Art 1. The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure
respect for the present Convention in all circumstances.
Art 2. In addition to the
provisions which shall be implemented in peace time, the present Convention
shall apply to all cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict
which may arise between two or more of the High Contracting Parties,
even if the state of war is not recognized by one of them.
The Convention shall also apply to all cases of partial or total
occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party, even if the said
occupation meets with no armed resistance.
Although one of the Powers in conflict may not be a party to the present
Convention, the Powers who are parties thereto shall remain bound by it in
their mutual relations. They shall furthermore be bound by the Convention in
relation to the said Power, if the latter accepts and applies the provisions
Art 3. In the case of armed
conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one
of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound
to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:
(1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including
members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed
hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall
in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse
distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or
wealth, or any other similar criteria. To this end the following acts
are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever
with respect to the above-mentioned persons:
(a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds,
mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
(b) taking of hostages;
(c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and
(d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions
without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court
affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as
indispensable by civilized peoples.
(2) The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.
An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of
the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict.
The Parties to the conflict should further endeavour to bring into force,
by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the
The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the legal
status of the Parties to the conflict.
Art 4. A. Prisoners of
war, in the sense of the present Convention, are persons
belonging to one of the following categories, who have fallen into the power
of the enemy:
(1) Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict, as well
as members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed
(2) Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps,
including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party
to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if
this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer
corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the
(a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his
(b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign
recognizable at a distance;
(c) that of carrying arms openly;
that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and
customs of war.
(3) Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a
government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining Power.
(4) Persons who accompany the armed forces without actually being
members thereof, such as civilian members of military aircraft crews,
war correspondents, supply contractors, members of labour units or of
services responsible for the welfare of the armed forces, provided that
they have received authorization, from the armed forces which they
accompany, who shall provide them for that purpose with an identity card
similar to the annexed model.
(5) Members of crews, including masters, pilots and apprentices, of
the merchant marine and the crews of civil aircraft of the Parties to
the conflict, who do not benefit by more favourable treatment under any
other provisions of international law.
(6) Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of
the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces,
without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units,
provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.
B. The following shall likewise be treated as prisoners of war under
the present Convention:
(1) Persons belonging, or having belonged, to the armed forces of the
occupied country, if the occupying Power considers it necessary by
reason of such allegiance to intern them, even though it has originally
liberated them while hostilities were going on outside the territory it
occupies, in particular where such persons have made an unsuccessful
attempt to rejoin the armed forces to which they belong and which are
engaged in combat, or where they fail to comply with a summons made to
them with a view to internment.
(2) The persons belonging to one of the categories enumerated in the
present Article, who have been received by neutral or non-belligerent
Powers on their territory and whom these Powers are required to intern
under international law, without prejudice to any more favourable
treatment which these Powers may choose to give and with the exception
of Articles 8, 10, 15, 30, fifth paragraph, 58-67, 92, 126 and, where
diplomatic relations exist between the Parties to the conflict and the
neutral or non-belligerent Power concerned, those Articles concerning
the Protecting Power. Where such diplomatic relations exist, the Parties
to a conflict on whom these persons depend shall be allowed to perform
towards them the functions of a Protecting Power as provided in the
present Convention, without prejudice to the functions which these
Parties normally exercise in conformity with diplomatic and consular
usage and treaties.
C. This Article shall in no way affect the status of medical personnel
and chaplains as provided for in Article 33 of the present Convention.
Art 5. The present Convention shall apply to the persons referred to in
Article 4 from the time they fall into the power of the enemy and until
their final release and repatriation.
Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed a
belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy, belong to any
of the categories enumerated in Article 4, such persons shall enjoy the
protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has
been determined by a competent tribunal.
Art 6. In addition to the agreements expressly provided for in Articles
10, 23, 28, 33, 60, 65, 66, 67, 72, 73, 75, 109, 110, 118, 119, 122 and 132,
the High Contracting Parties may conclude other special agreements for all
matters concerning which they may deem it suitable to make separate
provision. No special agreement shall adversely affect the situation of
prisoners of war, as defined by the present Convention, nor restrict the
rights which it confers upon them.
Prisoners of war shall continue to have the benefit of such agreements as
long as the Convention is applicable to them, except where express
provisions to the contrary are contained in the aforesaid or in subsequent
agreements, or where more favourable measures have been taken with regard to
them by one or other of the Parties to the conflict.
Art 7. Prisoners of war may in no circumstances renounce in part or in
entirety the rights secured to them by the present Convention, and by the
special agreements referred to in the foregoing Article, if such there be.
Art 8. The present Convention shall be applied with the cooperation and
under the scrutiny of the Protecting Powers whose duty it is to safeguard
the interests of the Parties to the conflict. For this purpose, the
Protecting Powers may appoint, apart from their diplomatic or consular
staff, delegates from amongst their own nationals or the nationals of other
neutral Powers. The said delegates shall be subject to the approval of the
Power with which they are to carry out their duties.
The Parties to the conflict shall facilitate to the greatest extent
possible the task of the representatives or delegates of the Protecting
The representatives or delegates of the Protecting Powers shall not in
any case exceed their mission under the present Convention. They shall, in
particular, take account of the imperative necessities of security of the
State wherein they carry out their duties.
Art 9. The provisions of the present Convention constitute no obstacle to
the humanitarian activities which the International Committee of the Red
Cross or any other impartial humanitarian organization may, subject to the
consent of the Parties to the conflict concerned, undertake for the
protection of prisoners of war and for their relief.
Art 10. The High Contracting Parties may at any time agree to entrust to
an organization which offers all guarantees of impartiality and efficacy the
duties incumbent on the Protecting Powers by virtue of the present
When prisoners of war do not benefit or cease to benefit, no matter for
what reason, by the activities of a Protecting Power or of an organization
provided for in the first paragraph above, the Detaining Power shall request
a neutral State, or such an organization, to undertake the functions
performed under the present Convention by a Protecting Power designated by
the Parties to a conflict.
If protection cannot be arranged accordingly, the Detaining Power shall
request or shall accept, subject to the provisions of this Article, the
offer of the services of a humanitarian organization, such as the
International Committee of the Red Cross to assume the humanitarian
functions performed by Protecting Powers under the present Convention.
Any neutral Power or any organization invited by the Power concerned or
offering itself for these purposes, shall be required to act with a sense of
responsibility towards the Party to the conflict on which persons protected
by the present Convention depend, and shall be required to furnish
sufficient assurances that it is in a position to undertake the appropriate
functions and to discharge them impartially.
No derogation from the preceding provisions shall be made by special
agreements between Powers one of which is restricted, even temporarily, in
its freedom to negotiate with the other Power or its allies by reason of
military events, more particularly where the whole, or a substantial part,
of the territory of the said Power is occupied.
Whenever in the present Convention mention is made of a Protecting Power,
such mention applies to substitute organizations in the sense of the present
Art 11. In cases where they deem it advisable in the interest of
protected persons, particularly in cases of disagreement between the Parties
to the conflict as to the application or interpretation of the provisions of
the present Convention, the Protecting Powers shall lend their good offices
with a view to settling the disagreement.
For this purpose, each of the Protecting Powers may, either at the
invitation of one Party or on its own initiative, propose to the Parties to
the conflict a meeting of their representatives, and in particular of the
authorities responsible for prisoners of war, possibly on neutral territory
suitably chosen. The Parties to the conflict shall be bound to give effect
to the proposals made to them for this purpose. The Protecting Powers may,
if necessary, propose for approval by the Parties to the conflict a person
belonging to a neutral Power, or delegated by the International Committee of
the Red Cross, who shall be invited to take part in such a meeting.