Treaties, States Parties and Commentaries
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Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Additional Protocols, and their Commentaries
Historical Treaties and Documents
Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949.
[p.502] ARTICLE 128
. -- METHOD
PARAGRAPH 1. -- NOTICE
It would be inhumane to transfer internees without previous notice so that they had no time either to collect their luggage or to inform their usual correspondents of their change of address. The 1929 Convention therefore contained a provision (Article 26
) that prisoners of war to be transferred would be advised officially and in advance of their new destination. A similar clause was adopted in behalf of internees with new details added concerning the time limit for previous notification. The Rapporteur on this paragraph explained, however, that the second sentence of this paragraph should be interpreted as meaning "despatch a notification to..." and not as meaning that the advance notice must be sufficient for the family to receive such notification before transfer begins (1).
Since the indication of the place of detention might raise objections from the Detaining Power for reasons of military security, the authors of the Convention gave up the idea and merely mentioned "the postal address" of the detainees which, for the forwarding of correspondence, has the same effect as the previous wording without its disadvantages.
[p.503] PARAGRAPHS 2 AND 3. -- ACCOMPANIED LUGGAGE.
MAIL AND PARCELS TO BE FORWARDED WITHOUT DELAY
These two paragraphs are complementary. It is quite understandable that it may be impossible to send all their luggage with the internees themselves at one time. The essential is that all arrangements should be made to have the luggage forwarded and this is the subject of paragraph 4. At least, the internees have the benefit of an important guarantee in that it is stated that they will be entitled in any case to have twenty-five kilograms of luggage taken with them. This means that they will never be deprived of the toilet requisites, garments, blankets or articles of common use essential in daily life.
PARAGRAPH 4. -- SUBSEQUENT FORWARDING OF LUGGAGE
The internees' community property is the responsibility of the Internee Committee. It consists of foodstuffs, medicaments, blankets, handicraft equipment, books and sports requisites, which may form part of the collective relief mentioned in Article 109
. There should also be included the credit balance of the welfare fund made up of canteen profits, as stated in Article 87
. It is for the Internee Committee, which has a right to supervise the management of this fund, to make all the necessary arrangements to transfer the balance. It will act in the same way with regard to the forwarding of community property and any luggage belonging to the internees which may possibly remain.
Notes: (1) [(1) p.502] See ' Final Record of the Diplomatic
Conference of Geneva of 1949, ' Vol. II-A, p. 844;