GENEVA CONVENTION AND HANDLING OF PRISONERS OF WAR (POW)
The Geneva Convention was a chain of international diplomatic summit that shaped a number of agreements, pertaining to Humanitarian Laws of Armed conflict, a group of international laws for the civilized treatment of injured or captured armed force personnel, medical staff and non-military civilians in war or armed conflicts. These agreements were created in the year 1864 and were considerably updated after World War II (1949).
Importantly, some cultures showed considerable compassion for the helpless or innocent, injured civilians, conversely others tortured or slaughtered anyone in sight, but no questions were asked.
In 1859, Henry Dunant a Genevian businessman took a trip to address and seek land rights to establish business venture to Emperor Napoleon III in northern Italy. Undoubtedly, he dug up much more than he bargained for. Subsequently, Henry Dunant who witnessed the aftermath of the Battle of Solferino, a brutal battle of Italian Independence Second War, suffering Dunant underwent impacted him so seriously that he wrote a first-hand information in 1862 called A Memory of Solferino. Notably, he did not just write about what he had observed, subsequently he also proposed a solution that all nations come together to create trained, volunteer relief groups to treat battlefield wounded and offer humanitarian assistance to those affected due to war.
2. BACKGROUND HISTORY
The first Diplomatic Conference was called by Swiss Government at Geneva in 1864, which was signed by 12 Countries. Thereafter three more conferences were held in 1907, 1929 and 1949 to alter and improve the existing conventions. On 12 Aug 1949 the final Geneva Conventions were finalized and signed by 71 Countries, on 16 Oct 1950. These conventions were in four parts and contained 429 Articles
3. PURPOSE OF THE CONVENTION
The spirit of peace is in reality the spirit of the Geneva conventions. They are often very aptly called the Geneva humanitarian convention and documents which set down not only the principles but also specific details for the protection and care of victims of war. It is important to remember that they make no attempt to dedicate the rules or actual warfare. It is with the victims and not with the methods of fighting that they are concerned. The protection they give is for those who either have reasons of being civilians or because they are wounded and taken over as prisoner or combatant. The title of each of the conventions indicates protection. Provisions vary with the classes of people protected but in general way it may be stated that amidst the brutality and destruction of war, they endeavour to bring a minimum of care and compassion, in order that lives shall be saved, that suffering shall be mitigated and that human dignity shall be preserved.
4. APPLICABILITY OF CONVENTIONS
The convention is applied under the following conditions.
(a) Portion declaring war or being involved in Armed conflict even if the state of war is not recognised by any one of them.
(b) While partial or total occupation of others territory, without armed resistance.
(c) Even if the other party is not bound by the convention.
FOUR PARTS OF GENEVA CONVENTION
Part-1 : For the amelioration of the condition of the wounded and sick in the Armed Forces in the field.
Part -II : For the amelioration of the condition of wounded and sick at sea.
Part-III :For the treatment of Prisoners of War.
Part-VI : For the protection of the civilian persons in the time of war.
6. COMMON FEATURES OF ALL THE FOUR CONVENTIONS
In the first place all the four conventions unanimously stipulate that, persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of the Armed Forces who have laid down their arms and those placed ‘hours de combat’ by sickness wounds, detention or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely without any adverse distinction founded on health or any other similar criteria.
(a) All the sick and wounded should be collected and cared for.
(b) People who accompany the Armed Forces without actually being a member, also enjoys protection as they are likewise members of Armed Forces.
7. THE CONVENTIONS ALSO LAY DOWN A SERIES OF INTERDICTION AND PROHIBITIONS APPLIED TO
(a) Violence to life and person, like murder, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture.
(b) Taking of hostages.
(c) Outrage upon personal dignity in particular humiliating and degrading treatments.
(d) Passing of sentences and executions without previous judgment pronounced by any court.
8. IMPORTANT ARTICLES OF THIRD CONVENTIONS FOR TREATMENT OF POW
a. Article 4 - Categories of POW
b. Article 12 - POW with enemy power and not with individual or military unit
C. Article 13 Protection of POW
d. Article 14 - Entitlement personnel honour.
e. Article 16 - Equal treatment.
f. Article 17 - Information to be given by POW.
g. Article 18 - Personal belongings of POW. Immediate evacuation of POW.
h. Article 19 - Immediate evacuation of POW
i. Article 20 - Supply of food and medical attention.
j. Article 22 & 23 - Place of detention.
k. Article 25 - Conditions of quarters of POW.
l. Article 33 - Medical personnel and chaplains not to be treated as POW.
m. Article 40 - Uniform of POW.
n. Article 41 - ARO's publications for POW.
o. Article 42 Use of weapon against POW who escaping.
p. Article 49 & 50 Authorised works.
q. Article 70 Contact to families of POW.
r. Article 82 PSOW are subject to law of enemy country.
s. Article 84 Trials of POW.
t. Article 89 Inhuman treatment of POW
8. HANDLING OF POW
WHO ARE THE POW
(a) Members of the Armed Forces including militants and volunteer cross party to the conflict.
(b) Organized resistance groups with following condition.s
i. Existence of a Commander.
ii. Have fixed distinctive sign.
iii. Carry arms openly.
iv. Who follow laws and customs of the war.
(c) Members of the armed forces who profess allegiance not recognised by the detaining power.
(d) Civilians helping the armed forces.
(e) Inhabitants of non occupied territory who on approach of enemy, take up arms.
9. MANDATORY INFORMATION TO BE GIVEN BY POW
POW should give following information when fall into captivity, to obtain the advantage attached to their rank and status.
(b) First Name.
(d) Date of Birth.
(e) Service Number.
10. AUTHORISED WORKS FOR POW may be subjected to labour by detaining power but the nature and condition of such labour should be as bellow:
(a) Agriculture jobs.
(b) Manufacturing activity, which does not have military character.
(C) Transport handling of stores of non military nature.
(d) Commercial business.
(e) Domestic service.
(f) Public utility service of non military nature.
11. FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT OF POW
For the period of captivity of POW and any labour done by him will be paid by detaining power in terms of his salary or salary at POW's rank in that country. Factors, which decide, are as follows:
(a) Maximum amount to be decided by detaining power.
(b) Amount collected at the time of captivity is to be given back.
(c) Advance of pay can be granted.
(d) Working pay is to be given.
(e) Book adjustment as repatriation between the countries.
12. PUNISHMENTS FOR POW
All laws and rule of detaining power will be applicable for POW's. All routine orders and publications will be given to POW during captivity. If tried by the courts of detaining power the following will be considered.
(a) Death sentence generally not awarded.
(b) As and when a death sentence is given it has to meet the ends of justice.
(c) POWs have the right of escape, if caught they will be kept under captivity again but not to be punished by death.
In 2005, a Protocol was created to recognize the symbol of the red crystal—in addition to the Red Cross, the Red Crescent and the red Shield of David—as universal emblems of identification and protection in armed conflicts. Over 190 states follow the Geneva Conventions because of the belief that some battlefield behaviors are so heinous and damaging, they harm the entire international community. The rules help draw a line—as much as is possible within the context of wars and armed conflicts—between the humane treatment of armed forces, medical staff and civilians and unrestrained brutality against them.
Bibliography: Geneva Convention Act 12 Mar 1960.
Quora Space https://muralimervicsignet.quora.com/
Pixabay: 2.3 million+ Stunning Free Images and videos to Use Anywhere https://pixabay.com/