ICRC databases on international humanitarian law
Treaties, States Parties and Commentaries
Treaties and Documents
Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Additional Protocols, and their Commentaries
Historical Treaties and Documents
Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949.
. -- MANAGEMENT OF PROPERTY
Internment, it must be insisted, is not a punishment. It would therefore be unjust if, through the restrictions on freedom which it imposes, it involved disastrous consequences for the internee himself and the members of his family. In this respect, the granting of permission to internees to manage their property is of major importance.
This Article, however, must not be interpreted in such a way as to give the internee a privileged position by making him not subject to the war regulations relating to enemy property. Clearly, a person delegated by him could not have greater power than himself and it is for this reason that the text expressly mentions the application of the laws in force.
This reservation apart, the solution adopted is quite liberal, since it goes so far as to authorize in certain circumstances the internees to leave the place of internment. This facility has no equivalent in the Prisoners of War Convention. It underlines the difference between civilian internees and prisoners, since the former to a certain degree are free to take a personal part in the management of their property, whereas the prisoners can take legal action less frequently and in a less direct manner.
It, however, remains a rule that the internee may act only by delegating his powers, since as one delegation to the Geneva Conference declared, "it would not be reasonable to expect that an internee should be enabled to conduct a whole business from his place o internment" (1). In this case again, the Protecting Power will often have its services in demand.
Notes: (1) [(1) p.473] See ' Final Record of the Diplomatic
Conference of Geneva of 1949, ' Vol. II-A, p. 684;