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War & Law
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War & 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.
Part I - Principles for direct repatriation and accommodation in neutral countries
: Model agreement concerning direct repatriation and accommodation in neutral countries of wounded and sick prisoners of war (see Article 110
A. Direct repatriation
The following shall be repatriated direct:
(1) All prisoners of war suffering from the following disabilities as the result of trauma: loss of limb, paralysis, articular or other disabilities, when this disability is at least the loss of a hand or a foot, or the equivalent of the loss of a hand or a foot.
Without prejudice to a more generous interpretation, the following shall be considered as equivalent to the loss of a hand or a foot:
(a) Loss of a hand or of all the fingers, or of the thumb and forefinger of one hand; loss of a foot, or of all the toes and metatarsals of one foot.
(b) Ankylosis, loss of osseous tissue, cicatricial contracture preventing the functioning of one of the large articulations or of all the digital joints of one hand.
(c) Pseudarthrosis of the long bones.
(d) Deformities due to fracture or other injury which seriously interfere with function and weight-bearing power.
(2) All wounded prisoners of war whose condition has become chronic, to the extent that prognosis appears to exclude recovery -- in spite of treatment -- within one year from the date of the injury, as, for example, in case of:
(a) Projectile in the heart, even if the Mixed Medical Commission should fail, at the
time of their examination, to detect any serious disorders.
(b) Metallic splinter in the brain or the lungs, even if the Mixed Medical
Commission cannot, at the time of examination, detect any local or general
(c) Osteomyelitis, when recovery cannot be foreseen in the course of the year
following the injury, and which seems likely to result in ankylosis of a joint,
or other impairments equivalent to the loss of a hand or a foot.
(d) Perforating and suppurating injury to the large joints.
(e) Injury to the skull, with loss or shifting of bony tissue.
(f) Injury or burning of the face with loss of tissue and functional lesions.
(g) Injury to the spinal cord.
(h) Lesion of the peripheral nerves, the sequelae of which are equivalent to the
loss of a hand or foot, and the cure of which requires more than a year from the
date of injury, for example: injury to the brachial or lumbosacral plexus, the median
or sciatic nerves, likewise combined injury to the radial and cubital nerves or
to the lateral popliteal nerve (N.peroneus communis) and medial popliteal
nerve (N. tibialis); etc. The separate injury of the radial (musculo-spiral),
cubital, lateral or medial popliteal nerves shall not, however, warrant
repatriation except in case of contractures or of serious neurotrophic
(i) Injury to the urinary system, with incapacitating results.
(3) All sick prisoners of war whose condition has become chronic to the extent that prognosis seems to exclude recovery -- in spite of treatment -- within one year from the inception of the disease, as, for example, in case of:
(a) Progressive tuberculosis of any organ which, according to medical prognosis,
cannot be cured, or at least considerably improved, by treatment in a neutral
(b) Exudate pleurisy.
(c) Serious diseases of the respiratory organs of non-tubercular etiology, presumed
incurable, for example: serious pulmonary emphysema, with or without bronchitis;
chronic asthma *; chronic bronchitis * lasting more than one year in captivity;
bronchiectasis *; etc.
(d) Serious chronic affections of the circulatory system, for example: valvular
lesions and myocarditis *, which have shown signs of circulatory failure during
captivity, even though the Mixed Medical Commission cannot detect any such signs at
the time of examination; affections of the pericardium and the vessels (Buerger's
disease, aneurism of the large vessels); etc.
(e) Serious chronic affections of the digestive organs, for example: gastric or
duodenal ulcer; sequelae of gastric operations performed in captivity; chronic
gastritis, enteritis or colitis, having lasted more than one year and seriously
affecting the general condition; cirrhosis of the liver; chronic cholecystopathy *;
(f) Serious chronic affections of the genito-urinary organs, for example:
chronic diseases of the kidney with consequent disorders; nephrectomy because
of a tubercular kidney; chronic pyelitis or chronic cystitis; hydronephrosis or
pyonephrosis; chronic grave gynaecological conditions; normal pregnancy and
obstetrical disorder, where it is impossible to accommodate in a neutral
(g) Serious chronic diseases of the central and peripheral nervous system, for
example: all obvious psychoses and psychoneuroses, such as serious hysteria,
serious captivity psychoneurosis, etc., duly verified by a specialist *; any
epilepsy duly verified by the camp physician *; cerebral arteriosclerosis;
chronic neuritis lasting more than one year; etc.
