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Commentary - Art. 88. Part III : Status and treatment of protected persons #Section IV : Regulations for the treatment of internees #Chapter II : Places of internment


    During the Second World War, the International Committee of the Red Cross had occasion to express the opinion that "the employment of prisoners of war on non-combatant anti-aircraft defence was not a contravention of security guarantees, if such employment was restricted to the defence of the prisoners' own quarters" (1). This opinion was endorsed by the Diplomatic Conference and gave rise to this paragraph and the corresponding paragraph of the Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War (Article 23, paragraph 2 ).
    It should be noted that civilian internees, like prisoners of war, must also be given the benefit of any protective measures taken in favour of the population.
    In rural districts, where in general there are no permanent shelters and the inhabitants can only flee from their houses during the bombing, the protection of internees and prisoners of war may even seem superior to that of the local population. The advantage thus given to them is designed to compensate for their inability to seek safety in flight.
    It should be noted that the beginning of this paragraph is so worded as not to force States which consider themselves out of reach of enemy action to provide shelters against air raids (2).


    This provision arises from the general obligation to safeguard internees under the control of the Detaining Power.
    It becomes of extreme importance when the buildings used for internment are huts or old buildings, particularly if they are made of timber and are not fire-proof.

    Notes: (1) [(1) p.391] See ' Report of the International Committee of
    the Red Cross on its activities during the Second World
    War ', Vol. I, p. 313;

    (2) [(2) p.391] See ' Final Record of the Diplomatic
    Conference of Geneva of 1949 ', Vol. II-A, p. 837;