ICRC databases on international humanitarian law
Treaties and Documents
1949 Conventions and Additional Protocols, and their Commentaries
Historical Treaties and Documents
Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949.
. -- PRISONERS' ACCOUNTS
The 1929 Convention merely referred, in Article 24
, to the establishment of an account for each prisoner of war into which money could be deposited; the present Article makes detailed provision for the setting up of this account.
The information to be shown in each account is grouped into two categories, the first comprising sums credited to the prisoner and the second those which are debited.
1. ' Sub-paragraph (1). -- Credit '
The amounts credited to the prisoner come under three headings: (1) advances of pay and working pay; (2) sums in the currency of the Detaining Power which were taken from him; (3) sums in other currency taken from him and converted at his request into the currency of the Detaining Power.
[p.323] A special entry must be made for advances of pay and working pay showing on the one hand the total amount due and on the other hand the amount actually paid, These entries must be separate from those concerning other items under sub-paragraphs (1) and (2), so that at any time one may check the way in which the Detaining Power has fulfilled its obligations, and thus avoid the numerous disputes which arose on this subject after the Second World War.
Article 18, paragraph 4
, and Article 59, paragraph 1
, refer to the impounding by the Detaining Power of sums of money in the possession of prisoners of war at the time of capture. If any sums withdrawn subsequently are derived from licit sources (presents, or tips from an employer), they must duly be entered, as indicated in the first sentence ("or derived from any other source").
Sums which were in the possession of the prisoner in another currency may, at his request, be converted into the currency of the Detaining Power in accordance with Article 18, paragraph 2
, and Article 59, paragraph 2
Article 18, paragraph 5
, which states the procedure for withdrawing articles of value, specifies that in such a case the procedure laid down for sums of money impounded shall also apply. If the value of the articles is expressed in terms of the currency of the Detaining Power, the corresponding amount will therefore be entered on the credit side of the account.
On the other hand, there is no express reference to the entering of sums in foreign currency. There is no doubt, however, that this is authorized, since the words "at least" in the first sentence of the paragraph indicate clearly that the three categories mentioned in subparagraph (1) constitute only a minimum requirement.
2. ' Sub-paragraph (2). -- Debit '
This sub-paragraph also refers to three items: sums withdrawn in cash, payments and transfers.
All payments made to the prisoner "in cash, or in any other similar form" must be entered. The term "similar form" denotes vouchers or "camp money" for purchases in the canteen.
Article 63, paragraph 2
, permits prisoners of war to have payments made abroad, subject to the regulations in force and on condition that payment is made by the Detaining Power; the third paragraph of the same Article
provides a special procedure for transferring funds. Transactions of these two kinds must be entered on the debit side of the prisoner's account.
[p.324] If these provisions are respected in full, the statement of account will at all times give a clear picture of the prisoner's financial situation.