Treaties, States Parties and Commentaries
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Commentary of 2020 
Article 34 : Religious duties
Text of the provision*
(1) Prisoners of war shall enjoy complete latitude in the exercise of their religious duties, including attendance at the service of their faith, on condition that they comply with the disciplinary routine prescribed by the military authorities.
(2) Adequate premises shall be provided where religious services may be held.
* Paragraph numbers have been added for ease of reference.
Reservations or declarations
None
Contents

A. Introduction
2359  Article 34 grants prisoners of war the latitude to practise their religion regardless of their faith. This is especially important since persons deprived of their liberty may seek strength in their religious practice to cope with their situation and the hardships that come with it.[1] For this reason, the Detaining Power also has an interest in enabling prisoners of war to freely perform their religious duties and in providing adequate premises for this purpose. The humanitarian spirit of this provision therefore accords with the interests of the Detaining Power.
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B. Historical background
2360  The obligation to allow prisoners of war to practise their religion already featured in the 1899 and 1907 Hague Regulations. These instruments provided that prisoners of war must enjoy ‘every latitude’ or ‘complete liberty’ in the exercise of their religion as long as they complied with the regulations for ‘order and police’ issued by the military authorities.[2] With certain modifications, the essence of these provisions was further developed in the 1929 Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War.[3]
2361  In 1947, at the initiative of the ICRC, a consultative commission was created to assess treaty provisions relative to the religious and intellectual needs of prisoners of war and civilian internees.[4] The commission established a forum where relief societies that had provided assistance to prisoners of war and civilian internees during the Second World War could express their views on the issues at hand and submit proposals to improve the existing provisions. The commission helped draft a text, which served as a basis for discussion at the Diplomatic Conference in 1949. At the Conference, the delegation of the Holy See undertook to redraft the text and submitted an amendment, which represented the views of the participating religious organizations.[5] While some delegations expressed immediate approval of the new text, others proposed further additions or changes of wording.[6] Besides these, the substance of the current Article 34 did not cause any major controversies and was adopted without opposition.[7] Article 34 should be read alongside other provisions of the present Convention, which complement it.[8]
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C. Paragraph 1: Freedom to practise one’s religion
1. Complete latitude to exercise religious duties
2362  Article 34(1) affirms the right of prisoners of war to practise their religion, including by attending religious services of their faith.[9] Although the wording in English refers to ‘the exercise of their religious duties’, the equally authentic French version (‘l’exercice de leur religion’) makes clear that this provision refers to practising religion in general. By the same token, prisoners are free not to practise a religion, and may not be forced to do so.[10]
2363  The provision gives ‘attendance at the service of their faith’ as an example of the practice of religion. It thus recognizes that the freedom to practise one’s religion is not limited to attendance at religious services but may include a range of other rituals and activities, depending on the specificities of each religion. At the 1949 Diplomatic Conference, the delegate of the Netherlands proposed an amendment to draft article 30 (present Article 34), requiring the Detaining Power to permit prisoners of war to care for their bodies according to the requirements of their religion and to exercise their religious customs without hindrance (e.g. wear a head covering). The amendment was rejected because it was understood that these rights were already covered by the existing text.[11] The provision was considered broad enough to encompass specific aspects of the religious life of prisoners of war and that there was no need to expand it further with detailed regulations.
