Practice Relating to Rule 117. Accounting for Missing Persons
Belgium’s Specific Procedure on the Prisoners of War Information Bureau (2007) states that the tasks of the PWIB (Prisoners of War Information Bureau) include:
d. Concerning Belgian prisoners of war, wounded, sick and dead in the power of an enemy nation:
- Receiving from the CTA [Central Tracing Agency] all relevant information;
- Transmitting the information received to the families concerned, in accordance with the wishes of the individual concerned, if expressed.
e. Replying to all enquiries addressed to the Bureau concerning prisoners of war, including those who have died in captivity. The PWIB will undertake or commission the necessary investigations in order to acquire missing information.
The Specific Procedure further provides:
If the Belgian PW [prisoner of war] has not expressed his refusal to have his family informed of his situation, a letter will be sent to the address of the person mentioned as “to be informed.” This letter shall contain the following information, in so far as available:
- given name(s);
- identity card number;
- place and full date of birth;
- name and address of the person to be informed;
- address to which correspondence for the prisoner may be sent.
If applicable, the following information shall also be communicated:
- release date;
- repatriation date;
- admissions to hospital;
- any sickness or wounds (without prejudice to medical secrecy).