Related Rule
South Africa
Practice Relating to Rule 87. Humane Treatment
South Africa’s LOAC Teaching Manual (2008) states:
1.2 Reasons for compliance with LOAC [law of armed conflict] and basic principles thereof.
Fundamental Norms and Values (rules)
The fundamental norms/val[u]es which underlie the LOAC are:
- Persons who are hors de combat (out of combat) and those who do not take a direct part in hostilities are entitled to respect for their lives and their moral and physical integrity. They must in all circumstances be protected and treated humanely without any adverse distinction.
Prohibited Acts against Persons not taking an Active Part in Armed Conflicts
- General Rules
- Protected persons are entitled to respect for:
- Their persons;
- Their honour;
- They must at all times be treated humanely.
1.3 Relationship between LOAC and Human Rights Law and Fundamental Protection Provided under LOAC.
Fundamental Protection under the LOAC
The LOAC grants fundamental protection to persons and objects other than combatants and military objectives. This protection applies to all persons in the power of belligerent parties and neutral states. The protection corresponds to basic humanitarian principles applicable to most nations.
The legal basis for this fundamental protection is found in international treaties.
Examples of the wording of these fundamental rules are:
- The wounded, sick and shipwrecked shall be respected and protected in all circumstances and treated humanely at all times ([1949] Geneva Conventions I and II article 12).
- POWs [prisoners of war] must at all times be humanely treated ([1949] Geneva Convention III article 13).
The humane treatment of protected persons is the most basic principle of the LOAC. This fundamental principle must be adhered to at all time[s], even where derogation of protection is allowed by the LOAC, eg where the restriction of freedom of movement is justified by military necessity, the right to dignity of persons affected by it must still be respected.
Specific Areas that are Subject to Fundamental Protection
- Honour
- The honour, convictions and religious practices of all persons must be protected at all times.
- These aspects are inherent factors of personality. Protected persons must be spared slander and insult.
1.4 Different Types of armed Conflict and those bound by LOAC
Application: Civil Wars and Non-International Armed Conflicts
Current Op[]inio Juris on Common Article 3 [of the 1949] Geneva Conventions. This article determines that, in the case of armed conflicts not of an international character, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply certain minimum rules. Although originally written for situations of non-international armed conflicts, the current legal opinion is that its contents are so fundamental that it is applicable in both international and non-international armed conflicts. The minimum rules contained in Common article 3 Geneva Conventions are the following:
- Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria. 
South Africa, Advanced Law of Armed Conflict Teaching Manual, School of Military Justice, 1 April 2008, as amended to 25 October 2013, Learning Unit 1, pp. 13, 16–17, 21, 23–24, 26 and 28–29; see also p. 25.
South Africa’s Constitution (1996), as amended to 2003, states:
10. Human dignity. – Everyone has inherent dignity and the right to have their dignity respected and protected.
37. States of emergency.
(1) A state of emergency may be declared only in terms of an Act of Parliament and only when –
(a) the life of the nation is threatened by war, invasion, general insurrection, disorder, natural disaster or other public emergency; …
(5) No Act of Parliament that authorises a declaration of a state of emergency, and no legislation enacted or other action taken in consequence of a declaration may permit or authorise –
(c) any derogation from a section mentioned in column 1 of the Table of Non-Derogable Rights, to the extent indicated opposite that section in column 3 of the Table. 
South Africa, Constitution, 1996, as amended to 2003, Sections 10 and 37(1)(a) and (5)(c).
In the “Table of Non-Derogable Rights”, the Constitution includes section 10, entitled “Human Dignity”, and states that the right is protected “[e]ntirely”. 
South Africa, Constitution, 1996, as amended to 2003, Section 37.
In 1987, in the Petane case, the Cape Provincial Division of South Africa’s Supreme Court dismissed the accused’s claim that the 1977 Additional Protocol I reflected customary international law. The Court stated:
The accused has been indicted before this Court on three counts of terrorism, that is to say, contraventions of s 54(1) of the Internal Security Act 74 of 1982. He has also been indicted on three counts of attempted murder.
The accused’s position is stated to be that this Court has no jurisdiction to try him.
