- Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression
- Vol. VI
Copy of document 3738-PS
Copy of document 3738-PS
GENEVA (PRISONERS OF WAR) CONVENTION OF 27 JuLY 1929
(47 Stat. 2021; Treaty Series No. 846; Malloy, Treaties, Vol. IV,
RELATIVE TO THE TREATMENT OF PRISONERS
[Here follows the list of Sovereigns and Heads of States who sent
PleniPotentiaries to the Conference.]
recognizing that, in the extreme case of a war, it will be the duty of
every Power to diminish, so far as possible, the unavoidable rigors
thereof and to mitigate the fate of prisoners of war; desirous of
developing the principles which inspired the international conventions
of The Hague, in particular the Convention relative to the laws and
customs of war and the Regulations annexed thereto;
have decided to conclude a Convention to that end, and have appointed
the following as their Plenipotentiaries, namely:
[Here follow the names of Plenipotentiaries.]
Who, after having communicated to each other their full powers, found to
be in good and due form, have agreed as follows:
TITLE 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS
The present Convention shall apply, without prejudice to the
stipulations of Title VII:
(1) To all persons mentioned in Articles 1, 2 and 3 of the Regulations
annexed to the Hague Convention respecting the laws and customs of war
on land, of October 18, 1907, and captured by the enemy.
(2) To all persons belonging to the armed forces of belligerent parties,
captured by the enemy in the course of military operations at sea or in
the air, except for such derogations as might be rendered inevitable by
the conditions of capture. However, such derogations shall not infringe
upon the fundamental principles of the present Convention; they shall
cease from the moment when the persons captured have rejoined a
Prisoners of war are in the power of the hostile Power, but not of the
individuals or corps who have captured them.
They must at all times be humanely treated and protected, particularly
against acts of violence, insults and public curiosity.
Measures of reprisal against them are prohibited.
Prisoners of war have the right to have their person and their honor
respected. Women shall 6e treated with all the regard due to their sex.
Prisoners retain their full civil status.
The Power detaining prisoners of war is bound to provide for their
Difference in treatment among prisoners is lawful only when it is based
on the military rank, state of physical or mental health, professional
qualifications or sex of those who profit thereby.
TITLE II. CAPTURE
Every prisoner of war is bound to give, if he is questioned on the
subject, his true name and rank, or else his regimental number.
If he infringes this rule, he is liable to have the advantages given to
prisoners of his class curtailed.
No coercion may be used on prisoners to secure information relative to
the condition of their army or country. Prisoners who refuse to answer
may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to unpleasant or diss
advantageous treatment of any kind whatever.
If, because of his physical or mental condition, a prisoner is unable to
identify himself, he shall be turned over to the medical corps.
All effects and objects of personal use — except arms, horses, military
equipment and military papers-shall remain in the posssession of
prisoners of war, as well as metal helmets and gas masks.
Money in the possession of prisoners may not be taken away from them
except by order of an officer and after the amount is determined. A
receipt shall be given. Money thus taken away shall be entered to the
account of each prisoner.
Identification documents, insignia of rank, decorations and objects of
value may not be taken from prisoners.
TITLE III. CAPTIVITY
SECTION 1-EVACUATION OF PRISONERS OF WAR
Prisoners of war shall be evacuated within the shortest possible period
after their capture, to depots located in a region far enough from the
zone of combat for them to be out of danger.
Only prisoners who, because of wounds or sickness, would run greater
risks by being evacuated than by remaining where they are may be
temporarily kept in a dangerous zone.
Prisoners shall not be needlessly exposed to danger while awaiting their
evacuation from the combat zone.
Evacuation of prisoners on foot may normally be effected only by stages
of 20 kilometers a day, unless the necessity of reaching water and food
depots requir” longer stages.
Belligerents are bound mutually to notify each other of their capture of
prisoners within the shortest period possible, through the intermediary
of the information bureaus. such as are organized according to Article
77. They are likewise bound to inform each other of the official
addresses to which the correspondence of the families may be sent to
prisoners of war.
As soon as possible, every prisoner must be enabled to correspond with
his family himself, under the conditions provided in Articles 36 et seq.
As regards prisoners captured at sea, the provisions of the present
article shall be observed as soon as possible after arrival at port.
SECTION II.-PRISONERS-OF-WAR CAMPS
Prisoners of war may be interned in a town, fortress, or other place,
and bound not to go beyond certain fixed limits. They may also be
interned in enclosed camps; they may not be confined or imprisoned
except as an indispensable measure of safety or sanitation, and only
while the circumstances which necessitate the measure continue to exist.
Prisoners captured in unhealthful regions or where the climate is
injurious for persons coming from temperate regions, shall be
transported, as soon as possible, to a more favorable climate.
Belligerents shall, so far as possible, avoid assembling in a single
camp prisoners of different races or nationalities.