(h) Serious chronic diseases of the neuro-vegetative system, with considerable
diminution of mental or physical fitness, noticeable loss of weight and general
(i) Blindness of both eyes, or of one eye when the vision of the other is less than 1 in
spite of the use of corrective glasses; diminution of visual acuity in cases where
it is impossible to restore it by correction to an acuity of 1/2 in at least
one eye *; other grave ocular affections, for example: glaucoma, iritis,
choroiditis; trachoma; etc.
(k) Auditive disorders, such as total unilateral deafness, if the other ear does
not discern the ordinary spoken word at a distance of one metre *; etc.
(l) Serious affections of metabolism, for example: diabetes mellitus requiring
insulin treatment; etc.
(m) Serious disorders of the endocrine glands, for example: thyrotoxicosis; hypotyrosis;
Addison's disease; Simmonds' cachexia; tetany; etc.
(n) Grave and chronic disorders of the blood-forming organs.
(o) Serious cases of chronic intoxication, for example: lead poisoning, mercury
poisoning, morphinism, cocainism, alcoholism; gas or radiation poisoning;
(p) Chronic affections of locomotion, with obvious functional disorders, for example:
arthritis deformans; primary and secondary progressive chronic polyarthritis;
rheumatism with serious clinical symptoms; etc.
(q) Serious chronic skin diseases, not amenable to treatment.
(r) Any malignant growth.
(s) Serious chronic infectious diseases, persisting for one year after their
inception, for example: malaria with decided organic impairment, amoebic or
bacillary dysentery with grave disorders; tertiary visceral syphilis resistant to
treatment; leprosy; etc.
(t) Serious avitaminosis or serious inanition.
* The decision of the Mixed Medical Commission shall be based to a great extent on the records kept by camp physicians and surgeons of the same nationality as the prisoners of war, or on an examination by medical specialists of the Detaining Power.
B. Accommodation in neutral countries
The following shall be eligible for accommodation in a neutral country:
(1) All wounded prisoners of war who are not likely to recover in captivity, but who might be cured or whose condition might be considerably improved by accommodation in a neutral country.
(2) Prisoners of war suffering from any form of tuberculosis, of whatever organ, and whose treatment in a neutral country would be likely to lead to recovery or at least to considerable improvement, with the exception of primary tuberculosis cured before captivity.
(3) Prisoners of war suffering from affections requiring treatment of the respiratory, circulatory, digestive, nervous, sensory, genito-urinary, cutaneous, locomotive organs, etc., if such treatment would clearly have better results in a neutral country than in captivity.
(4) Prisoners of war who have undergone a nephrectomy in captivity for a non-tubercular renal affection; cases of osteomyelitis, on the way to recovery or latent; diabetes mellitus not requiring insulin treatment; etc.
(5) Prisoners of war suffering from war or captivity neuroses. Cases of captivity neurosis which are not cured after three months of accommodation in a neutral country, or which after that length of time are not clearly on the way to complete cure, shall be repatriated.
(6) All prisoners of war suffering from chronic intoxication (gases, metals, alkaloids, etc), for whom the prospects of cure in a neutral country are especially favourable.
(7) All women prisoners of war who are pregnant or mothers with infants and small children.
The following cases shall not be eligible for accommodation in a neutral country:
(1) All duly verified chronic psychoses.
(2) All organic or functional nervous affections considered to be incurable.
(3) All contagious diseases during the period in which they are transmissible, with the exception of tuberculosis.
Commentary of 1960
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