2364  The freedom to practise one’s religion extends to ritual and ceremonial acts giving direct expression to belief, as well as various practices and customs integral to such acts. These acts may include: organizing or building places of worship; access to spiritual assistance; use of ritual formulas and of objects necessary to satisfy religious needs; display of symbols; observance of holidays and days of rest; dietary regulations; wearing of distinctive clothing or head coverings; access to adequate premises for the exercise of religion; and burial or last rites in accordance with religious customs.[12] To broaden access to religious services, prisoners of war may also be allowed to take part in online/offline services or seek parole to attend services outside the camp, in situations where the reasonable security concerns of the Detaining Power can be appropriately addressed.[13]
2365  The Detaining Power must take into account religious practices in many aspects of camp life, including:
– When setting up places of detention and when designing living conditions, in particular sanitary facilities.[14] For instance, ‘the lack for at least part of the time of adequate facilities for washing which also prevented prisoners from practising their religion’ has been held to be a ‘serious breach’ of the Convention;[15]
– In relation to food. Meals must be prepared with respect for prisoners’ religious precepts and taboos, and they may not be served religiously forbidden foods.[16] Forcing prisoners to eat food prohibited by their religion may amount to an outrage upon personal dignity.[17] As an example of good practice, in the 1971 India-Pakistan conflict special food was provided during festivals of various communities;[18]
– In relation to the organization and administration of the camp, including work schedules, for example to allow for prayer time, fasting or specific ceremonies;[19]
– In relation to search and medical procedures;
– In relation to prisoners serving a judicial sentence.[20]
2366  Guards, interrogators, medical personnel and any other staff interacting directly with prisoners should be properly trained so that they are aware of acts that are perceived as offensive in certain cultures or religions and that they do not commit those acts unintentionally while performing their duties.[21] Various armed forces draw on the expertise of cultural advisers to gain a better understanding of the human and cultural environments in which they operate. Such advisers should be able to provide guidance on the customs and affiliations of the prisoners of war in question.
2367  The first sentence of Article 34(1) emphasizes that prisoners of war must enjoy ‘complete latitude’ in the exercise of their religious duties. Previous provisions relative to the religious activities of prisoners of war contained similar wording, changing from ‘every latitude’ (1899 Hague Regulations) to ‘complete liberty’ (1907 Hague Regulations) and ‘complete freedom’ (1929 Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War). While the English wording differed from one Convention to another, the French versions of these provisions remained constant, each using the phrase ‘toute latitude’. During the 1949 Diplomatic Conference, some States claimed that the phrase ‘complete latitude’ was prone to confusion and, in view of the security concerns of the Detaining Power, could be interpreted as requiring that prisoners of war be given access to too many facilities.[22] Despite these concerns, the phrase was retained, but relates solely to the practice of religion rather than wider purposes.[23]
2368  Importantly, all previous wordings of the article used the terms ‘complete’ or ‘every’ in the English version and ‘toute’ in the French. This would suggest that the religious activities of prisoners of war are not subject to any limitations. The second part of the sentence, however, introduces one significant limitation, namely compliance with the disciplinary routine (see below). Despite this, the formulation demonstrates the importance the drafters accorded to the exercise of religion by prisoners of war.
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2. Compliance with the disciplinary routine prescribed by the military authorities
2369  The latitude of prisoners of war to exercise their religion is subject to compliance with ‘the disciplinary routine prescribed by the military authorities’. Similar to the 1899 and 1907 Hague Regulations,[24] the 1929 Convention provided that when prisoners of war exercised their religious duties, they had to comply with ‘the routine and police regulations’ prescribed by the military authorities. Practice in the Second World War, however, demonstrated that this wording was ambiguous and open to various interpretations.[25] In addition, Detaining Powers feared the spread of propaganda during religious services, which they perceived as a threat to their security. As a result, religious services were often censored, their frequency was limited, and religious services and confessions were only allowed in the presence of interpreters.[26] Today, the spread of radical beliefs incompatible with the basic values expressed by the Conventions, including respect for civilians and the prohibition of adverse distinction, may be perceived as a threat and thus lead to restrictions on the practice of religion and the work of religious personnel in camps. However, efforts to ‘deradicalize’ prisoners who express extreme and violent religious or political beliefs must not infringe on their right to practise their religion, in particular by making cooperating with such efforts a condition for them to exercise their religious duties.[27]
2370  Article 34 requires that prisoners’ freedom to exercise their religious duties be subject to compliance with ‘the disciplinary routine prescribed by the military authorities’. The exercise of religious duties does not require special authorization and should form part of the normal system of camp administration, the general timetable and other activities. Accordingly, prisoners do not have to wait for specific permission to practise their religion (although group celebrations may require coordination with the detaining authorities).