… The point in its early formulation was this. By the terms of [the 1977 Additional] Protocol I to the [1949] Geneva Conventions the accused was entitled to be treated as a prisoner-of-war. A prisoner-of-war is entitled to have notice of an impending prosecution for an alleged offence given to the so-called “protecting power” appointed to watch over prisoners-of-war. Since, if such a notice were necessary, the trial could not proceed without it, Mr Donen suggested that the necessity or otherwise for giving such a notice should be determined before evidence was led. …
On 12 August 1949 there were concluded at Geneva in Switzerland four treaties known as the Geneva Conventions. …
South Africa was among the nations which concluded the treaties. … Except for the common art 3, which binds parties to observe a limited number of fundamental humanitarian principles in armed conflicts not of an international character, they apply to wars between States.
After the Second World War many conflicts arose which could not be characterised as international. It was therefore considered desirable by some States to extend and augment the provisions of the Geneva Conventions, so as to afford protection to victims of and combatants in conflicts which fell outside the ambit of these Conventions. The result of these endeavours was Protocol I and Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions, both of which came into force on 7 December 1978.
Protocol II relates to the protection of victims of non-international armed conflicts. Since the State of affairs which exists in South Africa has by Protocol I been characterised as an international armed conflict, Protocol II does not concern me at all.
The extension of the scope of art 2 of the Geneva Conventions was, at the time of its adoption, controversial. …
The article has remained controversial. More debate has raged about its field of operation than about any other articles in Protocol I. …
South Africa is one of the countries which has not acceded to Protocol I. Nevertheless, I am asked to decide, as I indicated earlier, as a preliminary point, whether Protocol I has become part of customary international law. If so, it is argued that it would have been incorporated into South African law. If it has been so incorporated it would have to be proved by one or other of the parties that the turmoil which existed at the time when the accused is alleged to have committed his offences was such that it could properly be described as an “armed conflict” conducted by “peoples” against a “ra[c]ist regime” in the exercise of their “right of self-determination”. Once all this has been shown it would have to be demonstrated to the Court that the accused conducted himself in such a manner as to become entitled to the benefits conferred by Protocol I on combatants, for example that, broadly speaking, he had, while he was launching an attack, distinguished himself from civilians and had not attacked civilian targets. …
… I am prepared to accept that where a rule of customary international law is recognised as such by international law it will be so recognised by our law.
To my way of thinking, the trouble with the first Protocol giving rise to State practice is that its terms have not been capable of being observed by all that many States. At the end of 1977 when the treaty first lay open for ratification there were few States which were involved in colonial domination or the occupation of other States and there were only two, South Africa and Israel, which were considered to fall within the third category of ra[c]ist regimes. Accordingly, the situation sought to be regulated by the first Protocol was one faced by few countries; too few countries in my view, to permit any general usage in dealing with armed conflicts of the kind envisaged by the Protocol to develop.
Mr Donen contended that the provisions of multilateral treaties can become customary international law under certain circumstances. I accept that this is so. There seems in principle to be no reason why treaty rules cannot acquire wider application than among the parties to the treaty.
Brownlie Principles of International Law 3rd ed at 13 agrees that non-parties to a treaty may by their conduct accept the provisions of a multilateral convention as representing general international law. …
I incline to the view that non-ratification of a treaty is strong evidence of non-acceptance.
It is interesting to note that the first Protocol makes extensive provision for the protection of civilians in armed conflict. …
In this sense, Protocol I may be described as an enlightened humanitarian document. If the strife in South Africa should deteriorate into an armed conflict we may all one day find it a cause for regret that the ideologically provocative tone of s 1(4) has made it impossible for the Government to accept its terms.
To my mind it can hardly be said that Protocol I has been greeted with acclaim by the States of the world. Their lack of enthusiasm must be due to the bizarre mixture of political and humanitarian objects sought to be realised by the Protocol. …
According to the International Review of the Red Cross (January/February 1987) No 256, as at December 1986, 66 States were parties to Protocol I and 60 to Protocol II, which, it will be remembered, deals with internal non-international armed conflicts. With the exception of France, which acceded only to Protocol II, not one of the world’s major powers has acceded to or ratified either of the Protocols. This position should be compared to the 165 States which are parties to the Geneva Conventions.
