In a conference at Brussels prepared a declaration relative to prisoners of war, but it was not ratified. In and again in international conferences at The Hague drew up rules of conduct that gained some recognition in international law. During World War I , however, when POWs were numbered in the millions, there were many charges on both sides that the rules were not being faithfully observed. Soon after the war the nations of the world gathered at Geneva to devise the Convention of , which before the outbreak of World War II was ratified by France , Germany , Great Britain , the United States , and many other nations, but not by Japan or the Soviet Union.
During World War II millions of persons were taken prisoner under widely varying circumstances and experienced treatment that ranged from excellent to barbaric.
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Of about 5,, Red Army soldiers captured by the Germans, only about 2,, survived the war; more than 2,, of the 3,, Soviet troops captured during the German invasion in were simply allowed to starve to death. The Soviets replied in kind and consigned hundreds of thousands of German POWs to the labour camps of the Gulag , where most of them died. After the war, international war crimes trials were held in Germany and Japan, based on the concept that acts committed in violation of the fundamental principles of the laws of war were punishable as war crimes.
It continued the concept expressed earlier that prisoners were to be removed from the combat zone and be humanely treated without loss of citizenship. The convention of broadened the term prisoner of war to include not only members of the regular armed forces who have fallen into the power of the enemy but also the militia , the volunteers, the irregulars and members of resistance movements if they form a part of the armed forces, and persons who accompany the armed forces without actually being members, such as war correspondents, civilian supply contractors, and members of labour service units.
The protections given prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions remain with them throughout their captivity and cannot be taken from them by the captor or given up by the prisoners themselves. During the conflict prisoners might be repatriated or delivered to a neutral nation for custody. At the end of hostilities all prisoners are to be released and repatriated without delay, except those held for trial or serving sentences imposed by judicial processes. In some recent combat situations, such as the U. We welcome suggested improvements to any of our articles.
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Grenier and P battalion commanded by Major F. Dunlop Force was the first group of Australians to reach the southern end of the railway. Captain J. Hands commanded A battalion strong , and the Dutch R battalion also came under Dunlop's command. The force eventually moved to Hintok. D Force 2,strong under Lieutenant Colonel C. McEachern left Changi for Bampong in four groups between 14 and 18 March Lieutenant Colonel C.
History and Legal Status of Prisoners of War
Kappe commanded the Australians. Some 1, men of F Force did not return. Oakes, left Changi on 5 May From Bampong, they marched kilometres north to Tarsau. These personnel were used as labourers in various hospitals along the railway. Major B. Anderson commanded K Force, including 5 medical officers and 50 other ranks. Major A. Most prisoners were returned to Changi and some were sent as technical workers to Japan between April and June to work in heavy industry. They were concentrated in Saigon before moving to Japan. Some were returned to Singapore for shipping; others stayed at Saigon until the end of the war.
On 25 October , prisoners of war under Lieutenant Colonel W. Conditions on Hainan Island were primitive and barbaric, and at the end of the war, only were alive. See also Ambon entry. The movement of Australian prisoners to Japan, Formosa and Korea began in , continued during , and was intensified in following the completion of the Burma-Thailand Railway.
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By early there were nearly 3, Australian prisoners of war in Japan. The main parties of Australian prisoners of war are as follows. One draft, containing about 60 officers and 19 Australian women including 6 Army nurses led by Colonel J. Scanlan, reached Japan safely. The 19 Australian women who reached Japan from New Britain with Scanlan's party in July were at length tranferred to a camp at Totsuka, about 20 miles from Yokaham, where they remained until the end of the war.
The other draft of 1, prisoners including about civilians sailed in the Montevideo Maru , from Rabaul, destined for Japan. No prisoners of war survived the sinking. Robertson left Singapore on 28 November The force was sub divided: Captain J. Paterson's group about was sent to Kobe Kawasaki camp, and Robertson's about went to Naoetsu camp No. G Force, including Australians under Major R. At Moji, the Australians were taken to Taisho sub-camp, one of a group of camps round Osaka and Kobe. Byrne, sailed from Singapore on 16 May Their transport ship, the Tamahoko Maru, was sunk by an American submarine on 24 June Of the Australians, only 73 survived, and they were taken to Nagasaki.
