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 (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949.
. -- MANAGEMENT OF PRISONERS' ACCOUNTS
PARAGRAPH 1. -- COUNTERSIGNING
The countersignature which the present paragraph requires will constitute proof of validity of the entries made. It should, however, be pointed out that the account is not the only documentary proof relating to sums impounded from prisoners of war: in accordance with Article 18, paragraph 4
, prisoners of war are given a receipt for the sums of money which they hand over. As there is, however, no provision stating that any subsequent withdrawals must be recorded on the receipt, the latter can serve as proof only of the initial deposit (1).
PARAGRAPH 2. -- CONSULTATION AND INSPECTION
Copies of accounts will constitute valid proof only if they are certified in the same way as specified for the account itself.
[p.325] The Protecting Power will first check that the account is kept carefully up to date, in accordance with the requirements of Article 64
. At the same time, it will be able to check payment of advances of pay and working pay.
PARAGRAPH 3. -- FORWARDING OF ACCOUNTS IN CASE
OF TRANSFER OF PRISONERS OF WAR
Chapter VIII, Article 46
, contains provisions relating to the transfer of prisoners of war from one place of internment to another in the country of detention.
In this case, the Detaining Power must forward the personal accounts of the prisoners concerned. This requirement corresponds to the other rules in the present chapter which specify, inter alia, that the prisoner may, in certain conditions, draw on the credit balance of his account (Article 63
) and may consult his account. If the account contains only sums in the currency of the Detaining Power, as referred to in Article 64
, the transfer will be effected by a written notification or by forwarding the relevant records.
If, on the other hand, the account contains sums in another currency, such sums must also be transferred.
The question is slightly more complicated when prisoners of war are transferred to another Detaining Power. In accordance with Article 12, paragraph 2
, they may only be transferred to a Power which shows its "willingness and ability" to apply the Convention. This Power therefore also undertakes the responsibility of keeping prisoners' accounts. In such a case, however, the Convention makes no provision for the transfer of funds in the currency of the Detaining Power, and this is moreover understandable because of exchange restrictions, to which reference has already been made. It is therefore specified that the prisoners concerned must be given certificates for such monies standing to their credit.
PARAGRAPH 4. -- NOTIFICATION OF AMOUNT OF ACCOUNTS
There are several reasons for including this paragraph, which provides that the Parties concerned may notify to each other, during the conflict, the amount of the accounts of the prisoners of war in their hands.
[p.326] In the first place, it enables each Power to see how the adverse Party is fulfilling its obligations. On the basis of the information received, it may propose concluding a special agreement with the adverse Party in order to make any modifications that may seem advisable to the amount of advances of pay (Article 60, paragraph 2
). In the light of circumstances, it may be necessary to conclude a series of agreements during the hostilities.
It will be to the advantage of the Power on which prisoners depend to receive statements of account for any prisoners who die or are repatriated before the end of the hostilities, and the amount of these accounts must obviously be notified after the end of the conflict, so that the Governments can make settlement (2).
* (1) [(1) p.324] It would be advisable to record withdrawals on
the back of the receipt, for checking purposes;
(2) [(1) p.326] See ' Report on the Work of the Conference of
Government Experts, ' p. 163;