Page images

enemy Government and not of the individuals or of the corps who made them prisoners.

The following rules with regard to prisoners of war were adopted by the Conference of Brussels. 1°. Prisoners of war should be treated with humanity.

Every act of insubordination authorizes the necessary measures of severity to be taken with regard to them.

All their personal effects, except their arms, are considered to be their own property.

2°. Prisoners of war are liable to internment in a town, fortress, camp, or in any locality whatever, under an obligation not to go beyond certain fixed limits; but they may not be placed in confinement unless absolutely necessary as a measure of security.

3°. Prisoners of war may be employed on certain public works which have no immediate connection with the operations on the theatre of war, provided the employment be not excessive, nor humiliating to their military rank, if they belong to the army, or to their official or social position, if they do not belong to it.

They may also, subject to such regulations as may be drawn up by the military authorities, undertake private work.

The pay they receive will go towards ameliorating their position, or will be put to their credit at the time of their release. In this case the cost of their maintenance may be deducted from their pay.

4°. Prisoners of war cannot be compelled in any way to take any part whatever in carrying on the operations of the war.

5°. The Government in whose power are the prisoners of war, undertakes to provide for their maintenance.

The conditions of such maintenance may be settled by a mutual understanding between the belligerents.

In default of such an understanding, and as a general principle, prisoners of war shall be treated, as regards food and clothing, on the same footing as the troops of the Government who made them prisoners.

6°. Prisoners of war are subject to the laws and regulations in force in the army in whose power they are.

Arms may be used, after summoning, against a prisoner attempting to escape. If retaken, he is subject to summary punishment (peines disciplinaires) or to a stricter surveillance.

If, after having escaped, he is again made prisoner, he is not liable to any punishment for his previous escape.

7°. Every prisoner is bound to declare, if interrogated on the point, his true names and rank; and in the case of his infringing this rule, he will incur a restriction of the advantages granted to the prisoners of the class to which he belongs.

8°. The exchange of prisoners of war is regulated by mutual agreement between the bellige


9°. Prisoners of war may be released on parole, if the laws of their country allow of it; and in such a case they are bound on their personal honour to fulfil scrupulously, as regards their own Government as well as that which made them prisoners, the engagements they have undertaken.

In the same case their own Government should neither demand nor accept from them any service contrary to their parole.

10°. A prisoner of war cannot be forced to accept release on parole, nor is the enemy Gov



ernment obliged to comply with the request of a prisoner claiming to be released on parole.

11°. Every prisoner of war liberated on parole, and retaken carrying arms against the Government to which he had pledged his honour, may be deprived of the rights accorded to prisoners of war and may be brought before the tribunals.

12°. Persons in the vicinity of armies, but who do not directly form part of them, such as correspondents, newspapers-reporters, vivandiers, contractors, &c., may also be made prisoners of war.

These persons should, however, be furnished with a permit, issued by a competent authority as well as with a certificate of indentity.

10° Belligerent troops on Neutral territory.

interned, and wounded treated

§ 190. The neutral State receiving in its terri- Belligerents tory troops belonging to the belligerents' armies, in und will intern them, so far as it may be possible, the Geneva away from the theatre of war.

They may be kept in camps, or even confined in fortresses or in places appropriated to this purpose.

It will decide whether the officers may be released on giving their parole not to quit the neutral territory without authority.

In default of a special agreement, the neutral State which receives the belligerent troops will furnish the interned with provisions, clothing, and such aid as humanity demands.

The expenses incurred by the internment will be made good at the conclusion of peace.

The neutral State may authorize the transport across its territory of the wounded and sick belonging to the belligerent armies, provided that the trains which convey them do not carry either the personnel or materiel of war.


Convention applicable.

Inviolability of

private non

In this case the neutral State is bound to take the measures necessary for the safety and control of the operation.

The Convention of Geneva (see chapt. XXXIX) is applicable to the sick and wounded interned on neutral territory.

11°. The Rights of Belligerents with respect to Private Individuals and their


191. The population of an occupied territory combatants, and cannot be compelled to take part in military perty Pillage operations against their own country.

of private pro


Persons to be regarded as spies and punishable as such.

The population of occupied territories cannot be compelled to swear allegiance to the enemy's


The honour and rights of the family, the life and property of individuals, as well as their religious convictions and the exercise of their religion, should be respected.

Private property cannot be confiscated.
Pillage is expressly forbidden. *

With regard to the private property on the open sea, we refer the reader to chapter XXXII.

12°. Spies.

§ 192. No one shall be considered as a spy, but those who, acting secretly or under false pretences, collect or try to collect information in districts occupied by the enemy, with the intention of communicating it to the opposing force.

A spy, if taken in the act, shall be tried and treated according to the laws in force in the army which captures him.

If a spy, who rejoins the army to which he belongs, is subsequently captured by the enemy,

* Art. 36-39 of the Brussel Conference,



he is to be treated as a prisoner of war, and incurs no responsibility for his previous acts.

Military men (les militaires) who have penetrated within the zone of operations of the enemy's army, with the intention of collecting information, are not considered as spies, if it has been possible to recognize their military character. In like manner, military men (and also nonmilitary persons carrying out their mission openly), charged with the transmission of despatches either to their own army or to that of the enemy shall not be considered as spies if captured by the


To this class belong also, if captured, individuals sent in balloons to carry despatches, and generally to keep up communications between the different parts of an army or of a territory.


13°. Non-hostile relations between belligerents.

munication be

§ 193. An individual authorized by one of the Modes of combelligerents to confer with the other, on present-tween belligerents. ing himself with a white flag, accompanied by a trumpeter (bugler or drummer), or also by a flagbearer, shall be recognized as the bearer of a flag of truce. He, as well as the trumpeter (bugler or drummer), and the flag-bearer, who accompany him, shall have the right of inviolability.

The commander to whom a bearer of a flag of truce is dispatched, is not obliged to receive him under all circumstances and conditions.

It is lawful for him to take all measures necessary for preventing the bearer of the flag of truce taking advantage of his stay within the radius of the enemy's position, to the prejudice of the latter; and if the bearer of the flag of truce is found guilty of such a breach of confidence, he has the right to detain him temporarily.

* Art. 19-22 of the Brussel Conference.

« PreviousContinue »