This approach of the world community to Protocol I is, on principle, far too half-hearted to justify an inference that its principles have been so widely accepted as to qualify them as rules of customary international law. The reasons for this are, I imagine, not far to seek. For those States which are contending with “peoples[’]” struggles for self-determination, adoption of the Protocol may prove awkward. For liberation movements who rely on strategies of urban terror for achieving their aims the terms of the Protocol, with its emphasis on the protection of civilians, may prove disastrously restrictive. I therefore do not find it altogether surprising that Mr Donen was unable to refer me to any statement in the published literature that Protocol I has attained the status o[f] customary international [law].
I have not been persuaded by the arguments which I have heard on behalf of the accused that the assessment of Professor Dugard, writing in the Annual Survey of South African Law (1983) at 66, that “it is argued with growing conviction that under contemporary international law members of SWAPO [South-West Africa People’s Organisation] and the ANC [African National Congress] are members of liberation movements entitled to prisoner-of-war status, in terms of a new customary rule spawned by the 1977 Protocols”, is correct. On what I have heard in argument I disagree with his assessment that there is growing support for the view that the Protocols reflect a new rule of customary international law. No writer has been cited who supports this proposition. Here and there someone says that it may one day come about. I am not sure that the provisions relating to the field of application of Protocol I are capable of ever becoming a rule of customary international law, but I need not decide that point today.
For the reasons which I have given I have concluded that the provisions of Protocol I have not been accepted in customary international law. They accordingly form no part of South African law.
This conclusion has made it unnecessary for me to give a decision on the question of whether rules of customary international law which conflict with the statutory or common law of this country will be enforced by its courts.
In the result, the preliminary point is dismissed. The trial must proceed. 
South Africa, Supreme Court, Petane case, Judgment, 3 November 1987, pp. 2–8.
In 2010, in the Boeremag case, South Africa’s North Gauteng High Court stated:
In Petane, … Conradie J found that the provisions of [the 1977 Additional] Protocol I are not part of customary international law, and therefore are also not part of South African law.
Referring to the fact that in December 1986 only 66 of the 165 States party to the Geneva Conventions had ratified Protocol I, the Court [in Petane] stated:
This approach of the world community to Protocol I is, on principle, far too half-hearted to justify an inference that its principles have been so widely accepted as to qualify them as rules of customary international law. The reasons for this are, I imagine, not far to seek. For those States which are contending with “peoples[’]” struggles for self-determination, adoption of the Protocol may prove awkward. For liberation movements who rely on strategies of urban terror for achieving their aims the terms of the Protocol, with its emphasis on the protection of civilians, may prove disastrously restrictive. I therefore do not find it altogether surprising that Mr Donen was unable to refer me to any statement in the published literature that Protocol I has attained the status of customary international law.
Important changes with respect to certain aspects applicable at the time of Petane have taken place. The ANC [African National Congress] has become South Africa’s ruling party and in 1995 ratified Protocol I. The total number of States that have ratified it, is now … 162.
This last aspect forms the basis on which the First Respondent [the State] and the applicants agree that Protocol I forms part of customary international law as well as of South African law. As requested, this position is accepted for the purposes of the decision, without deciding on the matter.
Despite these changes, it remains debatable whether the provisions of Protocol I have become a part of South African law in this way.
The consensus of both parties to the conflict is required. See Petane … and Article 96 of Protocol I. …
Parliament’s failure to incorporate Protocol I into legislation in accordance with Article 231(4) of the Constitution in fact points to the contrary, and is indicative that the requirements of usus and/or opinio juris have not been met. See Petane. 
South Africa, North Gauteng High Court, Boeremag case, Judgment, 26 August 2010, pp. 21–22.
[footnotes in original omitted]
The Court also held:
If the [1977 Additional Protocol I] applies in South Africa as customary international law, the two requirements that form the basis of customary law must be met. It is arguable that the requirement of usus has been met by the vast number of States that have acceded or ratified it. By ratifying Protocol I the Republic of South Africa has indicated its intention to apply the Protocol, thereby fulfilling the requirement of opinio juris. 
South Africa, North Gauteng High Court, Boeremag case, Judgment, 26 August 2010, p. 66.
