Right of Combatants and Prisoners Of War | The National TV
- by Aditi-Harshraj
- Apr 13, 2020 18:23
Introduction Combatants & Prisoners of war are the ones who have been confined by one who wages war. Prisoners of war are explained under Article 4 of the Geneva Convention 3 as members of armed forces, members of militant or volunteer corps taking part in armed forces. They also include members of other militias & volunteer corps who are operating in & outside their own territory and commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates, having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance, carrying their as openly and conducting their operations as per laws & customs of war. International Humanitarian Law is the set of rules, norms & standards made for the Nations. It reduces the effect of armed conflict & is also known as the law of war or law of armed conflict. After the Second World War, the expression Law of Armed conflict came into existence & IHL also emerged at that time which covers the rules related to armed conflicts.
It includes the Hague convention which deals with means and methods of conflict & Geneva law which deals with rules involved in Armed conflicts. The main sources of international law are treaties and customary law. The part of the Geneva Convention which deals with the conditions, rights of prisoners of war and combatants are Geneva Convention 3 and all the Geneva Convention apply to International Armed Conflicts. History of IHL The genesis of IHL is medieval codes of chivalry and for novels, there was a code of etiquette. Expansion of maritime international trade was the reason behind the development of IHL which gave rise to the 1856 Declaration of Paris. This treaty was signed after the war ended in 1856 and became the first general IHL treaty based on the maritime law of neutrality. During the American civil war, the Lieber code was created in 1863 to simplify the complexity of war rules which contains 157 articles. This was an important attempt that played a role in the development of IHL. World war 1 During world war 1, prisoners of war were given harsh treatment in Germany, Russia, and by Ottoman empire.
During this period of starvation, disease, malnutrition was common among prisoners & civilians too. 5% died in Germany due to a shortage of food. In Russia, over 2 million prisoners perished from starvation. While approx 3,75,000 Austro - Hungarian prisoners of war died due to smallpox typhus. 4,250 prisoner of war died who was captured by the Ottoman empire. 2,64,000 prisoners were sent back to their own country. Many prisoners were repatriated due to approaches made by ICRC & Allied Supreme Court and IRC was one reason behind the better condition of Prisoners of war. Second World war During the Second World War, countries like Germany, Italy treated prisoners from the Commonwealth of Nations and China & other western allies treated POWs in accordance with the Geneva Convention. While the Empire of Japan had been harsh toward prisoners of war & didn't treat them as per international agreements. Prisoners were given brutal treatment, poor medical treatment. Prisoners were not allowed to contact the International Red Cross. In Germany, the prisoners who were Jews were sent to concentration camps. Approx 57.5% of Soviet Union prisoners perished by Germans. Hague Convention of 1899 & 1907 They are the international treaties which were the authoritative statement of laws of war held at The Hague and the third convention did not take place due to world war 1.
The main effort was to settle international disputes through the International Court of Arbitration was established. It is the rules of International Humanitarian law which deals with the conduct of hostilities. It also deals with the fundamental issues if whom & what can be targeted under Hague Law. The law of targeting is basically characterized into three fundamental principles such as the Principle of Distinction, the Principle of Proportionality & the Principle of Precaution. Law of targeting impose constraints whenever belligerents decide to launch an attack. The International Committee of the Red Cross has a view about unlawful combatants is that they should be considered as members of state armed forces for the purpose of the law of targeting, but we protected civilians, especially when they are detained, for the purpose of the application of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Geneva Convention It is the agreement that protects the basic rights of prisoners of war & civilians & includes four treaties & three additional protocols. The first convention protects wounded & sick soldiers in armed forces and the second one did the same but it also regulates warfare at sea while the third one protects the right of prisoners of war & the fourth convention deals with the protection of civilians while in non-international armed conflicts, civilians or prisoners of war are not protected they are only given degrees of protection based on the fact that whether they are involved in hostilities.
These conventions establish a distinction between civilians and combatants and are submitted to different regimes of protection. In Non-International Armed Conflicts, there are no combatants or Prisoners of war status. Prisoners of war are having combatant immunity which is immunity from prosecution of all acts of war that do not violate International humanitarian law. Article 22 of the Geneva Convention ensures that the Prisoners of war are confined in the place where every possible action are taken to safeguard them from any kind of health and hygiene issues and to provide them protection against the rigors of the climate and the effects of war and the same facilities are provided to civilians under Article 85 of the Geneva Convention 4 and they are also given specific facilities such as to keep them away from hazardous areas and air-raid shelters must be provided to them. Article 94 states that when the person is detained he shall not work as workers unless they want to do and this is not applied to certain medical, administrative, maintenance, cooking or protective tasks. They can even after working for six weeks be free to give up work at any moment but they have to give eight days' notice.
But Prisoners of war may be obliged to work if they are detained. Article 54(1) & Article 62 of the Geneva Convention 3 states that Prisoners of war should receive fair pay fixed by the detaining authorities. They are also given monthly advance payment on the basis of their grade prisoners of war and detained civilians are not given the same treatment and they don't have the same statue to whom they are being shown. Under Article 117 of the Geneva Convention, Civilian internees are shown to the statue that is law in force in the territory in which they are detained while the prisoners of war are submitted to the laws, regulations & orders in force in the armed forces of the detained powers. Geneva Convention provides facilities as per their categories such as whether they are wounded or sick individuals or whether they are combatants or civilians. As per the Geneva Convention, every detained person shall be respected & protected in all circumstances. Protection of fundamental rights of prisoners is insured by the occupying power such as Hague Regulations such as Article 52, Article 49 of the Hague Regulations, Geneva Convention 4, Human Rights Instruments including both general & specific nature. International humanitarian law treaty obligations in Non-International Armed Conflict are limited to common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention and the 18 substantive articles of Additional Protocol 2.
Rights of Prisoners of war The rules which gave the right to Prisoners of war were detailed in 1929 for the first time & then modified in 1949. The rules are as follows: Prisoners of war can't be forced to give any kind of relevant or irrelevant questions regarding their name, rank, their country's secret, or any secondary questions. If they are having any kind of physical difficulties or mental illness then they must be given the required facilities. They must be given respect & treated with honor. If they want to keep any commodities or their personal possessions such as family photographs or anything else which doesn't include any military documents then they must be allowed to keep it with them. They must be allowed to go back to their country after the cessation of active hostilities. They should be given permission to contact their family & can give them information about his status or condition. They should be given medical facilities, adequate food, clean water, housing, clothing & other necessary requirements. They must not be forced to do any dangerous work or the work they are not supposed to do. Prisoners of war should be allowed to contact & ask help from the International Committee of the Red Cross. If the right of Prisoners of war is being infringed then the country will be liable for punishment.
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