No prisoner may, at any time, be sent into a region where he might be
exposed to the fire of the combat zone, nor used to give protection from
bombardment to certain points or certain regions by his presence.
CHAPTER I-Installation of Camps
Prisoners of war shall be lodged in buildings or in barracks affording
all possible guarantees of hygiene and healthfulness.
The quarters must be fully protected from dampness, sufficiently heated
and lighted. All precautions must be taken against danger of fire.
With regard to dormitories — he total surface, minimum cubic amount of
air, arrangement and material of bedding-the conditions shall be the
same as for the troops at base. camps of the detaining Power.
CHAPTER 2.-Food and Clothing of Prisoners of War
The food ration of prisoners of war shall be equal in quantity and
quality to that of troops at base camps.
Furthermore, prisoners shall receive facilities for preparing
themselves, additional food which they might have.
A sufficiency of potable water shall be furnished them. The use of
tobacco shall be permitted. Prisoners may be employed in the kitchens.
All collective disciplinary measures affecting the food are prohibited.
Clothing, linen and footwear shall be furnished prisoners of war by the
detaining Power. Replacement and repairing of these effects must be
assured regularly. In addition, laborers must receive work clothes
wherever the nature of the work requires it.
Canteens shall be installed in all camps where prisoners may obtain, at
the local market price, food products and ordinary objects.
Profits made by the canteens for camp administrations shall be used for
the benefit of prisoners.
CHAPTER 13.-Sanitary Service in Camps
Belligerents shall be bound to take all sanitary measures necessary to
assure the cleanliness and healthfulness of camps and to prevent
Prisoners of war shall have at their disposal, day and night,
installations conforming to sanitary rules and constantly maintained in
a state of cleanliness.
Furthermore, and without prejudice to baths and showers with which the
camp shall be as well provided as possible, prisoners shall be furnished
a sufficient quantity of water for the care of their own bodily
It shall be possible for them to take physical exercise and enjoy, the
Every camp shall have an Infirmary, where prisoners of war shall receive
every kind of attention they need. If necessary, isolated quarters shall
be reserved for the sick affected with contagious diseases.
Expenses of treatment, including therein those of temporary prosthetic
equipment, shall be borne by the detaining Power.
Upon request, belligerents shall be bound to deliver to every prisoner
treated an official statement showing the nature and duration of his
illness as well as the attention received.
It shall be lawful for belligerents reciprocally to authorize, by means
of private arrangements, the retention in the camps of physicians and
attendants to care for prisoners of their own country.
Prisoners affected with a serious illness or whose condition
necessitates an important surgical operation, must be admitted, at the
expense of the detaining Power, to any military or civil medical unit
qualified to treat them.
Medical inspections of prisoners of war shall be arranged at least once
a month. Their purpose shall be the supervision of the general state of
health and cleanliness, and the detection of contagious diseases,
particularly tuberculosis and venereal diseases.
CHAPTER 4-Intellectual and Moral Needs Of Prisoners Of War
Prisoners of war shall enjoy complete liberty in the exercise of their
religion, including attendance at the services of their faith, on the
sole condition that they comply with the measures of order and police
issued by the military authorities.
Ministers of a religion, prisoners of war, whatever their religious
denomination, shall be allowed to minister fully to members of the same
So far as possible, belligerents shall encourage intellectual diversions
and sports organized by prisoners of war.
CHAPTER 5-Internal Discipline of Camps
Every camp of prisoners of war shall be placed under the command of a
Besides the external marks of respect provided by the regulations in
force in their armies with regard to their nationals, prisoners of war
must salute all officers of the detaining Power.
Officers who are prisoners of war are bound to salute only officers of a
higher or equal rank of that Power.
The wearing of insignia of rank and of decorations shall be permitted.
Regulations, orders, notices and proclamations of every, kind njust be
communicated to prisoners of war in a language which they understand.
The same principle shall be applied in examinations.
CHAPTER 6.-Special Provisions Regarding Officers and Persons
of Equivalent Status
Upon the beginning of hostilities, belligerents shall be bound to
communicate to one another the titles and ranks in use in their
respective armies, with a view to assuring equality of treatment between
corresponding ranks of officers and persons of equivalent status.
Officers and persons of equivalent status who are prisoners of war shall
be treated with the regard due their rank and age.
In order to assure service in officers' camps, soldiers of the same army
who are prisoners of war and, wherever possible, who speak the same
language, shall be assigned thereto, in sufficient numbers, considering
the rank of the officers and persons of equivalent status.
The latter shall secure their food and clothing from the pay which shall
be aranted them by the detaining Power. Administration of the mess-fund
by the officers themselves must be facilitated in every way.
