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The 1929 POW convention

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The 1929 treaty included the following essential POW rights:

  • Prisoners of war are in the custody of the hostile Government, and not in custody of the individuals which captured them.
  • (POWs) shall at all times be humanely treated and protected, particularly against acts of violence. Measures of retaliation against them are forbidden.
  • Prisoners of war are entitled to respect. Women shall be treated with all consideration due to their sex.
  • The detaining Power is required to provide for the maintenance of prisoners of war in its charge.
  • Differences of treatment between prisoners are not permissible unless such differences are based on the military rank, the state of physical or mental health, the professional abilities.
  • Every prisoner of war is required to declare, if he is interrogated on the subject, his true names and rank, or his regimental number. If he violates this rule, he exposes himself to a restriction of the privileges accorded to prisoners of his category.
  • No pressure shall be exercised on prisoners to acquire information regarding the situation of their armed forces or their country. Prisoners who refuse to reply may not be exposed to disadvantages of any kind whatsoever.
  • Prisoners of war may be held captive in a town, fortress or other place, and may be required not to go beyond certain fixed limits. They may also be interned in fenced camps; they shall not be confined or imprisoned except as a measure indispensable for safety or health, and only so long as circumstances exist which necessitate such a measure.
  • Belligerents may employ as workmen prisoners of war who are physically fit, other than officers and persons of equivalent statue, according to their rink and their ability. It is forbidden to employ prisoners in the manufacture or transport of arms or ammunitions of any kind, or on the transport of material destined for combatant units.

The 1929 POW convention does not hold a particularly esteemed place in the history of international humanitarian law. Most commentators have viewed it as little more than an addendum to the process 0f legal codification begun eighty years before, and which reached its culmination in the two Hague conferences in 1899 and 1907.

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