Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of
War, of 12 August 1949 (Geneva Convention III)
Entry into Force: 21 October 1950
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Article 1 Respect for the Convention
Article 2 Application of the Convention
Article 3 Conflicts not of an international character
Article 4 Prisoners of war
Article 5 Beginning and end of application
Article 6 Special agreements
Article 7 Non-renunciation of rights
Article 8 Protecting Powers
Article 9 Activities of the International Committee of the
Article 10 Substitutes for Protecting Powers
Article 1 1 Conciliation procedure
Article 12 Responsibility for the treatment of prisoners
Article 13 Humane treatment of prisoners
Article 14 Respect for the person of prisoners
Article 15 Maintenance of prisoners
Article 16 Equality of treatment
Article 17 Questioning of prisoners
Article 18 Property of prisoners
Article 19 Evacuation of prisoners
Article 20 Conditions of evacuation
CHAPTER I GENERAL OBSERVATIONS
Article 21 Restriction of liberty of movement
Article 22 Places and conditions of internment
Article 23 Security of prisoners
Article 24 Permanent transit camps
CHAPTER II QUARTERS, FOOD AND CLOTHING OF PRISONERS OF
Article 25 Quarters
Article 26 Food
Article 27 Clothing
Article 28 Canteens
CHAPTER III HYGIENE AND MEDICAL ATTENTION
Article 29 Hygiene
Article 30 Medical attention
Article 31 Medical inspections
Article 32 Prisoners engaged on medical duties
CHAPTER IV MEDICAL PERSONNEL AND CHAPLAINS RETAINED TO
ASSIST PRISONERS OF WAR
Article 33 Rights and privileges of retained personnel [<a
CHAPTER V RELIGIOUS, INTELLECTUAL AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES[</a>]
Article 34 Religious duties
Article 35 Retained chaplains
Article 36 Prisoners who are ministers of religion
Article 37 Prisoners without a minister of their religion
Article 38 Recreation, study, sports and games
CHAPTER VI DISCIPLINE
Article 39 Administration. Saluting
Article 40 Badges and decorations
Article 41 Posting of the Convention and of regulations and
orders concerning prisoners
Article 42 Use of weapons
CHAPTER VII RANK OF PRISONERS OF WAR
Article 43 Notification of ranks
Article 44 Treatment of officers
Article 45 Treatment of other prisoners
CHAPTER VIII TRANSFER OF PRISONERS OF WAR AFTER THEIR ARRIVAL
Article 46 Conditions
Article 47 Circumstances precluding transfer
Article 48 Procedure for transfer
Article 49 General observations
Article 50 Authorized work
Article 51 Working conditions
Article 52 Dangerous or humiliating labour
Article 53 Duration of labour
Article 54 Working pay. Occupational accidents and diseases
Article 55 Medical supervision
Article 56 Labour detachments
Article 57 Prisoners working for private employers
Article 58 Ready money
Article 59 Amounts in cash taken from prisoners
Article 60 Advances of pay
Article 61 Supplementary pay
Article 62 Working pay
Article 63 Transfer of funds
Article 64 Prisoners' accounts
Article 65 Management of prisoners' accounts
Article 66 Winding up of accounts
Article 67 Adjustments between Parties to the conflict
Article 68 Claims for compensation
Article 69 Notification of measures taken
Article 70 Capture card
Article 71 Correspondence
Article 72 Relief shipments: 1. General principles
Article 73 11. Collective relief'
Article 74 Exemption from postal and transport charges
Article 75 Special means of transport
Article 76 Censorship and examination
Article 77 Preparation, execution and transmission of legal
CHAPTER I COMPLAINTS OF PRISONERS OF WAR RESPECTING
THE CONDITIONS OF CAPTIVITY
Article 78 Complaints and requests
CHAPTER II PRISONERS OF WAR REPRESENTATIVES
Article 79 Election
Article 80 Duties
Article 81 Prerogatives
CHAPTER III PENAL AND DISCIPLINARY SANCTIONS
I. General provisions
Article 82 Applicable legislation
Article 83 Choice of disciplinary or judicial proceedings
Article 84 Courts
Article 85 Offences committed before capture
Article 86 "Non his in idem"
Article 87 Penalties
Article 88 Execution of penalties
II. Disciplinary sanctions
Article 89 General observations: 1. Forms of punishment
Article 90 11. Duration of punishments
Article 91 Escapes: 1. Successful escape
Article 92 II. Unsuccessful escape
Article 93 Ill. Connected offences
Article 94 IV. Notification of recapture
Article 95 Procedure: 1. Confinement awaiting hearing
Article 96 11. Competent authorities and right of defence
Article 97 Execution of punishment: I. Premises
Article 98 11. Essential safeguards
III. Judicial proceedings
Article 99 Essential rules: 1. General principles
Article 100 11. Death penalty
Article 101 Ill. Delay in execution of the death penalty
Article 102 Procedure: 1. Conditions for validity of sentence
Article 103 11. Confinement awaiting trial (Deduction from
Article 104 Ill. Notification of proceedings
Article 105 IV. Rights and means of defence
Article 106 V. Appeals
Article 107 VI. Notification of findings and sentence
Article 108 Execution of penalties. Penal regulations
Article 109 General observations
Article 110 Cases of repatriation and accommodation
Article 111 Internment in a neutral country
Article 112 Mixed Medical Commissions
Article 113 Prisoners entitled to examination by Mixed Medical
Article 114 Prisoners meeting with accidents
Article 115 Prisoners serving a sentence
Article 116 Costs of repatriation
Article 117 Activity after repatriation
Article 118 Release and repatriation
Article 119 Details of procedure
Article 120 Wills, death certificates, burial, cremation
Article 121 Prisoners killed or injured in special circumstances
Article 122 National Bureaux
Article 123 Central Agency
Article 124 Exemption from charges
Article 125 Relief societies and other organizations
Article 126 Supervision
Article 127 Dissemination of the Convention
Article 128 Translations. Rules of application
Article 129 Penal sanctions: I. General observations
Article 130 II. Grave breaches
Article 131 111. Responsibilities of the Contracting Parties
Article 132 Enquiry procedure
Article 133 Languages
Article 134 Relation to the 1929 Convention
Article 135 Relation to the Hague Conventions
Article 136 Signature
Article 137 Ratification
Article 138 Coming into force
Article 139 Accession
Article 140 Notification of accessions
Article 141 Immediate effect
Article 142 Denunciation
Article 143 Registration with the United Nations
ANNEX IV Identity Card, Capture Card, Correspondence Card
and Letter, Notification of Death, Repatriation Certificate
Part I. General Provisions
Art 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 peace time, 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
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
(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, 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
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
(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
(a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for
(b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable
at a distance;
(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
(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
(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 non-belligerent 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, 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
C. This Article shall in no way affect the status of medical
personnel and chaplains as provided for in Article 33 of the
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.
