Treaties, States Parties and Commentaries
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Commentary of 1960 

[p.668] This Article provides for direct action by the Protecting Power, the International Committee of the Red Cross or any other body giving assistance to prisoners of war, in order to distribute relief supplies. It thus makes it possible to distribute relief supplies to prisoners of war in all circumstances, that is to say even when for any reason they are not in a camp or are deprived of the services of a prisoners' representative. The method of distribution of collective supplies established under Article 73 and the present Regulations applies essentially to the normal situation of prisoners of war, but it Was desirable to prevent the Detaining Power from using those provisions as a pretext for refusing relief to other prisoners of war. At the same time, it was necessary to enable the authorities distributing relief to resort, if need be, to a means of distribution other than that involving the prisoners' representative. As an example, one may recall the individual and direct distribution, by the roadside, of collective relief to long
convoys of prisoners of war travelling on foot in Germany towards the end of the war.