Geneva_Convention_(1929)

Geneva Convention (1929)

See also Geneva Convention for the amelioration of the condition of the wounded and sick in armies in the field (1929)
The Geneva Convention (1929) was signed at Geneva, July 27, 1929. Its official name is the Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, Geneva July 27, 1929. It entered into force 19 June, 1931. It is this version of the Geneva Conventions which covered the treatment of prisoners of war during World War II. It is the predecessor of the Third Geneva Convention signed in 1949.

On their web site the International Committee of the Red Cross state that:

General provisions

Article 1: makes explicit reference to Articles 1 2 and 3 of Hague Conventions respecting the laws and customs of war on land(Hague IV), of October 18, 1907, to define who are lawful combatants and so qualify as Prisoners of War (POW) on capture. In addition to combatants covered by Hague IV, some civilians are also covered in the section of this Convention called the "Application of the Convention to certain classes of civilians".

Articles 2, 3 and 4: Specifies that POW are prisoners of the Power which holds them and not prisoners of the unit which takes their surrender; that POWs have the right to honor and respect, and that women shall be treated with all the regard due to their sex, and that prisoners of a similar category must be treated in the same way.

Capture

Articles 6 and 7 cover what may and may not be done to a prisoner on capture. If requested, unless too ill to comply, prisoners are bound to give their true name and rank, but they may not be coerced into giving any more information. Prisoners personal possessions, other than arms and horses, may not be taken from them.

The wording of the 1949 Third Geneva Convention was intentionally altered from that of the 1929 convention so that soldiers who "fall into the power" following surrender or mass capitulation of an enemy are now protected as well as those taken prisoner in the course of fighting. (see Disarmed Enemy Forces)

Captivity

Evacuation of prisoners of war

Articles 8 and 9 state that prisoners should be evacuated from the combat zone within the shortest possible period, and that Belligerents are bound mutually to notify each other of their capture of prisoners within the shortest period possible.

Prisoner of war camps

Articles 9 and 10 covers the type of camp in which POWs can be detained. They must be constructed in such a way so that the conditions are similar to those used by the Belligerent's own soldiers in base camps. The camps must be located in healthy locations and away from the combat zone. Also "Belligerents shall, so far as possible, avoid assembling in a single camp prisoners of different races or nationalities".

Articles 11, 12, 13 state that: Food must be of a similar quality and quantity to that of the Belligerent's own soldiers, and POWs can not be denied food as a punishment; A canteen selling local produce and products should be provided. Adequate clothing should be provided; and that sanitary service in camps should be more than sufficient to prevent epidemics.

Articles 14 and 15 cover the provision of medical facilities in each camp.

Articles 16 and 17 cover the provision of religions needs, intellectual diversions and sport facilities.

Articles 18 and 19 cover the internal discipline of a camp which is under the command of a responsible officer.

Articles 20, 21, 22, and 23 state that Officers and persons of equivalent status who are prisoners of war shall be treated with the regard due their rank and age and provide more details on what that treatment should be.

Article 24 covers the rate of pay of prisoners of war.

Articles 25 and 26 covers the responsibilities of the detaining authority when transferring prisoners from one location to another. Prisoners must be healthy enough to travel, they must be informed too where they are being transferred and their personal possessions, including bank accounts should remain accessible.

Labour of prisoners of war

Articles 27 to 34 covers labour by prisoners of war. Work must fit the rank and health of the prisoners. The work must not be war related and must be safe work. Remuneration will be agreed between the Belligerents and will belong to the prisoner who carries out the work.

External relations of prisoners of war

Articles 35 to 41 covers how and when prisoners of war may correspond with others. Prisoners should be allowed to correspond with their family within a week of capture. They should be allowed to receive letters, and parcels which contain books, which may be censored, food and clothing.

Prisoners relations with the authorities

Articles 42 to 67 covers the prisoners relations with the authorities. Most of these provisions are covered by the provision that prisoners are under the detaining powers own code of military regulations, with some additional provisions which cover specific prisoner of war issues and some other provisions to protect prisoners of war if the military regulations of the detaining power do not meet a minimum standard. Two specific regulations which differentiate prisoners of war from the detainees own military regulations, is that no prisoner of war may be deprived of his rank by the detaining Power, and escaped prisoners of war who are retaken before being able to rejoin their own army or to leave the territory occupied by the army which captured them shall be liable only to disciplinary punishment.

Termination of captivity

Articles 68 to 74 state that seriously sick and seriously injured prisoners of war must be repatriated as soon as their condition allows and no repatriated person may be utilized in active military service.

Article 75 covers release at the end of hostilities. The release of prisoners should form part of the armistice. If this is not possible then repatriation of prisoners shall be effected with the least possible delay after the conclusion of peace. This particular provision was to cause problems after World War II because as the surrender of the Axis powers was unconditional there was no armistice and in the case of Germany a full peace treaty was not signed until the signing of the Treaty on the Final Settlement With Respect to Germany in 1990.

Article 76 cover prisoners of war dying in captivity they should be honorably buried and their graves marked and maintained properly. Wills and death certificate provisions should be the same as those for the detaining powers own soldiers.

Bureaux if relief and information concerning prisoners of war

Articles 77 to 80 covers how and how frequently the Powers should exchange information about prisoners and the details of how relief societies for prisoners of war should be involved in their relief.

Application of the Convention to certain classes of civilians

Article 81 covers Individuals who follow armed forces without directly belonging thereto who fall into the enemy's hands and whom the latter think expedient to detain, shall be entitled to be treated as prisoners of war. This provision covered military support contractors and civilian war correspondents etc.

Execution of the convention

Articles 82 to 97 covers the implementation of this convention. Articles 82 and 83 contained two important clauses. "In case, in time of war, one of the belligerents is not a party to the Convention, its provisions shall nevertheless remain in force as between the belligerents who are parties thereto." and that the provisions of this convention continue to cover prisoners of war after hostilities up to their repatriation unless the belligerents agree otherwise or a more favorable regime replaces it.

Annex to the Convention of May 27 1929 relative to the treatment of prisoners of war

The annex added detail to the provisions covering repatriation and hospitalization.

Further reading

Footnotes

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