CHAPTER 7.-Financial Resources of Prisoners of War
Subject to private arrangements between belligerent Powers, and
particularly those provided in Article 24, officers and persons of
equivalent status who are prisoners of war shall receive from the
detaining Power the same pay as officers of corresponding rank in the
armies of that Power, on the condition, however, that this pay does not
exceed that to which they are entitled in the armies of the country,
which they have served. This pay shall be granted them in full, once a
Month if possible, and without being liable to any deduction for
expenses incumbent on the detaining Power, even when they are in favor
of the prisoners.
An agreement between the belligerents shall fix the rate of exchange
applicable to this payment; in the absence of such an agreement, the
rate adopted shall be that in force at the opening of hostilities.
All payments made to prisoners of war as pay must be reimbursed, at the
end of hostilities, by the Power which they have served.
Upon the outbreak of hostilities, the belligerents shall, by common
agreement, fix the maximum amount of ready money which prisoners of war
of various ranks and classes shall be allowed to keep in their
possession. Any surplus taken or withheld from a prisoner shall be
entered to his account, the same as any deposit of money effected by
him, and may not be converted into another currency without his consent.
Pay to the credit of their accounts shall be given to prisoners of war
at the end of their captivity.
During their imprisonment, facilities shall be granted them for the
transfer of these amounts, in whole or in part, to banks or private
persons in their country of origin.
CHAPTER 8-Transfer of Prisoners of War
Unless the conduct of military operations so requires, sick and wounded
prisoners of war shall not be transferred as long as their recovery
might be endangered by the trip.
In case of transfer, prisoners of war shall be officially notified of
their new destination in advance; they shall be allowed to take with
them their personal effects, their correspondence and packages which
have arrived for them.
All due measures shall be taken that correspondence and packages
addressed to their former camp may be forwarded to them without delay.
Money deposited to the account of transferred prisoners shall be
transmitted to the competent authority of their new place of residence.
The expenses occasioned by the transfer shall be charged to the
SECTION III-LABOR OF PRISONERS OF WAR
Belligerents may utilize the labor of able prisoners of war, according
to their rank and aptitude, officers and persons of equivalent status
However, if officers or persons of equivalent status request suitable
work, it shall be secured for them so far as is possible.
Noncommissioned officers who are prisoners of war shall only be required
to do supervisory work, unless they expressly request a remunerative
Belligerents shall be bound, during the whole period of captivity, to
allow to prisoners of war who are victims of accidents in connection
with their work the enjoyment of the benefit of the provisions
applicable to laborers of the same class according to the legislation of
the detaining Power. With regard to prisoners of war to whom these legal
provisions might not be applied by reason of the legislation of that
Power, the latter undertakes to recommend to its legislative body all
proper measures equitably to idemnify the victims.
CHAPTER 2-Organization of the Labor
The detaining Power shall assume entire responsibility for the
maintenance, care, treatment and payment of wages of prisoners of war
working for the account of private persons.
No prisoner of war may be employed at labors for which he is physically
The length of the day’s work of prisoners of war, including therein the
trip going and returning, shall not be excessive and must not, in any
case, exceed that allowed for the civil workers in the region employed
at the same work. Every, prisoner shall be allowed a rest of twenty-four
consecutive hours every week, preferably on Sunday.
CHAPTER 3-Prohibited Labor
Labor furnished by prisoners of war shall have no direct relation with
war operations. It is especially prohibited to use pris-
oners for manufacturing and transporting arms or munitions of any kind,
or for transporting material intended for combatant units.
In case of violation of the provisions of the preceding paragraph,
prisoners, after executing or beginning to execute the order, shall be
free to have their protests presented through the mediation of the
agents whose functions are set forth in Articles 13 and 44, or, in the
absence of an agent, through the mediation of representatives of the
It is forbidden to use prisoners of war at unhealthful or dangerous
Any aggravation of the conditions of labor by disciplinary measures is
CHAPTER 4-Labor Detachments
The system of labor detachments must be similar to that of
prisoners-of-war camps, particularly with regard to sanitary conditions,
food, attention in case of accident or sickness, correspondence and the
receipt of packages.
Every labor detachment shall be dependent on a prisoners' camp. The
commander of this camp shall be responsible observation, in the labor
detachment, of the provisions of the present Convention.
Prisoners of war shall not receive wages for work connected with the
administration, management and maintenance of the camps.
Prisoners utilized for other work shall be entitled to wages to be fixed
by agreements between the belligerents.
These agreements shall also specify the part which the camp
administration may retain, the amount which shall belong to the prisoner
of war and the manner in which that amount shall be put at his disposal
during the period of his captivity.
While awaiting the conclusion of the said agreements, payment for labor
of prisoners shall be settled according to the rules given below:
a. Work done for the State shall be paid for in accordance with the
rates in force for soldiers of the national army doing the same
work, or, if none exists, according to a rate in harmony. with the work
b. When the work is done for the account of other public administrations
or for private persons, conditions shall be regulated by agreement with
the military authority.