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 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
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 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.
Part III. Captivity
Section 1. 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 fingerprints,
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 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
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 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
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
Such objects, likewise 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 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
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.
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
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
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.
Chapter II. Quarters, Food and Clothing of Prisoners of War
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
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
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
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
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. Hygene 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 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,
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 of War 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.
Chapter IV. Medical Personnel and Chaplains Retained to Assist
Prisoners of War
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
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
(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.
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
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 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.
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, in 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 of War
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
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 of War after their Arrival
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
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 unless 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. 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
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
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:
(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;
(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
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 such 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
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
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 fro, 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 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
Art 54. The working pay due to prisoners of war shall be
fixed in accordance with the provisions of Article 62 of the
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 of War
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
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
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 56. 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
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
Such prisoners of war shall have the right to remain in communication
with the prisoners' representatives in the camps on which
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 conversion, into the currency
of the said Power, of the following amounts:
Category I : Prisoners ranking below sergeants: eight Swiss
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.
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.
Atr 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
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
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
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.
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 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 to another
camp, every prisoner of war shall be enabled to write direct
to his family, on the one hand, and to the Central Prisoners
of War 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
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.
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
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 Powers, 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
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
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 Powers shall provide all facilities
for the transmission, through the Protecting Power or the
Central Prisoners of War Agency provided for in Article 123
of instruments, papers or documents intended for prisoners
of war or despatched by them, especially powers of attorney
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
Chapter I. Complaints of Prisoners of War 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
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
These 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
Prisoners' representatives 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 of War Representatives
Art 79. IIn 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 re-election.
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 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
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'
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 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
In case of dismissal, the reasons therefor shall be communicated
to the Protecting Power.
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
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.
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
II. Disciplinary Sanctions
Art 88. The disciplinary punishments applicable to prisoners
of war are the
(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.
(2) Discontinuance of privileges granted over and above
the treatment provided for by the present Convention.
(3) Fatigue duties not exceeding two hours daily.
The punishment referred to under (3) shall not be applied
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.
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
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, or 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
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 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
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
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 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. Juridicial 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
Other offences shall not thereafter be made punishable by
the death penalty without the concurrence of the Power on
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.
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
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
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
(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 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
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 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 sub-paragraphs
shall be sent to the Protecting Power at the address previously
made known to the Detaining Power.
Art 108.Sentences 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
Part IV. Termination of Captivity
Section I. Direct Repatriation and Accommodation in Neutral
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 cooperation 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 able-bodied
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 been gravely and permanently
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 condition 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 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
(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
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.
Art 116. The cost 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
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
(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.
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
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 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
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,
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.
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
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
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, 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
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
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, for 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
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 above-mentioned
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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 th 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.
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 release and repatriation of
the persons protected by the present Convention have been
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.
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.
Annex I. Model Agreement Concerning Direct Repatriation
and Accommodation in Neutral Countries of Wounded and Sick
Prisoners of War.(see Art 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 a 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
(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
median or sciatic nerves, likewise combined injury to the
radial and cubital nerves or to the lateral popliteal nerve
(N. peroneous 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
(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, aneurisms of the large
(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.
(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 cases 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.
[NOTE] * The decision of the Mixed Medical Commission 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
B. ACCOMMODATION IN NEUTRAL COUNTRIES
The following shall be eligible for accommodation in a neutral
(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
(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 non-tubercular 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
(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 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 (1) 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.
Annex II. Regulations Concerning Mixed Medical Commissions
(see Art 112.)
Art 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
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
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
Annex III. Regulations Concerning Collective Relief (See
Art 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
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 subdivisions 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
Annex V. Model Regulations Concerning Payments Sent by Prisoners
to their Own Country (See Art 63.)
(1) The notification referred to in the third paragraph of
Article 63 will show:
(a) number as specified in Article 17, rank, surname and
first names of the prisoner of war who is the payer;
(b) the name and address of the payee in the country of
(c) the amount to be so paid in the currency of the country
in which he is detained.
(2) The notification will be signed by the prisoner of war,
or his witnessed mark made upon it if he cannot write, and
shall be countersigned by the prisoners' representative.
(3) The camp commander will add to this notification a certificate
that the prisoner of war concerned has a credit balance of
not less than the amount registered as payable.
(4) The notification may be made up in lists, each sheet
of such lists being witnessed by the prisoners' representative
and certified by the camp commander.