ICRC databases on international humanitarian law
  • Print page
Commentary - Art. 62. Part III : Status and treatment of protected persons #Section III : Occupied territories
    ARTICLE 62. -- INDIVIDUAL RELIEF (1)


    [p.329] Unlike the three previous Articles which refer to relief supplies for a group of protected persons (collective consignments), Article 62 deals with consignments addressed to individuals (individual consignments).
    During the Second World War this class of relief was on a much smaller scale than collective relief, as the occupation authorities discouraged the sending of parcels addressed to persons by name. This restrictive tendency is explained by the fact that it was harder to supervise the distribution and verify the use made of individual consignments. Apart from these practical considerations there was one other of a social character of some although not decisive importance: namely that collective schemes allow the articles to be distributed according to the needs of the recipients, whereas individual parcels are sent with no regard to the extent of the distress or to the family responsibilities of the recipient, who merely has the good fortune to have relations abroad (2).
    As experience had shown that the system of individual parcels was favoured by the public, the Diplomatic Conference of 1949, feeling that it was essential to utilize all available sources of relief, decided unanimously to make general provision for individual relief consignments.
    Thus the fact that an Occupying Power agrees to the relief schemes referred to in Article 59 does not mean that it need not allow into its territory relief consignments addressed to individuals, but their acceptance is subject to one reservation: the occupation authorities have the right to refuse to receive individual relief consignments if imperative reasons of security so demand. A similar reservation in regard to collective relief was put forward during the preparatory work on Article 59 , but was not adopted. The reservation was kept in Article 62 in order that efficient verification should not be rendered impossible by the arrival of huge quantities of individual parcels. Under such circumstances the Occupying Power could avoid importing articles detrimental to its security by limiting or temporarily forbidding the entry of individual relief supplies.
    It must be emphasized, however, that the Occupying Power will not be able to make unjustified use of this reservation. Exceptions can only be based on important reasons of security and can only continue while the circumstances still exist which led to their introduction.
    Article 62 should be compared with Articles 38 (protected persons within the territory of a Party to the conflict) and 110 (civilian internees).


    Notes: (1) [(2) p.328] For the discussions leading up to the adoption
    of Article 62, see ' Final Record, ' Vol. I, p. 122; Vol.
    II-A, pp. 752-753, 832; Vol. II-B, p. 423;

    (2) [(1) p.329] See ' Report of the Joint Relief Commission, '
    pp. 218-223; and ' Report of the International Committee
    of the Red Cross on its activities during the Second World
    War, ' Vol. III, pp. 366-367;