The pay remaining to the credit of the prisoner shall be delivered to
him at the end of his captivity. In case of death, it shall be forwarded
through the diplomatic channel to the heirs of the deceased.
SECTION M-EXTERNAL RELATIONS OF PRISONERS OF WAR
Upon the outbreak of hostilities, belligerents shall publish the
measures provided for the execution of the provisions of this seetion.
Each of the belligerents shall periodically determine the number of
letters and postal cards per month which prisoners of war of the various
classes shall be allowed to send, and shall inform the other belligerent
of this number. These letters and cards shall be transmitted by post by
the shortest route. They may not be delayed or retained for disciplinary
Within a period of not more than one week after his arrival at the camp,
and likewise in case of sickness, every prisoner shall be enabled to
write his family a postal card informing it of his capture and of the
state of his health. The said postal cards shall be forwarded as rapidly
as possible and may not be delayed in any manner.
As a general rule, correspondence of prisoners shall be written in their
native language. Belligerents may allow correspondence in other
Prisoners of war shall be allowed individually to receive parcels by
mail, containing foods and other articles intended to supply them with f
ood or clothing. Packages shall be delivered to the addresses and a
Letters and consignments of money or valuables, as well as parcels by
post intended for prisoners of war or dispatched by them, either
directly, or by the mediation of the information bureaus provided for in
Article 77, shall be exempt from all postal duties in the countries of
origin and destination, as well as in the countries they pass through.
Presents and relief in kind for prisoners shall be likewise exempt from
all import and other duties, as well as of payments for carriage by the
Prisoners may, in cases of acknowledged urgency, be allowed to send
telegrams, paying the usual charges.
Prisoners of war shall be allowed to receive shipmentsof books
individually, which may be subject to censorship.
Representatives of the protecting Powers and duly recognized and
authorized aid societies may send books and collections of books to the
libraries of prisoners' camps. The transmission of these shipments to
libraries may not be delayed under the pretext of censorship
Censorship of' correspondence must be effected within the shortest
possible time. Furthermore, inspection of parcels post must be effected
under proper conditions to guarantee the preservation of the product,,,
which they- may contain and, if possible, in the presence of the
addressee or an agent duly, recognized by him.
Prohibitions of correspondence promulgated by the belligerents for
military or political reasons, must be transient in character and as
short as possible.
Belligerents shall assure all facilities for the transmission of
instruments, papers or documents intended for prisoners of war or signed
by them, particularly of powers of attorney and wills.
They shall take the necessary measures to assure, in case of necessity,
the authentication of signatures made by prisoners.
SECTION V-PRISONERS' RELATIONS WITH THE AUTHORITIES
CHAPTER 1-Complaints of Prisoners of War Because of the
Conditions of Captivity
Prisoners of war shall have the right to inform the military authorities
in whose power they are of their requests with regard to the conditions
of captivity to which they are subjected.
They shall also have the right to address themselves to representatives
of the protecting Powers to indicate to them the points on which they
have complaints to formulate with regard to the conditions of captivity.
These requests and complaints must be transmitted immediately.
Even if they are recognized to be unfounded, they, may not occasion any
CHAPTER 2-Representatives of Prisoners of War
In every place where there are prisoners of war, they shall be allowed
to appoint agents entrusted with representing them directly with
military authorities and protecting Powers.
This appointment shall be subject to the approval of the military
The agents shall be entrusted with the reception and distribution of
collective shipments. Likewise, in case the prisoners should decide to
organize a mutual assistance system among themselves, this organization
would be in the sphere of the agents.
Further, they may lend their offices to prisoners to facilitate their
relations with the aid societies mentioned in Article 78.
In camps of officers and persons of equivalent status, the senior
officer prisoner of the highest rank shall be recognized as intermediary
between the camp authorities and the officers and persons of equivalent
status who are prisoners. For this purpose, he shall have the power to
appoint a prisoner officer to assist him as an interpreter during the
conferences with the camp authorities.
When the agents are employed as laborers, their activity as
representatives of prisoners of war must be counted in the compulsory
period of labor.
All facilities shall be accorded the agents for their intercourse with
the military authorities and with the protecting Power. This intercourse
shall not be limited.
No representative of the prisoners may be transferred without the
necessary time being allowed him to inform his successors about affairs
CHAPTER 3.-Penalties Applicable to Prisoners of War
1. General Provisions
Prisoners of war shall be subject to the laws. regulations, and orders
in force in the armies of the detaining Power.
An act of insubordination shall justify the adoption towards them of the
measures provided by such laws, regulations and orders.
The provisions of the present chapter, however, are reserved.
Punishments other than those provided for the same acts for soldiers of
the national armies may not be imposed upon prisoners of war by the
military authorities and courts of the detaining Power.