2371  Prisoners of war are free to exercise their religion as long as they comply with the disciplinary routine of the camp.[28] The default standard is the freedom to practise one’s religion, and ‘limitations on such practice may only be those that are reasonable and necessary in the specific context’.[29] For instance, a Detaining Power would be entitled to impose restrictions where an individual’s practice of religion within the camp involved a call for violence against the Detaining Power or other prisoners of war.[30] In such circumstances, the Detaining Power might adopt measures to either prohibit such calls during religious services or by prohibiting the participation of an offender in communal religious services or by segregating an offender from the general population.[31] Such a prohibition would not prevent the personal practice of religion of that individual except insofar as that practice could be expected to have a negative impact upon camp order and discipline.
2372  The disciplinary routine must not be such that it suppresses or substantially impedes the practice of religion.[32] It is in the interest of both the prisoners and the detaining authorities that the camp’s disciplinary routine is organized in such a way as to allow prisoners to exercise their religion.[33] A balance must thus be found between prisoners’ obligation to comply with the disciplinary routine of the camp and the Detaining Power’s obligation to afford prisoners ‘complete latitude’ in the exercise of their religious duties.[34] For example, the ICRC has noted that, in some conflicts after the Second World War, camp disciplinary routine was temporarily suspended to allow for some duties during religious holidays, such as allowing prisoners to get up at any time of the night to perform religious rites.
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D. Paragraph 2: Adequate premises for religious services
2373  Article 34(2) requires that adequate premises be provided for religious services. The premises do not have to be established solely for the purpose of holding religious services, as long as the necessary modifications can be made to allow religious services to take place there. The premises must, however, be ‘adequate’. Although the text of the provision does not provide any further indication of what is meant by ‘adequate’, in this context it suggests that the premises must be sufficiently spacious, clean, and constructed to accommodate all those attending the services, to withstand the weather and to meet religious needs.[35] For example, depending on the circumstances, a large tent or a room in a building may be sufficient to fulfil these requirements.[36]
2374  When no specific premises are available, the Detaining Power may provide prisoners of war with the necessary materials to build and/or adapt existing places into premises for the exercise of their religion.[37] Simple halls, for example, have been transformed by prisoners of war into chapels with altars, religious paintings and ornaments.[38] Moreover, when no appropriate premises are available, relief organizations may offer to supply materials and to build spaces or put their own spaces at the disposal of prisoners of war to hold religious services.[39] A good practice observed in past conflicts where Detaining Powers were unable to provide prisoners of war with adequate premises consisted in allowing the prisoners to attend religious services in a local place of worship.[40]
2375  Besides adequate premises, many religions also require the use of specific religious articles for their practice. Providing prisoners of war with such articles created difficulties during the Second World War, particularly concerning religions from Asia and the Middle East.[41] This was undoubtedly partially because the provisions in the 1899, 1907 and 1929 Conventions were silent on this issue and used a passive form in describing the obligation, by requiring the Detaining Power to allow ‘latitude’ or ‘liberty’ for the prisoners. Consequently, some States argued that they were only obliged to ensure freedom of religion, to which they were in principle not opposed, but did not have an obligation to assume the cost of doing so.[42] However, not all Detaining Powers took this view and many of them generally assumed the costs of enabling prisoners of war to exercise their religious duties and supplied them with the necessary articles for this purpose.[43]
2376  Despite the difficulties encountered during the Second World War, Article 34 does not contain further clarification as to who should organize and finance religious activities and provide prisoners of war with the necessary supplies. It is submitted, however, that this responsibility falls, to some extent, to the Detaining Power, which has the primary obligation to maintain, free of charge, the physical and mental health and well-being of prisoners of war.[44] This includes ensuring that they enjoy complete latitude in the exercise of their religious duties, including by providing adequate premises for religious services and by supplying them with those items that are essential to perform their religious rites.