On 1 July , a group of 2, including 1, Australians under Major R.
Newton left Singapore for Japan. They arrived in September ; some were sent to Nagasaki to work on the docks.
A force of 2, prisoners commanded by Brigadier A. Varley left Singapore on 6 September These men had previously worked on the Burma-Thailand Railway. A group of Australians embarked on the Rokyo Maru ; the Kachidiko Maru , carrying some 1, British prisoners of war, was also in the convoy. Those picked up by the Japanese were sent to the Kawasaki group of factories, and Moji and Sakata prison camps. In only one party of Australians reached Japan from Singapore. This party of Australians arrived at Moji on 15 January and were then sent to separate destinations.
The Detaining Power shall supply prisoners of war during transfer with sufficient food and drinking water to keep them in good health, likewise with the necessary clothing, shelter and medical attention. The Detaining Power shall take adequate precautions especially in case of transport by sea or by air, to ensure their safety during transfer, and shall draw up a complete list of all transferred prisoners before their departure. Sick or wounded prisoners of war shall not be transferred as long as their recovery may be endangered by the journey, unless their safety imperatively demands it.
If the combat zone draws closer to a camp, the prisoners of war in the said camp shall not be transferred unless their transfer can be carried out in adequate conditions of safety, or if they are exposed to greater risks by remaining on the spot than by being transferred. 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 per head. Mail and parcels addressed to their former camp shall be forwarded to them without delay. The camp commander shall take, in agreement with the prisoners' representative, any measures needed to ensure the transport of the prisoners' community property and of the luggage they are unable to take with them in consequence of restrictions imposed by virtue of the second paragraph of this Article.
The Detaining Power may utilize the labour of prisoners of war who are physically fit, taking into account their age, sex, rank and physical aptitude, and with a view particularly to maintaining them in a good state of physical and mental health. Non-commissioned officers who are prisoners of war shall only be required to do supervisory work.
Those not so required may ask for other suitable work which shall, so far as possible, be found for them. If officers or persons of equivalent status ask for suitable work, it shall be found for them, so far as possible, but they may in no circumstances be compelled to work. 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:. Should the above provisions be infringed, prisoners of war shall be allowed to exercise their right of complaint, in conformity with Article Prisoners of war must be granted suitable working conditions, especially as regards accommodation, food, clothing and equipment; such conditions shall not be inferior to those enjoyed by nationals of the Detaining Power employed in similar work; account shall also be taken of climatic conditions.
The Detaining Power, in utilizing the labour of prisoners of war, shall ensure that in areas in which prisoners are employed, the national legislation concerning the protection of labour, and, more particularly, the regulations for the safety of workers, are duly applied. Prisoners of war shall receive training and be provided with the means of protection suitable to the work they will have to do and similar to those accorded to the nationals of the Detaining Power.
Subject to the provisions of Article 52, prisoners may be submitted to the normal risks run by these civilian workers. Unless he be a volunteer, no prisoner of war may be employed on labour which is of an unhealthy or dangerous nature. No prisoner of war shall be assigned to labour which would be looked upon as humiliating for a member of the Detaining Power's own forces. The 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 thereby.
The working pay due to prisoners of war shall be fixed in accordance with the provisions of Article 62 of the present Convention. Prisoners of war who sustain accidents in connection with work, or who contract a disease in the course, or in consequence of their work, shall receive all the care their condition may require. The Detaining Power shall furthermore deliver to such prisoners of war a medical certificate enabling them to submit their claims to the Power on which they depend, and shall send a duplicate to the Central Prisoners of War Agency provided for in Article The fitness of prisoners of war for work shall be periodically verified by medical examinations at least once a month.
The examinations shall have particular regard to the nature of the work which prisoners of war are required to do. If any prisoner of war considers himself incapable of working, he shall be permitted to appear before the medical authorities of his camp. Physicians or surgeons may recommend that the prisoners who are, in their opinion, unfit for work, be exempted therefrom.
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. 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 of war. Such prisoners of war shall have the right to remain in communication with the prisoners' representatives in the camps on which they depend. 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. 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.
