; chronic asthma;* chronic bronchitis* lasting more
than one year in captivity; bronchiectasis;* etc.
d) Serious chronic affections of the circulatory system, for example: valvular
lesions and myocarditis,* which have shown signs of circulatory failure
during captivity, even though the Mixed Medical Commission cannot
detect any such signs at the time of examination; affections of the
pericardium and the vessels (Buerger’s disease, aneurism of the large
vessels); etc.
e) Serious chronic affections of the digestive organs, for example: gastric or
duodenal ulcer; sequelae of gastric operations performed in captivity;
chronic gastritis enteritis or colitis, having lasted more than one year and
seriously affecting the general condition; cirrhosis of the liver; chronic
cholecystopathy;* etc.
f) Serious chronic affections of the genito-urinary organs, for example:
chronic diseases of the kidney with consequent disorders; nephrectomy
because of a tubercular kidney; chronic pyelitis or chronic cystitis;
hydronephrosis or pyonephrosis; chronic grave gynaecological
conditions; normal pregnancy and obstetrical disorder, where it is
impossible to accommodate in a neutral country; etc.
148 THIRD GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949 – ANNEX I
* The decision of the Mixed Medical Commision shall be based to a great extent on the records kept by
camp physicians and surgeons of the same nationality as the prisoners of war, or on an examination by medical
specialists of the Detaining Power.
g) Serious chronic diseases of the central and peripheral nervous system, for
example: all obvious psychoses and psychoneuroses, such as serious
hysteria, serious captivity psychoneurosis, etc., duly verified by a
specialist;* any epilepsy duly verified by the camp physician;* cerebral
arteriosclerosis; chronic neuritis lasting more than one year; etc.
h) Serious chronic diseases of the neuro-vegetative system, with
considerable diminution of mental or physical fitness, noticeable loss of
weight and general asthenia.
i) Blindness of both eyes, or of one eye when the vision of the other is less
than 1 in spite of the use of corrective glasses; diminution of visual acuity
in cases where it is impossible to restore it by correction to an acuity of
1/2 in at least one eye;* other grave ocular affections, for example:
glaucoma, iritis, choroiditis; trachoma; etc.
k) Auditive disorders, such as total unilateral deafness, if the other ear does
not discern the ordinary spoken word at a distance of one metre;* etc.
l) Serious affections of metabolism, for example: diabetes mellitus
requiring insulin treatment; etc.
m) Serious disorders of the endocrine glands, for example: thyrotoxicosis;
hypothyrosis;Addison’s disease; Simmonds’ cachexia; tetany; etc.
n) Grave and chronic disorders of the blood-forming organs.
o) Serious case of chronic intoxication, for example: lead poisoning,
mercury poisoning,morphinism, cocainism, alcoholism; gas or radiation
poisoning; etc.
p) Chronic affections of locomotion, with obvious functional disorders, for
example: arthritis deformans; primary and secondary progressive
chronic polyarthritis; rheumatism with serious clinical symptoms; etc.
q) Serious chronic skin diseases, not amenable to treatment.
r) Any malignant growth.
s) Serious chronic infectious diseases, persisting for one year after their
inception, for example: malaria with decided organic impairment,
amoebic or bacillary dysentery with grave disorders; tertiary visceral
syphilis resistant to treatment; leprosy; etc.
t) Serious avitaminosis or serious inanition.
REPATRIATION AND ACCOMMODATION IN NEUTRAL COUNTRIES 149
* The decision of the Mixed Medical Commision shall be based to a great extent on the records kept by
camp physicians and surgeons of the same nationality as the prisoners of war, or on an examination by medical
specialists of the Detaining Power.
B. ACCOMMODATION IN NEUTRAL COUNTRIES
The following shall be eligible for accommodation in a neutral country:
1) All wounded prisoners of war who are not likely to recover in captivity, but
who might be cured or whose condition might be considerably improved by
accommodation in a neutral country.
2) Prisoners of war suffering from any form of tuberculosis, of whatever organ,
and whose treatment in a neutral country would be likely to lead to recovery
or at least to considerable improvement, with the exception of primary
tuberculosis cured before captivity.
3) Prisoners of war suffering from affections requiring treatment of the
respiratory, circulatory, digestive, nervous, sensory, genito-urinary,
cutaneous, locomotive organs, etc., if such treatment would clearly have
better results in a neutral country than in captivity.