2377  In many conflicts after the Second World War, the Detaining Powers provided prisoners of war with religious texts, such as Qurans or Bibles in multiple languages; where the Detaining Power did not do so, it permitted organizations like the ICRC to provide such texts. During the 1971 India-Pakistan conflict, for example, prisoners of war generally had access to holy books (Christians received a Bible and Muslims received a Quran).[45]
2378  Under Article 72, prisoners may receive articles of a religious character through individual or collective shipments from relief agencies, families or private donors. In addition, Article 125 requires that representatives of religious organizations, relief societies or any other organization assisting prisoners of war receive all necessary facilities for, inter alia, distributing material for religious purposes. At various times, the ICRC, the Holy See and relief or religious organizations have provided prisoners of war with a wide variety of religious items, where the Detaining Powers did not do so. The items distributed included prayer books, missals, devotional articles, theological and philosophical works, furnishings for chapels, chandeliers, wax, religious paintings, sacred music, religious publications, carpets, prayer wheels, hair oil, and other articles required for religious observances.[46] However, Detaining Powers are not relieved of their own obligations under Article 34 by virtue of these shipments.[47]
2379  The deliberate creation of conditions preventing prisoners of war from exercising their religious duties does not in itself constitute a war crime, but it may adversely affect their physical or mental well-being. Thus, depending on the circumstances, a violation of Article 34, combined with other violations, may amount to the grave breach of inhuman treatment.[48]
2380  Furthermore, non-compliance with Article 34 should be taken into account when assessing the seriousness of acts of torture to the extent that suffering can be exacerbated by the specific cultural or religious background of the victim.[49] Relevant aspects of the cultural or religious background of the victim are also to be taken into account when assessing the war crime of outrages upon personal dignity as some treatment may be humiliating to someone of a particular culture or religion, while not necessarily to others.[50]
2381  Insults to religious customs and practices, desecration of religious objects, and non-respect for religious services can, by themselves or in combination with other factors, amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.[51] The Tanaka Chuichi case in the wake of the Second World War, for instance, dealt with Sikh prisoners who, contrary to their religion, had their hair and beards cut off and who were forced to smoke cigarettes. The court found that these factors aggravated the prisoners’ ill-treatment.[52]
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Condé, H. Victor, ‘Protection of Religious Freedoms under International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law in Times of Armed Conflict’, U.C. Davis Journal of International Law and Policy, Vol. 5, No. 1, winter 1999, pp. 95−110.
Debons, Delphine, L’assistance spirituelle aux prisonniers de guerre. Un aspect de l’action humanitaire durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, Editions du Cerf, Paris, 2012.
‘“All things are Possible for Him Who Believes” (Mark 9:23) : The Regulation of Religious Life in Prisoner of War Camps in the Second World War’, in Anne-Marie Pathé and Fabien Théofilakis (eds), Wartime Captivity in the Twentieth Century. Archives, Stories, Memories, Berghahn, Oxford, 2016, pp. 54–64.
Durand, Yves, La vie quotidienne des prisonniers de guerre dans les Stalags, les Oflags et les Kommandos 1939−1945, Hachette, Paris, 1987, pp. 173−178.
Gilbert, Adrian, POW: Allied Prisoners in Europe, 1939–1945, John Murray, London, 2006, pp. 223−233.
Gillet, Eric, ‘Histoire des Sous-Officiers et Soldats Belges Prisonniers de Guerre, 1940–1945’ (suite), Revue belge d’histoire militaire, Vol. 28, No. 3, 1987, pp. 217−254, at 237−240.
Henckaerts, Jean-Marie and Doswald-Beck, Louise (eds), Customary International Humanitarian Law, Volume I: Rules, ICRC/Cambridge University Press, 2005, pp. 449−451, https://www.icrc.org/customary-ihl/eng/docs/v1_rul.
Hiebel, Jean-Luc, Assistance spirituelle et conflits armés – Droit humain, Henry Dunant Institute, Geneva, 1980. (1980a)
‘Human rights relating to spiritual assistance as embodied in the Geneva Conventions of 1949’, International Review of the Red Cross, Vol. 20, No. 214, February 1980, pp. 3−28. (1980b)
Hingorani, Rup C., Prisoners of War, Oceana Press, Dobbs Ferry, 1982, pp. 156−158.
Krähenmann, Sandra, ‘Protection of Prisoners in Armed Conflict’, in Dieter Fleck (ed.), The Handbook of International Humanitarian Law, 3rd edition, Oxford University Press, 2013, pp. 359–411, para. 721.