Rank being identical, officers, non-commissioned officers or solders who
are prisoners of war undergoing a disciplinary punishment, shall not be
subject to less favorable treatment than that provided in the armies of
the detaining Power with regard to the same punishment.
Any corporal punishment, any imprisonment in quarters without daylight
and, in generalf any form of cruelty, is forbidden.
Collective punishment for individual acts is also forbidden.
Acts constituting an offense against discipline, and particularly
attempted escape, shall be verified immediately; for all prisoners of
war, commissioned or not, preventive arrest shall be reduced to the
Judicial proceedings against prisoners of war shall be conducted as
rapidly as the circumstances permit; preventive imprisonment shall be
limited as much as possible.
In all cases, the duration of preventive imprisonment shall be deducted
from the disciplinary or judicial punishment inflicted, provided that
this deduction is allowed for national soldiers.
Prisoners of war may not be treated differently from other prisoners
after having sulTered the judicial or disciplinary punishment which has
been imposed on them.
However, prisoners punished as a result of attempted escape may be
subjected to special surveillance, which, however, may not entail the
suppression of the guarantees granted prisoners by the present
No prisoner of war may be deprived of his rank by the detaining Power.
Prisoners given disciplinary punishment may not be deprived of the
prerogatives attached to their rank. In particular, officers and persons
of equivalent status wo suffer punishment involving
deprivation of liberty shall not be placedin in the same quarters as
noncommissioned officers or privates being punished.
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.
Prisoners who, after having succeeded in rejoining their army or in
leaving the territory occupied by the army which captured them, may-
again be taken prisoners, shall not be liable to any, punishment on
account of their previous flight.
Attempted escape, even if it is a repetition of the otfense, shall not
be considered as an aggravating circumstance in case the prisoner of war
should be given over to the courts on account of crimes or offenses
against persons or property committed in the course of that attempt.
After an attempted or accomplished escape, the comrades of the person
escaping who assisted in the escape may incur only, disciplinary
punishment on this account.
Belligerents shall see that the competent authorities exercise the
greatest leniency in deciding the question of whether an infraction
committed by a prisoner of war should be punished by disciplinary or
This shall be the case especially when it is a question of deciding on
acts in connection with escape or attempted escape.
A prisoner may not be punished more than once because of the same act or
the same count.
No prisoner of war on whom a disciplinary punishment has been imposed,
who might be eligible for repatriation, may be kept back because he has
not undergone the punishment.
Prisoners to be repatriated who might be threatened with a penal
prosecution may be excluded from repatriation until the end of the
proceedings and, if necessary, until the completion of the punishment;
those who might already be imprisoned by reason of a sentence may be
detained until the end of their imprisonment.
Belligerents shall communicate to each other the lists of those who may
not be repatriated for the reasons given in the preceding Paragraph.
2. Disciplinary Punishments
Arrest is the most severe disciplinary punishment which may be imposed
on a prisoner of war.
The duration of a single punishment may not exceed thirty days.
This maximum of thirty days may not, further, be exceeded in the case of
several acts for which the prisoner has to undergo discipline at the
time when it is ordered for him, whether or not these acts are
When, during or after the end of a period of arrest, a prisoner shall
have a new disciplinary punishment imposed upon him, a space of at least
three days shall separate each of the periods of arrest, if one of them
is ten days or more.
Subject to the provisions given in the last paragraph of Article 11,
food restrictions allowed in the armies of the detaining Power are
applicable, as an increase in punishment, to prisoners of war given
However, these restrictions may be ordered only if the state of health
of the prisoners punished permits it.
In no case may prisoners of war be transferred to penitentiary
establishments (prison, penitentiaries, convict prisons, etc.) there to
undergo disciplinary punishment.
The quarters in which they undergo disciplinary punishment shall conform
to sanitary requirements.
Prisoners punished shall be enabled to keep themselves in a state of
These prisoners shall every day be allowed to exercise or to stay in the
open air at least two hours.
Prisoners of war given disciplinary punishment shall be allowed to read
and write, as well as to send and receive letters.
On the other hand, packages and money sent may not be delivered to the
addressees until the expiration of the punishment. If the packages not
distributed contain perishable products, these shall be turned over to
the camp infirmary or kitchen.
Prisoners of war given disciplinary punishment shall be allowed, on
their request, to be present at the daily medical inspec-
tion. They shall receive the care consicterect necessary by the doctors
and, if necessary, shall be removed to the camp infirmary or to
Excepting the competence of courts and higher military authorities,
disciplinary punishment may be ordered only by an officer provided with
disciplinary powers in his capacity as commander of a camp or
detachment, or by the responsible otlicer replacing him.
3. Judicial Suits
At the opening of a judicial proceeding directed against a prisoner of
war, the detaining Power shall advise the representative of the
protecting Power thereof as soon as possible, and always before the date
set for the opening of the trial.
