Treaties, States Parties and Commentaries
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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.
. -- SUPPLEMENTARY PAY
[p.311] The advance of pay granted to other ranks amounts to eight Swiss francs per month, that is to say less than twenty-seven centimes per day. This is a very small sum indeed, although, it is true, it refers only to men who are required to work and whose daily income is generally increased to twice this amount by working pay. In accordance with Article 62, paragraph 1
, the minimum working pay is one-fourth of one Swiss franc for a full working day. The amounts fixed for other categories of prisoners of war who are not required to work are also very modest: forty centimes per day for sergeants, one franc seventy centimes for officers below the rank of major, two francs for majors, lieutenant-colonels or colonels, and two francs fifty for general officers.
This advance represents only one-tenth of the normal pay in most armed forces, and perhaps even less if one takes into account the facilities and benefits in kind which are granted by some Powers.
The purpose of the present Article is to facilitate distribution of any supplementary pay which might be necessary (1).
1. ' First sentence. -- Conditions for forwarding '
The Power which forwards the money is primarily responsible for implementing the first two conditions (identical amounts, general distribution), since the Convention does not state that it is to be addressed to the Detaining Power, but directly to the prisoners ("may forward to them..."). In practice, it is unlikely that the Power on which prisoners depend would effect an individual transfer of funds for each prisoner in the category concerned who is interned on the territory of a given Power. A global transfer would probably be made, accompanied by all appropriate instructions for distribution. The instructions must, however, meet these two conditions and the Detaining Power must also respect them.
[p.312] According to the letter of the text, these sums are not placed on account but are "payable", that is to say they must be placed at the disposal of the prisoners concerned, in the same way as the advance of pay provided under Article 60
. A reservation must, however, be made for cases where the total of the advance of pay, granted pursuant to Article 60
, paragraph 1, and the supplementary pay, forwarded to prisoners of war pursuant to the present Article, exceeds the maximum amount which prisoners may have in their possession, under Article 58, paragraph 1
. In such cases, the Detaining Power must be authorized to delay the supplementary payment, in order that the provisions of Article 58
may be respected.
The sums to be paid to each prisoner must be recorded in his credit account, in accordance with Article 64
. This Article requires the recording, not only of sums placed to the credit of prisoners of war, but also of payments which they receive directly.
2. ' Second sentence. -- Obligations of the Detaining Power '
This provision resembles that contained in Article 72, paragraph 2
, stating that relief shipments may in no way free the Detaining Power from the obligations imposed on it by virtue of the present Convention. Although the latter provision refers to Articles 15
(free maintenance), 25
(food), and 27
(clothing), that contained in the present paragraph is related more closely to Article 60, which requires the granting of the advance of pay in all circumstances and independently of any supplementary amount which may be forwarded by the Power on which the prisoners depend (2).
* (1) [(1) p.311] In the draft presented to the Stockholm
Conference, this provision was contained in a paragraph
inserted at the end of the present Article 60 (See
' XVIIth International Red Cross Conference, Draft Revised
or New Conventions for the Protection of War Victims, ' p.
88); the provision was based on a recommendation by the
Conference of Government Experts (see ' Report on the Work
of the Conference of Government Experts, ' p. 158);
several amendment were proposed at the 1949 Diplomatic
Conference, in particular by the United Kingdom and New
Zealand (see ' Final Record of the Diplomatic Conference
of Geneva of 1949, ' Vol. II-A, p. 384; Annex III, Nos.
119 and 120). The final text was the result of a
compromise between the original version and the amendments
proposed; it was drawn up as a separate Article in order
to avoid any confusion between the normal pay granted by
the Detaining Power and any supplementary amount which
might be provided by the Power on which prisoners depend
(see ' Final Record of the Diplomatic Conference of Geneva
of 1949, ' Vol. II-A, p. 537);
(2) [(1) p.312] See the commentary on Article 72, paragraph 2;