Lunze, Stefan, The Protection of Religious Personnel in Armed Conflict, Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main, 2004, pp. 90−93. (2004a)
– Serving God and Caesar: Religious personnel and their protection in armed conflict’, International Review of the Red Cross, Vol. 86, No. 853, March 2004, pp. 69−90. (2004b)
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Miles, Donna, ‘Joint Task Force Respects Detainees’ Religious Practices’, American Forces Press Service, 2005.
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1 - See ICRC, Documents publiés à l’occasion de la guerre européenne (1914−1916) : Rapports de Mm. F. Thormeyer et Dr F. Ferrière junr. sur leurs visites aux camps de prisonniers en Russie, octobre 1915 à février 1916, Libraire Georg, Geneva, 1916, p. 46; Final Record of the Diplomatic Conference of Geneva of 1949, Vol. II-A, p. 260; Minutes of the Diplomatic Conference of Geneva of 1949, Committee II, Vol. I, 7th meeting, p. 1; ICRC, Report of the International Committee of the Red Cross on its Activities during the Second World War (September 1, 1939–June 30, 1947), Volume I: General Activities, ICRC, Geneva, May 1948, p. 275; Gillet, p. 237; Robson, p. 332; and Lunze, 2004b, p. 78.
2 - Hague Regulations (1899), Article 18; Hague Regulations (1907), Article 18.
3 - Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War (1929), Article 16.
4 - See Report of the Commission on the Religious and Intellectual Needs of Prisoners of War and Civilian Internees of 1947, including pp. 1–2 for a list of participating religious organizations.
5 - In this amendment, certain of the original clauses of the text were inserted in other provisions of the Convention (see e.g. Article 125(1)), and the text was presented in a new form, divided into four articles, which correspond to Articles 34–37.
6 - Final Record of the Diplomatic Conference of Geneva of 1949, Vol. II-A, p. 333 (Netherlands) (for details see para. 2363 of this commentary), and Vol. III, p. 36 (Holy See) and pp. 68−69 (United Kingdom).
7 - Ibid. Vol. II-B, p. 286.
8 - See, in particular, Article 16 (which spells out the principle of equality of treatment of prisoners of war, thus ensuring that the entitlement to practise their religion is accorded to all prisoners of war without any adverse distinction based, among other things, on their religious beliefs); Article 53(2) (which allows prisoners of war to rest from labour for 24 consecutive hours each week, preferably on Sunday or the day of rest in their country of origin, which is often determined by religious rules – a provision introduced to facilitate the exercise of prisoners’ religious duties; see Minutes of the Diplomatic Conference of Geneva of 1949, Committee II, Vol. I, 7th meeting, p. 47); and Article 120(4) (which provides that prisoners of war who have died in captivity must be buried in accordance with the rites of the religion to which they belonged).
9 - In its ordinary meaning, the term ‘religion’ refers to ‘a particular system of faith and worship’; Concise Oxford English Dictionary, 12th edition, Oxford University Press, 2011, p. 1215. The term ‘faith’ refers to ‘a particular religion’; ibid. p. 512.
10 - See Silvia Sanna, ‘Treatment of prisoners of war’, in Andrew Clapham, Paola Gaeta and Marco Sassòli (eds), The 1949 Geneva Conventions: A Commentary, Oxford University Press, 2015, pp. 978–1011, at 1000, and Maia/Kolb/Scalia, p. 304.
11 - Final Record of the Diplomatic Conference of Geneva of 1949, Vol. II-A, p. 333; Minutes of the Diplomatic Conference of Geneva of 1949, Committee II, Vol. II, 22nd meeting, pp. 38−44.
