Treaties, States Parties and Commentaries
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Commentary of 2020 
Article 114 : Prisoners meeting with accidents
Text of the provision
Prisoners of war who meet with accidents shall, unless the injury is self-inflicted, have the benefit of the provisions of this Convention as regards repatriation or accommodation in a neutral country.
Reservations or declarations
None
Contents

A. Introduction
4384  Section I of Part IV of the Third Convention deals with the direct repatriation and accommodation in neutral countries primarily of wounded and sick prisoners of war. Articles 109 and 110 are not applicable exclusively to prisoners of war who are wounded or sick at the time they fall into the power of the enemy. However, disabilities and injuries that qualify prisoners of war for direct repatriation or for accommodation in a neutral country are generally of a kind sustained during hostilities, such as the loss of a limb or wounds from projectiles or metallic splinters entering the body.
4385  Article 114 explicitly extends the benefit of the provisions regarding direct repatriation and accommodation in a neutral country to those prisoners of war who have fallen ill or been injured as a result of an accident during captivity.[1] Prisoners of war who meet with an accident while interned must be directly repatriated if their resulting condition qualifies as ‘serious’ or, if less serious, potentially be accommodated in a neutral country.
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B. Historical background
4386  During the First World War, States adopted agreements containing rules similar to Article 114.[2] Article 114 reproduces Article 71 of the 1929 Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War with one substantive change. The latter referred only to ‘accidents at work’, whereas Article 114 refers to accidents more generally.
4387  The Drafting Committee at the Diplomatic Conference in 1949 agreed with the delegation of the United States, which proposed deleting the words ‘at work’ and ‘considered that all accidents, irrespective of their nature, should be covered’.[3] The amended draft was adopted unanimously by the Conference without further discussion.[4]
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C. Discussion
4388  Article 114 covers all accidents that result in injury, whether related or unrelated to work. Moreover, despite the use of the word ‘accident’, the scope of Article 114 should be interpreted broadly as to cover also injuries arising from the intentional harming of a prisoner of war by another prisoner or by a guard.
4389  The purpose of this provision is to put prisoners of war injured in an accident or harmed by another person during captivity on an equal footing with those who sustain their injuries during hostilities. As in the latter case, the military justification for interning prisoners of war to prevent them from participating further in hostilities no longer applies for those seriously injured after falling into the power of the adversary.[5]
4390  Article 114 excludes prisoners of war who wilfully inflict injuries on their own person. This includes prisoners who ask someone else to harm them. The self-inflicted nature of an injury must be substantiated by the facts of the specific case. It goes without saying that such prisoners must nevertheless receive all the care and attention that their condition requires.[6] In stating that they will not ‘have the benefit of the provisions of this Convention’, Article 114 merely precludes their examination by a mixed medical commission with a view to their repatriation or accommodation in a neutral country.[7] The Detaining Power is not under an obligation to repatriate them or to seek accommodation in a neutral country. In this way, prisoners of war will have no incentive to resort to wilful self-harm for that purpose. Underlying psychiatric conditions that may have caused the prisoner to injure themselves may, however, make them eligible for direct repatriation or accommodation in a neutral country if the disorder falls under one of the categories listed in Article 110.
4391  During the Conference of Government Experts in 1947, the ICRC submitted that it should be compulsory for the Detaining Power to give mixed medical commissions all useful information regarding the circumstances of an accident.[8] Although Articles 112 and 113 and Annex II, which regulate the mixed medical commissions, do not explicitly include this as an obligation, the Model Agreement specifies that the decision of the mixed medical commission concerning certain conditions ‘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’.[9] This implies that the Detaining Power should make those records containing details of the circumstances of an accident available to the mixed medical commission. The transmission of a prisoner’s medical record is, however, subject to the prisoner’s consent. Where a prisoner is unable to give such consent, for example because they are unconscious, the Detaining Power and the commission must act in the best interest of the prisoner.
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Select bibliography
Maia, Catherine, Kolb, Robert and Scalia, Damien, La Protection des Prisonniers de Guerre en Droit International Humanitaire, Bruylant, Brussels, 2015, pp. 493–494.
Vance, Jonathan F. (ed.), Encyclopedia of Prisoners of War and Internment, 2nd edition, Grey House Publishing, Millerton, New York, 2006, pp. 266–267.

1 - The Detaining Power must also repatriate or seek accommodation in a neutral country for prisoners of war who become sick after they have fallen into its power, pursuant to Article 109, Article 110 and the Model Agreement concerning Direct Repatriation and Accommodation in Neutral Countries of Wounded and Sick Prisoners of War in Annex I to the Convention.
2 - See e.g. Agreement between France and Germany concerning Prisoners of War (1918), Article 12; Agreement between Austria-Hungary and Italy concerning Prisoners of War and Civilians (1918), Article 3; and Agreement between the United States of America and Germany concerning Prisoners of War, Sanitary Personnel and Civilians (1918), Article 7.
3 - Final Record of the Diplomatic Conference of Geneva of 1949, Vol. II-A, pp. 293 and 365.
4 - Ibid. p. 374.
5 - Of course, while awaiting repatriation or accommodation in a neutral country, such prisoners should continue receiving all the medical care they need. See Article 30 generally and Article 54(2) more specifically for prisoners of war who suffer an accident while working.
6 - See Articles 30 and 54(2).
7 - Pictet (ed.), Commentary on the Third Geneva Convention, ICRC, 1960, p. 534.
8 - Report of the Conference of Government Experts of 1947, p. 241.
9 - Annex I, Part I.A, note.