South Africa’s LOAC Teaching Manual (2008) states:
2.4 Specifically Protected Persons and Objects:
a. Civilians
The protection of civilians can be briefly summarised as follows:
- They must always be respected and protected against any ill treatment.
- Those in your power must be treated humanely.
[1949] Geneva Convention IV article 27 provides for general protective provisions. This article determines that protected persons are, in all circumstances, entitled to respect for their persons, honour, … It also stipulates that protected persons shall be humanely treated and shall be protected against all acts of violence or threats thereof and against all insults and public curiosity.
Protection of protected persons entails the following:
- Protected persons are, in all circumstances, entitled to respect for their persons, honour …
- They shall be humanely treated and shall be protected against all acts of violence or threats thereof and against all insults and public curiosity.
2.7 Special Protection: Occupied Territories
Residents of occupied territories are entitled, in all circumstances, to the respect of [their]:
- Persons;
- Honour;
- … ([1907] Hague [Regulations] articles 44 to 46 and [1949] Geneva Convention IV article 27). 
South Africa, Advanced Law of Armed Conflict Teaching Manual, School of Military Justice, 1 April 2008, as amended to 25 October 2013, Learning Unit 2, pp. 112, 115–116, 124 and 155–156.
South Africa’s LOAC Manual (1996) provides: “All wounded, sick and shipwrecked … shall be treated humanely.” 
South Africa, Presentation on the South African Approach to International Humanitarian Law, Appendix A, Chapter 4: International Humanitarian Law (The Law of Armed Conflict), National Defence Force, 1996, § 31.
South Africa’s Revised Civic Education Manual (2004) states: “All wounded, sick and shipwrecked, to whatever party they belong, … shall be treated humanely”. 
South Africa, Revised Civic Education Manual, South African National Defence Force, 2004, Chapter 4, § 53.
South Africa’s LOAC Teaching Manual (2008) states:
1.3 Relationship between LOAC and Human Rights Law and Fundamental Protection Provided under LOAC [law of armed conflict].
Fundamental Protection under the LOAC
The LOAC grants fundamental protection to persons and objects other than combatants and military objectives. This protection applies to all persons in the power of belligerent parties and neutral states. The protection corresponds to basic humanitarian principles applicable to most nations.
The legal basis for this fundamental protection is found in international treaties.
Examples of the wording of these fundamental rules are:
- The wounded, sick and shipwrecked shall be respected and protected in all circumstances and treated humanely at all times ([1949] Geneva Conventions I and II article 12). 
South Africa, Advanced Law of Armed Conflict Teaching Manual, School of Military Justice, 1 April 2008, as amended to 25 October 2013, Learning Unit 1, pp. 21 and 23.
The manual also states:
2.3 Specifically Protected Persons and Objects …
c. Prisoners of War
The wounded, sick and shipwrecked POW [prisoners of war] shall always be treated humanely and be protected and cared for as the tactical situation allows.
d. Wounded, sick, shipwrecked, the dead and missing.
General Treatment of Wounded and Sick (Geneva [C]onvention I Article 12)
- Wounded and sick who no longer take part or can no longer take part in hostilities must be respected and protected in all circumstances.
- They must be humanely treated and cared for by the force into whose hands they fall.
The Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked
Wounded and sick members of the armed forces at sea must be respected and protected as on land. In addition, the shipwrecked must also be respected and protected. (Article 12 Geneva Convention II.) 
South Africa, Advanced Law of Armed Conflict Teaching Manual, School of Military Justice, 1 April 2008, as amended to 25 October 2013, Learning Unit 2, pp. 72, 91, 95, 102, 104 and 109; see also p. 105.
The manual further states:
Handling of War Victims:
- The wounded, sick and shipwrecked must be treated humanely, protected and evacuated from the combat area. 
South Africa, Advanced Law of Armed Conflict Teaching Manual, School of Military Justice, 1 April 2008, as amended to 25 October 2013, Learning Unit 3, p. 192.
In 1987, in the Petane case, the Cape Provincial Division of South Africa’s Supreme Court dismissed the accused’s claim that the 1977 Additional Protocol I reflected customary international law. The Court stated:
The accused has been indicted before this Court on three counts of terrorism, that is to say, contraventions of s 54(1) of the Internal Security Act 74 of 1982. He has also been indicted on three counts of attempted murder.