Prisoners of war and detainees protected under international humanitarian law
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. 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 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. 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:.
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 Such supplementary pay shall not relieve the Detaining Power of any obligation under this Convention.
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. 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 dependants shall be given priority.
In any event, and subject to the consent of the Power on which they depend, prisoners may have payments made in their own country, as follows: the Detaining Power shall send to the aforesaid Power through the Protecting Power a notification giving all the necessary particulars concerning the prisoners of war, the beneficiaries of the payments, and the amount of the sums to be paid, expressed in the Detaining Power's currency.
The said notification shall be signed by the prisoners and countersigned by the camp commander. The Detaining Power shall debit the prisoners' account by a corresponding amount; the sums thus debited shall be placed by it to the credit of the Power on which the prisoners depend. To apply the foregoing provisions, the Detaining Power may usefully consult the Model Regulations in Annex V of the present Convention. The Detaining Power shall hold an account for each prisoner of war, showing at least the following:.
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. The payments made to the prisoner in cash, or in any other similar form; the payments made on his behalf and at his request; the sums transferred under Article 63, third paragraph.
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. On the termination of captivity, through the release of a prisoner of war or his repatriation, the Detaining Power shall give him a statement, signed by an authorized officer of that Power, showing the credit balance then due to him.
The Detaining Power shall also send through the Protecting Power to the government upon which the prisoner of war depends, lists giving all appropriate particulars of all prisoners of war whose captivity has been terminated by repatriation, release, escape, death or any other means, and showing the amount of their credit balances.
Such lists shall be certified on each sheet by an authorized representative of the Detaining Power. Any of the above provisions of this Article may be varied by mutual agreement between any two Parties to the conflict. The Power on which the prisoner of war depends shall be responsible for settling with him any credit balance due to him from the Detaining Power on the termination of his captivity. 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. 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 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.
Prisoner of war - Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Immediately upon capture, or not more than one week after arrival at a camp, even if it is a transit camp, likewise in case of sickness or transfer to hospital or another camp, every prisoner of war shall be enabled to write direct to his family, on the one hand, and to the Central Prisoners of War Agency provided for in Article , 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. Prisoners of war shall be allowed to send and receive letters and cards. If the Detaining Power deems it necessary to limit the number of letters and cards sent by each prisoner of war, the said number shall not be less than two letters and four cards monthly, exclusive of the capture cards provided for in Article 70, and conforming as closely as possible to the models annexed to the present Convention.
Further limitations may be imposed only if the Protecting Power is satisfied that it would be in the interests of the prisoners of war concerned to do so owing to difficulties of translation caused by the Detaining Power's inability to find sufficient qualified linguists to carry out the necessary censorship. If limitations must be placed on the correspondence addressed to prisoners of war, they may be ordered only by the Power on which the prisoners depend, possibly at the request of the Detaining Power. Such letters and cards must be conveyed by the most rapid method at the disposal of the Detaining Power; they may not be delayed or retained for disciplinary reasons.
Prisoners of war who have been without news for a long period, or who are unable to receive news from their next of kin or to give them news by the ordinary postal route, as well as those who are at a great distance from their s, 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. The core international human rights instruments. Universal human rights instruments. The International Bill of Human Rights.
Turn on more accessible mode. Turn off more accessible mode. Article 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.
Article 3 In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions: 1. 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.
The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for. Article 4 A. Prisoners of war, in the sense of the present Convention, are persons belonging to one of the following categories, who have fallen into the power of the enemy: 1. Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions: a That of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates; b That of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance; c That of carrying arms openly; d That of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
The following shall likewise be treated as prisoners of war under the present Convention: 1. Article 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. Article 6 In addition to the agreements expressly provided for in Articles 10, 23, 28, 33, 60, 65, 66, 67, 72, 73, 75, , , , , and , the High Contracting Parties may conclude other special agreements for all matters concerning which they may deem it suitable to make separate provision.
Article 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. Article 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. Article 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.
Article 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. Article 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.
Article 13 Prisoners of war must at all times be humanely treated. Measures of reprisal against prisoners of war are prohibited. Article 14 Prisoners of war are entitled in all circumstances to respect for their persons and their honour. Article 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.