This advice shall contain the following information:
a. Civil state and rank of prisoner;
b. Place of sojourn or imprisonment;
c. Specification of the [count] or counts of the indictment, giving the
legal provisions applicable.
If it is not possible to mention in that advice the court which will
pass upon the matter. the date of opening the trial and the place where
it will take place, this information must be furnished to the
representative of the protecting Power later, as soon as possible, and
at all events, at least three weeks before the opening of the trial.
No prisoner of war may be sentenced without having had an opportunity to
No prisoner may be obliged to admit himself guilty of the act of which
he is accused.
The prisoner of war shall be entitled to assistance by a qualified
counsel of his choice, and, if necessary, to have recourse to the
services of a competent interpreter. He shall be advised of his right by
the detaining Power, in due time before the trial. In default of a
choice by the prisoner, the protecting Power may obtain a counsel for
him. The detaining Power shall deliver to the protecting Power, on its
request, a list of persons qualified to present the defense.
Representatives of the protecting Power shall he entitled to attend the
trial of the case.
The only exception to this rule is the case where the trial of the case
must be secret in the interest of the safety of the State. The detaining
Power should so advise the protecting Power.
Sentence may be pronounced against a prisoner of war only by the same
courts and according to the same procedure as in the case of persons
belonging to the armed forces of the detaining Power.
Every prisoner of war shall have the right of appeal against any
sentence rendered with regard to him, in the same way as individuals to
the protecting Power immediately.
Sentences pronounced against prisoners of war shall be communicated to
the protecting Power immediately.
If the death penalty is pronounced against a prisoner of war, a
communication setting forth in detail the nature and circumstances of
the ofTense shall be sent as soon as possible to the representative of
the protecting Power, for transmission to the Power in whose armies the
The sentence shall not be executed before the expiration of a period of
at least three months after this communication.
No prisoner of war may be deprived of the benefit of the provisions of
Article 42 of the present Convention as a result of a sentence or
TITLE IV. TERMINATION OF CAPTIVITY
SECTION I-DIRECT REPATRIATION AND HOSPITALIZATION IN A
Belligerents are bound to send back to their own country, regardless of
rank or number, seriously sick and seriously injured prisoners of war,
after having brought them to a condition where they can be transported.
Agreements between belligerents shall accordingly settle as soon as
possible the cases of invalidity or of sickness, entailing direct
repatriation, as well as the cases entailing possible hospitalization in
a neutral country. While awaiting the conclusion
of these agreements, belligerents may have reference to the model
agreement annexed, for documentary purposes, to the present Convention.
Upon the outbreak of hostilities, belligerents shall come to an
agreement to name mixed medical commissions. These commissions shall be
composed of three members, two of them belonging to a neutral country
and one appointed by the detaining Power; one of the physicians of the
neutral country shall preside. These mixed medical commissions shall
proceed to the examination of sick or wounded prisoners and shall make
all due decisions regarding them.
Decisions of these commissions shall be by majority and carried out with
the least possible delay.
Besides those who are designated by the camp physician, the following
prisoners of war shall be inspected by the mixed medical commission
mentioned in Article 69, with a view to their direct repatriation or
their hospitalization in a neutral country:
a. Prisoners who make such a request directly of the camp physician;
b. Prisoners who are presented by the agents provided for in Article 43,
acting on their own initiative or at the request of the prisoners
c. Prisoners who have been proposed by the Power in whose armies they
have served or by an aid society duly recognized and authorized by that
Prisoners of war who are victims of accidents in connection with work,
except those voluntarily injured, shall enjoy the benefit of the same
provisions, as far as repatriation or possible hospitalization in a
neutral country are concerned.
Throughout the duration of hostilities and for humane considerations,
belligerents may conclude agreements with a view to the direet
repatriation or hospitalization in a neutral country of able-bodied
prisoners of war who have undergone a long period of captivity.
The expenses of repatriation or of transportation to a neutral country
of prisoners of war shall be borne, from the frontiers of the detaining
Power, by the Power in whose armies the prisoners have served.
No repatriated person may be utilized in active military service.
SECTION II-RELEASE AND REPATRIATION UPON CESSATION OF
When belligerents conclude a convention of armistice, they must, in
principle, have appear therein stipulations regarding the repatriation
of prisoners of war. If it has not been possible to insert stipulations
in this regard in such convention, belligerents shall nevertheless come
to ail agreement ill this regard as soon as possible. In any case,
repatriation of prisoners shall be effected with the least possible
delay after the conclusion of peace.
Prisoners of war against whom a penal prosecution might be pending for a
crime or an offense of municipal law may, however, be detained until the
end of the proceedings and, if necessary, until the expiration of the
punishment. The same shall be true of those sentenced for a crime or
offense of municipal law.