The accused’s position is stated to be that this Court has no jurisdiction to try him.
… The point in its early formulation was this. By the terms of [the 1977 Additional] Protocol I to the [1949] Geneva Conventions the accused was entitled to be treated as a prisoner-of-war. A prisoner-of-war is entitled to have notice of an impending prosecution for an alleged offence given to the so-called “protecting power” appointed to watch over prisoners-of-war. Since, if such a notice were necessary, the trial could not proceed without it, Mr Donen suggested that the necessity or otherwise for giving such a notice should be determined before evidence was led. …
On 12 August 1949 there were concluded at Geneva in Switzerland four treaties known as the Geneva Conventions. …
South Africa was among the nations which concluded the treaties. … Except for the common art 3, which binds parties to observe a limited number of fundamental humanitarian principles in armed conflicts not of an international character, they apply to wars between States.
After the Second World War many conflicts arose which could not be characterised as international. It was therefore considered desirable by some States to extend and augment the provisions of the Geneva Conventions, so as to afford protection to victims of and combatants in conflicts which fell outside the ambit of these Conventions. The result of these endeavours was Protocol I and Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions, both of which came into force on 7 December 1978.
Protocol II relates to the protection of victims of non-international armed conflicts. Since the State of affairs which exists in South Africa has by Protocol I been characterised as an international armed conflict, Protocol II does not concern me at all.
The extension of the scope of art 2 of the Geneva Conventions was, at the time of its adoption, controversial. …
The article has remained controversial. More debate has raged about its field of operation than about any other articles in Protocol I. …
South Africa is one of the countries which has not acceded to Protocol I. Nevertheless, I am asked to decide, as I indicated earlier, as a preliminary point, whether Protocol I has become part of customary international law. If so, it is argued that it would have been incorporated into South African law. If it has been so incorporated it would have to be proved by one or other of the parties that the turmoil which existed at the time when the accused is alleged to have committed his offences was such that it could properly be described as an “armed conflict” conducted by “peoples” against a “ra[c]ist regime” in the exercise of their “right of self-determination”. Once all this has been shown it would have to be demonstrated to the Court that the accused conducted himself in such a manner as to become entitled to the benefits conferred by Protocol I on combatants, for example that, broadly speaking, he had, while he was launching an attack, distinguished himself from civilians and had not attacked civilian targets. …
… I am prepared to accept that where a rule of customary international law is recognised as such by international law it will be so recognised by our law.
To my way of thinking, the trouble with the first Protocol giving rise to State practice is that its terms have not been capable of being observed by all that many States. At the end of 1977 when the treaty first lay open for ratification there were few States which were involved in colonial domination or the occupation of other States and there were only two, South Africa and Israel, which were considered to fall within the third category of ra[c]ist regimes. Accordingly, the situation sought to be regulated by the first Protocol was one faced by few countries; too few countries in my view, to permit any general usage in dealing with armed conflicts of the kind envisaged by the Protocol to develop.
Mr Donen contended that the provisions of multilateral treaties can become customary international law under certain circumstances. I accept that this is so. There seems in principle to be no reason why treaty rules cannot acquire wider application than among the parties to the treaty.
Brownlie Principles of International Law 3rd ed at 13 agrees that non-parties to a treaty may by their conduct accept the provisions of a multilateral convention as representing general international law. …
I incline to the view that non-ratification of a treaty is strong evidence of non-acceptance.
It is interesting to note that the first Protocol makes extensive provision for the protection of civilians in armed conflict. …
In this sense, Protocol I may be described as an enlightened humanitarian document. If the strife in South Africa should deteriorate into an armed conflict we may all one day find it a cause for regret that the ideologically provocative tone of s 1(4) has made it impossible for the Government to accept its terms.
To my mind it can hardly be said that Protocol I has been greeted with acclaim by the States of the world. Their lack of enthusiasm must be due to the bizarre mixture of political and humanitarian objects sought to be realised by the Protocol. …
According to the International Review of the Red Cross (January/February 1987) No 256, as at December 1986, 66 States were parties to Protocol I and 60 to Protocol II, which, it will be remembered, deals with internal non-international armed conflicts. With the exception of France, which acceded only to Protocol II, not one of the world’s major powers has acceded to or ratified either of the Protocols. This position should be compared to the 165 States which are parties to the Geneva Conventions.