12 - Hiebel, 1980a, pp. 164−168. See also UN Human Rights Committee, General Comment No. 22 (48) (Article 18), UN Doc. CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.4, 27 September 1993, para. 4. For example, in 1972 Indian authorities provided Pakistani prisoners of war with special facilities and allowed them to perform rituals to observe Moharram; see Salunke, pp. 29–30. Another example of a Detaining Power allowing prisoners of war to freely practise their religion is when Iranian authorities provided Iraqi prisoners of war with facilities for religious worship and took some of them to the Holy City of Qum, as well as allowing Christians and other religious minorities to observe Christmas and other religious holidays. See UN Security Council, Prisoners of war in Iran and Iraq: The report of a mission dispatched by the Secretary-General, January 1985, UN Doc. S/16962, 22 February 1985, para. 172(m).
13 - On parole, see Article 21(2)–(3).
14 - For example, in order to properly exercise their religious duties, Muslim prisoners must be able to make ritual ablutions before prayer in appropriate conditions, hence the importance of the availability of water and access to washing facilities in accordance with prayer schedules. For the same reasons, toilets should be located separately from the washing facilities used for ablutions and at a distance from places of worship.
15 - United Kingdom, High Court of Justice, Alseran case, Judgment, 2017, para. 514.
16 - See e.g. Canada, Prisoner of War Handling Manual, 2004, para. 3F11.2; Netherlands, Military Manual, 2005, para. 0726; and United Kingdom, Joint Doctrine Captured Persons, 2015, p. 2-5, para. 211(b), and p. 8-2, para. 805(b). See also Debons, 2012, pp. 284–285; Hingorani, p. 157; Lunze, 2004a, p. 91; and Miles. On the provision of food in accordance with ‘the habitual diet of the prisoners’, see the commentary on Article 26, section C.2.
17 - See fn. 50 and accompanying text.
18 - See e.g. Salunke, p. 97 (special dishes were provided for Eid and Christmas).
19 - Bretonnière, p. 134; Debons, 2012a, p. 284; Hingorani, p. 157.
20 - Pursuant to Article 108, prisoners serving a judicial sentence are entitled to receive ‘the spiritual assistance they may desire’. See also the commentary on Article 108, section E.2.e.
21 - See e.g. Cameroon, Instructor’s Manual, 2006, para. 621; Canada, Prisoner of War Handling Manual, 2004, paras 203.1.b(3), B202.5 and 3F11.2; and United States, Manual on Detainee Operations, 2014, pp. III-5–III-6, Standard Operating Procedures for Task Force 134 Detainee Operations in Iraq, 2008, pp. 12–19, and Department of Defense, Review of Department Compliance with President’s Executive Order on Detainee Conditions of Confinement, 2009, pp. 25−26. See also Lunze, 2004a, p. 160, and Miles.
22 - Minutes of the Diplomatic Conference of Geneva of 1949, Committee II, Vol. I, 7th meeting, p. 44.
23 - Final Record of the Diplomatic Conference of Geneva of 1949, Vol. II-A, p. 332; Minutes of the Diplomatic Conference of Geneva of 1949, Committee II, Vol. I, 7th meeting, p. 44, and Vol. II, 22nd meeting, p. 35.
24 - Under Article 18 of the 1899 Hague Regulations, religious activities of prisoners of war were allowed insofar as they complied with ‘regulations for order and police’. Article 18 of the 1907 Hague Regulations established that prisoners of war, while enjoying complete liberty in the exercise of their religion, must comply ‘with the measures of order and police issued by the military authorities’. For an example from the First World War, see Agreement between Germany, Austria-Hungary, Norway, and Russia concerning Prisoners of War (1917), Article 7.
25 - Final Record of the Diplomatic Conference of Geneva of 1949, Vol. II-A, pp. 262 and 332; Minutes of the Diplomatic Conference of Geneva of 1949, Committee II, Vol. I, 7th meeting, p. 46; Debons, 2012, pp. 155–156.
26 - Debons, 2012, pp. 281−283, and 2016, pp. 55–58; Gilbert, pp. 229−230; Théofilakis, pp. 157–158.
27 - See also ICRC, Radicalization in detention – the ICRC’s perspective (web article), 10 June 2016.
28 - Some practice refers to additional requirements. See e.g. Japan, Act on the Treatment of Prisoners of War and Other Detainees in Armed Attack Situations, 2004, Article 41(2), which provides that religious activities may also not hinder the management and administration of the prisoner-of-war camp.