On agreement between the belligerents, commissions may be established
for the purpose of searching for dispersed prisoners and assuring their
TITLE V. DEATH OF PRISONERS OF WAR
Wills of prisoners of war shall be received and drawn up in the same way
as for soldiers of the national army.
The same rules shall be observed regarding death certificates.
Belligerents shall see that prisoners of war dying ill captivity are
honorably buried and that the graves bear all due information, are
respected and properly maintained.
TITLE VI. BUREAUS OF RELIEF AND INFORMATION
CONCERNING PRISONERS OF WAR
Upon the outbreak of hostilities, each of the belligerent Powers, as
well as the neutral Powers which have received belligerents, shall
institute an official information bureau for prisoners of war who are
within their territory.
Within the shortest possible period, each of the belligerent Powers
shall inform its information bureau of every capture of prisoners
effected by its armies, giving it all the information regarding identity
which it has, allowing it quickly to advise the
families concerned, and informing it of the official addresses to which
families may write to prisoners.
The information bureau shall immediately forward all this information to
the interested Powers, through the intervention, on one hand, of the
protecting Powers and, on the other, of the central agency provided for
in Article 79.
The information burear, being charged with replying to all inquiries
about prisoners of war, shall receive from the various services
concerned full information respeting internments and transfers, releases
on parole, repatriations, escapes, stays in hospitals, deaths, as well
as other information necessary to enable it to make out and keep up to
date and individual return for each prisoner of war.
The bureau shall state in this return, in so far as is possible and
dubject to the provisions of Article 5: the regimental number, given
names and surname, date and place of birth, rank and unit of the
interested party, the given name of the father and the name of the
mother, the address of the person to be advised in case of accident,
wounds, date and place of capture, internment, wounding and death, as
well as any other important information.
Weekly lists containing all new information likely to facilitate the
identification of each prisoner shall be transmitted to the interested
At the conclusion of peace the individual return of the prisoner of war
shall be delivered to the Power which he served.
The infomration bureau shall further be bound to receive all objects of
personal use, valuables, letters, pay vouchers, indentification marks,
etc., which are left by prisoners of war who have been repatriated,
released on parole, escaped or died, and to transmit them to the
Relief societies for prisoners of war, which are properly constituted in
accordance with the laws of their country and with the object of serving
as the channel for charitable effort, shall receive from the
belligerents, for themselves and their duly accredited agents, every
facility for the efficient performance of their humane task within the
bounds imposed by military necessities. Agents of these societies may be
admitted to the camps for the purpose of distributing relief, as also to
the halting places of repatriated prisoners, if furnished with a
personal permit by the military authorities, and on giving an
undertaking in writing to comply with all measures of order and police
which the latter may issue.
A central information agency for prisoners of war shall be created in a
neutral country. The International Committee of the Red Cross shall
propose the organization of such an agency to the interested Powers, if
it considers it necessary.
The function of that agency shall be to centralize all information
respecting prisoners, which it may obtain through official or private
channels; it shall transmit it as quickly as possible to the country of
origin of the prisoners or to the Power which they have served.
These provisions must not be interpreted as restricting the humanitarian
activity of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Information bureaus shall enjoy the privilege of free postage on postal
matter, as well as all exemptions provided in Article 38.
TITLE VII. APPLICATION OF THE CONVENTION TO
CERTAIN CLASSES OF CIVILIANS
Individuals who follow armed forces without directly belonging thereto,
such as newspaper correspondents and reporters, sutlers, contractors,
who fall into the enemy’s hands and whom the latter thinks expedient to
detain, shall be entitled to be treated as prisoners of war, provided
they are in possession of a certificate from the military authorities of
the armed forces which they were accompanying.
TITLE VIII. EXECUTION OF THE CONVENTION
SECTION I-GENERAL PROVISIONS
The provisions of the present Convention must be respected by the High
Contracting Parties under all circumstances.
In case, in time of war, one of the belligerents is not a part to the
Convention, its provisions shall nevertheless remain in force as between
the belligerents who are parties thereto.
The High Contracting Parties reserve the right to conclude special
conventions on all questions relative to prisoners of war, on which it
seems to them expedient to have particular regulations.
Prisoners of war shall receive the benefit of these agreements until the
completion of repatriation, except in the case of express, stipulations
to the contrary contained in the above-mentioned agreements or in later
agreements, or also except in the case of more favorable measures taken
by one or the other of the belligerent powers respecting the prisoners
which they hold.
In order to assure the reciprocal application of the stipulations of the
present Convention, and to facilitate the conclusion of the Ispecial
conventions provided for above, belligerents may, upon the commencement
of hostilities, authorize meetings of representatives of the respective
authorities charged with the administration of prisoners of war.