This approach of the world community to Protocol I is, on principle, far too half-hearted to justify an inference that its principles have been so widely accepted as to qualify them as rules of customary international law. The reasons for this are, I imagine, not far to seek. For those States which are contending with “peoples[’]” struggles for self-determination, adoption of the Protocol may prove awkward. For liberation movements who rely on strategies of urban terror for achieving their aims the terms of the Protocol, with its emphasis on the protection of civilians, may prove disastrously restrictive. I therefore do not find it altogether surprising that Mr Donen was unable to refer me to any statement in the published literature that Protocol I has attained the status o[f] customary international [law].
I have not been persuaded by the arguments which I have heard on behalf of the accused that the assessment of Professor Dugard, writing in the Annual Survey of South African Law (1983) at 66, that “it is argued with growing conviction that under contemporary international law members of SWAPO [South-West Africa People’s Organisation] and the ANC [African National Congress] are members of liberation movements entitled to prisoner-of-war status, in terms of a new customary rule spawned by the 1977 Protocols”, is correct. On what I have heard in argument I disagree with his assessment that there is growing support for the view that the Protocols reflect a new rule of customary international law. No writer has been cited who supports this proposition. Here and there someone says that it may one day come about. I am not sure that the provisions relating to the field of application of Protocol I are capable of ever becoming a rule of customary international law, but I need not decide that point today.
For the reasons which I have given I have concluded that the provisions of Protocol I have not been accepted in customary international law. They accordingly form no part of South African law.
This conclusion has made it unnecessary for me to give a decision on the question of whether rules of customary international law which conflict with the statutory or common law of this country will be enforced by its courts.
In the result, the preliminary point is dismissed. The trial must proceed. 
South Africa, Supreme Court, Petane case, Judgment, 3 November 1987, pp. 2–8.
In 2010, in the Boeremag case, South Africa’s North Gauteng High Court stated:
In Petane, … Conradie J found that the provisions of [the 1977 Additional] Protocol I are not part of customary international law, and therefore are also not part of South African law.
Referring to the fact that in December 1986 only 66 of the 165 States party to the Geneva Conventions had ratified Protocol I, the Court [in Petane] stated:
This approach of the world community to Protocol I is, on principle, far too half-hearted to justify an inference that its principles have been so widely accepted as to qualify them as rules of customary international law. The reasons for this are, I imagine, not far to seek. For those States which are contending with “peoples[’]” struggles for self-determination, adoption of the Protocol may prove awkward. For liberation movements who rely on strategies of urban terror for achieving their aims the terms of the Protocol, with its emphasis on the protection of civilians, may prove disastrously restrictive. I therefore do not find it altogether surprising that Mr Donen was unable to refer me to any statement in the published literature that Protocol I has attained the status of customary international law.
Important changes with respect to certain aspects applicable at the time of Petane have taken place. The ANC [African National Congress] has become South Africa’s ruling party and in 1995 ratified Protocol I. The total number of States that have ratified it, is now … 162.
This last aspect forms the basis on which the First Respondent [the State] and the applicants agree that Protocol I forms part of customary international law as well as of South African law. As requested, this position is accepted for the purposes of the decision, without deciding on the matter.
Despite these changes, it remains debatable whether the provisions of Protocol I have become a part of South African law in this way.
The consensus of both parties to the conflict is required. See Petane … and Article 96 of Protocol I. …
Parliament’s failure to incorporate Protocol I into legislation in accordance with Article 231(4) of the Constitution in fact points to the contrary, and is indicative that the requirements of usus and/or opinio juris have not been met. See Petane. 
South Africa, North Gauteng High Court, Boeremag case, Judgment, 26 August 2010, pp. 21–22.
[footnotes in original omitted]
The Court also held:
If the [1977 Additional Protocol I] applies in South Africa as customary international law, the two requirements that form the basis of customary law must be met. It is arguable that the requirement of usus has been met by the vast number of States that have acceded or ratified it. By ratifying Protocol I the Republic of South Africa has indicated its intention to apply the Protocol, thereby fulfilling the requirement of opinio juris. 
South Africa, North Gauteng High Court, Boeremag case, Judgment, 26 August 2010, p. 66.