29 - Henckaerts/Doswald-Beck, commentary on Rule 104, p. 379; McCoubrey, p. 141. For a practical example, see United States, Standard Operating Procedures for Task Force 134 Detainee Operations in Iraq, 2008, p. 13 (‘Interference with detainee religious practice is discouraged unless the detainee is interfering with the good order and discipline of the camp, posing a threat to himself or another detainee, threatening a guard or other staff member or destroying property.’). This also corresponds to human rights law, according to which the right to manifest one’s religion or belief may be subject to restrictions if necessary to protect, among other things, public safety, order or the rights and freedoms of others. See International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), Article 18(3); European Convention on Human Rights (1950), Article 9(2); American Convention on Human Rights (1969), Article 12(3); African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (1981), Article 8; and Arab Charter on Human Rights (2004), Article 30(2).
30 - For an example of a limitation of a religious practice for security reasons, see UN Security Council, Prisoners of war in Iran and Iraq: The report of a mission dispatched by the Secretary-General, January 1985, UN Doc. S/16962, 22 February 1985, paras 54(n) and 132–133 (collective prayers were not allowed by Iraqi authorities for security reasons). The ICRC encountered an instance where all collective prayers and religious services of the three religious groups in a camp were prohibited in response to tensions between two of the groups over the use of the place of prayer. To the extent that the restrictions were not limited in time and applied to all religions it seems that such measures go beyond what is reasonable and necessary in the circumstances.
31 - Segregation of individuals should not result, however, in solitary confinement. See e.g. United Kingdom, Joint Doctrine Captured Persons, 2015, p. 7-13, para. 730. On solitary confinement, see the commentaries on Article 87, para. 3711, and on Article 89, paras 3756–3757.
32 - Krähenmann, p. 397, para. 721.1; McCoubrey, p. 141 (‘the primary requirement is that of freedom of worship and that constraint upon grounds of disciplinary routine requires objective justification by reference to a “routine” which is itself both reasonable and lawful’).
33 - Krähenmann, p. 397, para. 721.1.
34 - See e.g. United States, Manual on Detainee Operations, 2014, p. III-6 (‘a good faith balance should be struck between the detainee’s obligation to comply with disciplinary rules and procedures and the detaining power’s obligation to afford detainees the ability to meet their religious obligations and exercise their religious practices’). See also Lunze, 2004a, p. 90.
35 - Lunze, 2004a, p. 91; McCoubrey, p. 142. A recent case in which the matter arose was the 19982000 armed conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Ethiopia submitted to the Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission that Eritrea had violated Article 34 of the Third Convention in each of its permanent camps by failing to provide adequate premises for religious services. Owing to the large number of other potential violations, the Commission chose to address only the most basic breaches of the Third Convention that directly threatened the lives and security of the prisoners. As a result, it did not take a stand on the alleged breaches of Article 34. See Sean D. Murphy, Won Kidane and Thomas R. Snider, Litigating War: Mass Civil Injury and the Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission, Oxford University Press, 2013, p. 272.
36 - In Iraq, for example, the US military forces erected a tent for prisoners to practise their religious duties; see Rotunda, p. 1085.
37 - For example, during the 1971 India-Pakistan conflict, materials were provided to prisoners to build mosques in the camps; see Salunke, p. 97.
38 - ICRC, Documents Publiés à l’Occasion de la Guerre Européenne (1914−1916) : Rapports de Mm. Dr A. von Schulthess et F. Thormeyer sur leur visite aux camps de prisonniers de guerre russes en Allemagne en avril 1916, Libraire Georg, Geneva, 1916, p. 15; Gillet, p. 240.
39 - For instance, the YMCA often allowed their huts to be used for spiritual purposes. Not only were the huts open to Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox, Jewish and Muslim religious services, but space was also allocated for separate altars for other religious beliefs; see Kenneth Steuer, Pursuit of an ‘Unparalleled Opportunity’: The American YMCA and Prisoner-of-War Diplomacy among the Central Power Nations during World War I, 1914−1923, Columbia University Press, New York, 2009, p. 168.
