Crimes and Punishment of Prisoners of War



“Prisoners of war shall be subject to the laws, regulations and orders in force in the armed forces of the Detaining Power. Any act of insubordination shall render them liable to the measures prescribed by such laws, regulations, and orders, except as otherwise provided in this Chapter.”1 Thus began the section of the Geneva Convention which fundamentally defined reality for prisoners of war: they were captives under the legal authority of the Detaining Power. While the Geneva Convention cemented the authority of the Detaining Power, it also served notice, with the second part of the article, that the Detaining Power’s control over the prisoners of war was not absolute, and would be subject to some restrictions. But before the Convention distinguished in detail between two forms of rules to which the prisoners of war were subject, disciplinary and judicial, it laid out some main points regarding the general application of justice toward prisoners of war.


Geneva Convention German Woman German Worker Security Police Judicial Proceeding 
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  1. 14.
    Alfons Waltzog, Recht der Landeskriegsfuhrung (Berlin: Verlag Franz Vahlen, 1942), pp. 158–9.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Vasilis Vourkoutiotis 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OttawaCanada

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