4) Prisoners of war who have undergone a nephrectomy in captivity for a nontubercular
renal affection; cases of osteomyelitis, on the way to recovery or
latent; diabetes mellitus not requiring insulin treatment; etc.
5) Prisoners of war suffering from war or captivity neuroses.
Cases of captivity neurosis which are not cured after three months of
accommodation in a neutral country, or which after that length of time are
not clearly on the way to complete cure, shall be repatriated.
6) All prisoners of war suffering from chronic intoxication (gases, metals,
alkaloids, etc.), for whom the prospects of cure in a neutral country are
especially favourable.
7) All women prisoners of war who are pregnant or mothers with infants and
small children.
The following cases shall not be eligible for accommodation in a neutral
country:
1) All duly verified chronic psychoses.
2) All organic or functional nervous affections considered to be incurable.
3) All contagious diseases during the period in which they are transmissible,
with the exception of tuberculosis.
II. GENERAL OBSERVATIONS
1) The conditions given shall, in a general way, be interpreted and applied in as
broad a spirit as possible.
Neuropathic and psychopathic conditions caused by war or captivity, as
well as cases of tuberculosis in all stages, shall above all benefit by such liberal
interpretation. Prisoners of war who have sustained several wounds, none
150 THIRD GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949 – ANNEX I
of which, considered by itself, justifies repatriation, shall be examined in the
same spirit,with due regard for the psychic traumatism due to the number of
their wounds.
2) All unquestionable cases giving the right to direct repatriation (amputation,
total blindness or deafness, open pulmonary tuberculosis, mental disorder,
malignant growth, etc.) shall be examined and repatriated as soon as
possible by the camp physicians or by military medical commissions
appointed by the Detaining Power.
3) Injuries and diseases which existed before the war and which have not
become worse, as well as war injuries which have not prevented subsequent
military service, shall not entitle to direct repatriation.
4) The provisions of this Annex shall be interpreted and applied in a similar
manner in all countries party to the conflict. The Powers and authorities
concerned shall grant to Mixed Medical Commissions all the facilities
necessary for the accomplishment of their task.
5) The examples quoted under (I) above represent only typical cases. Cases
which do not correspond exactly to these provisions shall be judged in the
spirit of the provisions of Article 110 of the present Convention, and of the
principles embodied in the present Agreement.
REPATRIATION AND ACCOMMODATION IN NEUTRAL COUNTRIES 151
ANNEX II
REGULATIONS CONCERNING
MIXED MEDICAL COMMISSIONS
(see Article 112)
ARTICLE 1. — The Mixed Medical Commissions provided for in Article 112 of
the Convention shall be composed of three members, two of whom shall belong to
a neutral country, the third being appointed by the Detaining Power. One of the
neutral members shall take the chair.
ART. 2. — The two neutral members shall be appointed by the International
Committee of the Red Cross, acting in agreement with the Protecting Power, at the
request of the Detaining Power. They may be domiciled either in their country of
origin, in any other neutral country, or in the territory of the Detaining Power.
ART. 3. — The neutral members shall be approved by the Parties to the conflict
concerned, who shall notify their approval to the International Committee of the
Red Cross and to the Protecting Power. Upon such notification, the neutral
members shall be considered as effectively appointed.
ART. 4. — Deputy members shall also be appointed in sufficient number to
replace the regular members in case of need. They shall be appointed at the same
time as the regular members or, at least, as soon as possible.
ART. 5. — If for any reason the International Committee of the Red Cross cannot
arrange for the appointment of the neutral members, this shall be done by the
Power protecting the interests of the prisoners of war to be examined.
ART. 6. — So far as possible, one of the two neutral members shall be a surgeon
and the other a physician.
ART. 7. — The neutral members shall be entirely independent of the Parties to the
conflict, which shall grant them all facilities in the accomplishment of their duties.
ART. 8. — By agreement with the Detaining Power, the International Committee
of the Red Cross, when making the appointments provided for in Articles 2 and 4
of the present Regulations, shall settle the terms of service of the nominees.
ART. 9. — The Mixed Medical Commissions shall begin their work as soon as
possible after the neutral members have been approved, and in any case within a
period of three months from the date of such approval.
ART. 10. — The Mixed Medical Commissions shall examine all the prisoners
designated in Article 113 of the Convention. They shall propose repatriation,
rejection, or reference to a later examination. Their decisions shall be made by a
majority vote.