40 - See e.g. ICRC, Documents Publiés à l’Occasion de la Guerre Européenne (1914−1916) : Rapports de Mm. Dr A. von Schulthess et F. Thormeyer sur leur visite aux camps de prisonniers de guerre russes en Allemagne en avril 1916, Libraire Georg, Geneva, 1916, p. 15; Gillet, p. 240.
41 - Final Record of the Diplomatic Conference of Geneva of 1949, Vol. II-A, p. 263; Minutes of the Diplomatic Conference of Geneva of 1949, Committee II, Vol. I, 7th meeting, p. 47; Debons, 2012, p. 227, and example at pp. 311–313; Debons, 2016, pp. 61–62.
42 - ICRC, Documents Publiés à l’Occasion de la Guerre Européenne (1914−1916) : Rapports de M. le Dr A. Vernet et M. Richard de Muralt sur leurs visites aux dépôts de prisonniers en Tunisie et de Mm. P. Schazmann et Dr O.-L. Cramer sur leurs visites aux dépôts de prisonniers en Algérie en Décembre 1915 et Janvier 1916, Libraire Georg, Geneva, 1916, p. 28; Debons, 2012, pp. 155−156; MacArthur, p. 191.
43 - ICRC, Report of the International Committee of the Red Cross on its Activities during the Second World War (September 1, 1939–June 30, 1947), Volume I: General Activities, ICRC, Geneva, May 1948, p. 276; François Bugnion, The International Committee of the Red Cross and the Protection of War Victims, ICRC/Macmillan, Oxford, 2003, pp. 163, 183, and 672; Véronique Harouel-Bureloup, Traité de droit humanitaire, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris, 2005, para. 265.
44 - See Article 15.
45 - See Salunke, p. 97.
46 - See e.g. ICRC, Report of the International Committee of the Red Cross on its Activities during the Second World War (September 1, 1939–June 30, 1947), Volume I: General Activities, ICRC, Geneva, May 1948, p. 276; François Bugnion, The International Committee of the Red Cross and the Protection of War Victims, ICRC/Macmillan, Oxford, 2003, pp. 163, 183 and 672; Véronique Harouel-Bureloup, Traité de droit humanitaire, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris, 2005, para. 265; Vuillet, pp. 17−18; Théofilakis, p. 150; Papeleux, pp. 270−271; and Debons, 2016, p. 59.
47 - See Article 72(2).
48 - See ICTY, Aleksovski Trial Judgment, 1999, paras 165 and 168. Although this case dealt with the detention of civilian internees, Article 93(1) of the Fourth Convention is identical to the present article and the judgment may, therefore, be considered relevant for this discussion. The prosecution alleged that camp conditions were insufficient and hygiene was non-existent, which prevented the Muslim detainees from performing their religious rites. The Trial Chamber did not refute the difficulties encountered by the detainees in respect of observance of their religious duties, but it found that they did not result from any deliberate policy of the accused and thus rejected the prosecution’s allegations on this point. This means, a contrario, that deliberate creation of conditions of detention preventing detainees from exercising their religious duties may amount to a war crime. For more details on the grave breach of inhuman treatment, see the commentary on Article 130, section D.3.
49 - ICTY, Limaj Trial Judgment, 2005, para. 237. See also the commentaries on Article 3, paras 670–671, on Article 17(4), para. 1826, and on Article 130, para. 5230.
50 - See ICC Elements of Crimes (2002), p. 27, note 49, and Knut Dörmann, Elements of War Crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court: Sources and Commentary, Cambridge University Press, 2002, p. 315. Examples cited in the preparatory committee were those of forcing detainees to shave or smoke contrary to their religious beliefs or forcing persons to eat food prohibited by their religion.
51 - See also the commentary on Article 3, para. 671, and Cordula Droege, ‘“In truth the leitmotiv”: the prohibition of torture and other forms of ill-treatment in international humanitarian law’, International Review of the Red Cross, Vol. 89, No. 867, September 2007, pp. 522 and 537−538.
52 - Australia, Military Court at Rabaul, Tanaka Chuichi case, Judgment, 1946, para. 2.