March 24, 2003
Excerpts from the Geneva Conventions regarding the treatment of prisoners of war. The conventions were drawn up in 1864 to deal with treatment of wounded on the battlefield. Conventions in 1949 set out standards for the treatment of the wounded and POWs and protection of civilians:
Article 13: Prisoners of war must at all times be humanely treated. Any unlawful act or omission by the detaining power causing death or seriously endangering the health of a prisoner of war in its custody is prohibited, and will be regarded as a serious breach of the present convention. In particular, no prisoner of war may be subjected to physical mutilation or to medical or scientific experiments of any kind which are not justified by the medical, dental or hospital treatment of the prisoner concerned and carried out in his interest. Likewise, prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity. Measures of reprisal against prisoners of war are prohibited.
Article 14: Prisoners of war are entitled in all circumstances to respect for their persons and their honor. Women shall be treated with all the regard due to their sex and shall in all cases benefit by treatment as favorable as that granted to men. Prisoners of war shall retain the full civil capacity which they enjoyed at the time of their capture. The detaining power may not restrict the exercise, either within or without its own territory, of the rights such capacity confers except in so far as the captivity requires.