ART. 11. — The decisions made by the Mixed Medical Commissions in each
specific case shall be communicated, during the month following their visit, to the
Detaining Power, the Protecting Power and the International Committee of the Red
Cross. The Mixed Medical Commissions shall also inform each prisoner of war
examined of the decision made, and shall issue to those whose repatriation has
been proposed, certificates similar to the model appended to the present
Convention.
ART. 12. — The Detaining Power shall be required to carry out the decisions of
the Mixed Medical Commissions within three months of the time when it receives
due notification of such decisions.
ART. 13. — If there is no neutral physician in a country where the services of a
Mixed Medical Commission seem to be required, and if it is for any reason
impossible to appoint neutral doctors who are resident in another country, the
Detaining Power, acting in agreement with the Protecting Power, shall set up a
Medical Commission which shall undertake the same duties as a Mixed Medical
Commission, subject to the provisions of Articles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 8 of the present
Regulations.
ART. 14. — Mixed Medical Commissions shall function permanently and shall
visit each camp at intervals of not more than six months.
MIXED MEDICAL COMMISSIONS 153
ANNEX III
REGULATIONS CONCERNING COLLECTIVE RELIEF
(see Article 73)
ARTICLE 1. — Prisoners’ representatives shall be allowed to distribute collective
relief shipments for which they are responsible, to all prisoners of war administered
by their camp, including those who are in hospitals, or in prisons or other penal
establishments.
ART. 2. — The distribution of collective relief shipments shall be effected in
accordance with the instructions of the donors and with a plan drawn up by the
prisoners’ representatives. The issue of medical stores shall, however, be made for
preference in agreement with the senior medical officers, and the latter may, in
hospitals and infirmaries, waive the said instructions, if the needs of their patients
so demand.Within the limits thus defined, the distribution shall always be carried
out equitably.
ART. 3. — The said prisoners’ representatives or their assistants shall be allowed
to go to the points of arrival of relief supplies near their camps, so as to enable the
prisoners’ representatives or their assistants to verify the quality as well as the
quantity of the goods received, and to make out detailed reports thereon for the
donors.
ART. 4. — Prisoners’ representatives shall be given the facilities necessary for
verifying whether the distribution of collective relief in all sub-divisions and
annexes of their camps has been carried out in accordance with their instructions.
ART. 5. — Prisoners’ representatives shall be allowed to fill up, and cause to be
filled up by the prisoners’ representatives of labour detachments or by the senior
medical officers of infirmaries and hospitals, forms or questionnaires intended for
the donors, relating to collective relief supplies (distribution, requirements,
quantities, etc.). Such forms and questionnaires, duly completed, shall be
forwarded to the donors without delay.
ART. 6. — In order to secure the regular issue of collective relief to the prisoners
of war in their camp, and to meet any needs that may arise from the arrival of new
contingents of prisoners, prisoners’ representatives shall be allowed to build up and
maintain adequate reserve stocks of collective relief. For this purpose, they shall
have suitable warehouses at their disposal; each warehouse shall be provided with
two locks, the prisoners’ representative holding the keys of one lock and the camp
commander the keys of the other.
ART. 7. — When collective consignments of clothing are available, each prisoner
of war shall retain in his possession at least one complete set of clothes. If a prisoner
has more than one set of clothes, the prisoners’ representative shall be permitted to
withdraw excess clothing from those with the largest number of sets, or particular
articles in excess of one, if this is necessary in order to supply prisoners who are less
well provided.He shall not, however,withdraw second sets of underclothing, socks
or footwear, unless this is the only means of providing for prisoners of war with
none.
ART. 8. — The High Contracting Parties, and the Detaining Powers in particular,
shall authorize, as far as possible and subject to the regulations governing the
supply of the population, all purchases of goods made in their territories for the
distribution of collective relief to prisoners of war.They shall similarly facilitate the
transfer of funds and other financial measures of a technical or administrative
nature taken for the purpose of making such purchases.
ART. 9. — The foregoing provisions shall not constitute an obstacle to the right
of prisoners of war to receive collective relief before their arrival in a camp or in the
course of transfer, nor to the possibility of representatives of the Protecting Power,
the International Committee of the Red Cross, or any other body giving assistance
to prisoners which may be responsible for the forwarding of such supplies,
ensuring the distribution thereof to the addressees by any other means that they
may deem useful.