The text of the present Convention and of the special conventions
provided for in the foregoing article, shall be posted, whereever
possible in the native language of the prisoners of war., in places
where it may be consulted by all the prisoners.
The text of these conventions shall be communicated to prisoners who
find it impossible to get the information from the posted text, upon
The High Contracting Parties shall communicate to one another through
the Swiss Federal Council, the official translations of the present
convention, as well as of the laws and regulations which they may come
to adopt to assure the application of the present Convention.
SECTION II.-ORGANIZATION OF CONTROL
The High Contracting Parties recognize that the regular application of
the present Convention will find a guaranty in the possibility of
collaboration of the protecting Powers charged with safeguarding the
interests of belligerents; in this respect, the protecting Powers may,
besides their diplomatic personnel, appoint delegates from among their
own nationals or from among the nationals of other neutral Powers. These
delegates must be subject to the approval of the belligerent near which
they exercise their Mission.
Representatives of the protecting Power or its accepted delegates shall
be permitted to go to any place, without exception, where prisoners of
war are interned. They shall have access to all places occupied by
prisoners and may interview them, as a general rule without witnesses,
personally or through interpreters.
Belligerents snaii so iar as Possible facilitate the task of
representatives or accepted delegates of the protecting Power. The
military authorities shall be informed of their visit.
Belligerents may come to an agreement to allow persons of the same
nationality as the prisoners to be permitted to take part in inspection
In case of disagreement between the belligerents as to the application
of provisions of the present Convention, the protecting Powers must, in
so far as possible, lend their good offices for the purpose of settling
For this purpose, each of the protecting Powers may, in particular,
suggest to the interested belligerents a meeting of representatives
thereof, possibly upon a neutral territory suitably chosen. Belligerents
shall be bound to accede to proposals in this sense which are made to
them. The protecting Power may, if occasion arises, submit for the
approval of the Powers concerned a person belonging to a neutral Power
or a person delegated by the International Committee of the Red Cross,
who shall be summoned to take part in this meeting.
The foregoing provisions are not an obstacle to the humanitarian
activity which the International Committee of the Red Cross may use for
the protection of prisoners of war, with the consent of the interested
SECTION III-FINAL PROVISIONS
In the relations between Powers bound by the Hague Convention respecting
the Laws and Customs of War on Land, whether it is a question of that of
July 29, 1899, or that of October 18, 1907, and who participate in the
present Convention, this latter shall complete Chapter II of the
Regulations annexed to the said Hague Conventions.
The present Convention, which will bear this day’s date, may be signed
up to February 1, 1930, on behalf of all the countries represented at
the Conference which opened at Geneva July 1, 1929.
The present Convention shall be ratified as soon as possible.
The ratifications shall be deposited at Berne.
A record of the deposit of each instrument of ratification shall be
prepared, a duly certified copy of which shall be forwarded by the Swiss
Federal Council to the Governments of all the countries on whose behalf
the Convention has been signed or notification of adherence made.
The present Convention shall become effective six months after the
deposit of at least two instruments of ratification.
Subsequently, it shall become effective for each High Contracting Party
six months after the deposit of its instrument of ratification.
From the date on which it becomes effective, the present Convention
shall be open for adherences given on behalf of any country in whose
name this Convention was not signed.
Adherence shall be given by written notification addressed to the Swiss
Federal Council and shall take effect six months after the date of their
The Swiss Federal Council shall communicate adherences to the
Governments of all the countries on whose behalf the Convention was
signed or notification of adherence made.
A state of war shall give immediate effect to ratifications deposited
and to adherences notified by belligerent Powers prior to or after the
outbreak of hostilities. The communication of ratifications or
adherences received from Powers at war shall be made by the Swiss
Federal Council by the most rapid method.
Each of the High Contracting Parties shall have the right to denounce
the present Convention. The denunciation shall not take effect until one
year after notification has been made in writng to the Swiss Federal
Council. The latter shall communicate such notification to the
Governments of all the High ContractingParties.
The denunciation shall have effect only with respect to the High
Contracting Party which gave notification thereof.
Moreover, such denunciation shall not take effect during a war in which
the denouncing Power is involved. In this case, the present Convention
shall continue in effect, beyond the period of one year, until the
conclusion of peace, and, in any event, until the Processes of
repatriation are completed.
A duly certified copy of the present Convention shall be deposited in
the archives of the League of Nations by the Swiss Federal Council.
Likewise, ratifications, adherences, and denunciations of which the
Swiss Federal Council shall be notified, shall be communicated by it to
the League of Nations.
In faith whereof, the Plenipotentiaries named above have signed the
Done at Geneva, the twenty-seventh of July, one thousand nine hundred
and twenty-nine, in a single copy, which shall remain in the archives of
the Swiss Confederation and duly certified copies of which shall be
forwarded to the Governments of all the countries invited to the
[Here follow signatures.]