South Africa’s LOAC Manual (1996) states: “Soldiers who have surrendered or who are in the control of the enemy … must be protected.” 
South Africa, Presentation on the South African Approach to International Humanitarian Law, Appendix A, Chapter 4: International Humanitarian Law (The Law of Armed Conflict), National Defence Force, 1996, § 30.
South Africa’s Revised Civic Education Manual (2004) states: “Treatment of POWs [prisoners of war] must always be humane.” 
South Africa, Revised Civic Education Manual, South African National Defence Force, 2004, Chapter 4, § 77.
The manual also provides that prisoners of war are entitled to “[p]rotection against abuse”. 
South Africa, Revised Civic Education Manual, South African National Defence Force, 2004, Chapter 4, § 74.
Furthermore, the manual provides that the mistreatment of prisoners of war is a grave breach of the law of armed conflict and a war crime. 
South Africa, Revised Civic Education Manual, South African National Defence Force, 2004, Chapter 4, § 57.
South Africa’s LOAC Teaching Manual (2008) states:
1.2 Reasons for compliance with LOAC [law of armed conflict] and basic principles thereof.
Fundamental Norms and Values (rules)
The fundamental norms/val[u]es which underlie the LOAC are:
- Persons who are hors de combat (out of combat) and those who do not take a direct part in hostilities are entitled to respect for their lives and their moral and physical integrity. They must in all circumstances be protected and treated humanely without any adverse distinction.
- Captured combatants and civilians under the authority of an adverse party are entitled to respect for their lives, dignity, personal rights and convictions. They must be protected against all acts of violence and retaliation. …
- All persons who are captured or under the authority of an adverse party are entitled to, as a minimum, the protection and guarantees bestowed upon prisoners of war (POW).
1.3 Relationship between LOAC and Human Rights Law and Fundamental Protection Provided under LOAC.
Fundamental Protection under the LOAC
The LOAC grants fundamental protection to persons and objects other than combatants and military objectives. This protection applies to all persons in the power of belligerent parties and neutral states. The protection corresponds to basic humanitarian principles applicable to most nations.
The legal basis for this fundamental protection is found in international treaties.
Examples of the wording of these fundamental rules are:
- POWs must at all times be humanely treated ([1949] Geneva Convention III article 13).
1.5 Application of LOAC during armed conflict []to the position of participants and non-participants
- Minimum Protection of Persons Who Participated in Hostilities. Article 45.3 read with article 75.1 Additional Protocol I determines that any person who has taken part in hostilities and any other person who is in the power of a Party to a conflict, who is not entitled [to] POW status and who does not benefit from more favourable treatment under the Conventions and the Protocol shall be treated humanely and shall enjoy, as a minimum, the protection of fundamental judicial guarantees without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.
Conclusion
Any person in the power of a Party to a conflict, who is not entitled [to] POW status and who does not benefit from more favourable treatment under the LOAC shall be treated humanely and shall enjoy, as a minimum, the protection of fundamental judicial guarantees without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria. 
South Africa, Advanced Law of Armed Conflict Teaching Manual, School of Military Justice, 1 April 2008, as amended to 25 October 2013, Learning Unit 1, pp. 13, 16–17, 21, 23, 36 and 40–41.
The manual also states:
Treatment of POW
POW must be treated humanely in all circumstances. …
While awaiting evacuation to a base camp, captured combatants shall:
- be protected against violence, insult and intimidation;
The wounded, sick and shipwrecked POW shall always be treated humanely and be protected and cared for as the tactical situation allows.
POW must be protected against all acts of violence, intimidation and public curiosity.
Conclusion
From the moment combatant[]s fall into the power of an enemy, they are entitled to protection as POW. They shall always be treated humanely.
POW must be treated humanely in all circumstances. 
South Africa, Advanced Law of Armed Conflict Teaching Manual, School of Military Justice, 1 April 2008, as amended to 25 October 2013, Learning Unit 2, pp. 95 and 100–101.
South Africa’s Implementation of the Geneva Conventions Act (2012) states: “A protected prisoner of war who is in the custody of the South African National Defence Force must be granted the protection of the [1949] Third [Geneva] Convention or the [1949] Fourth [Geneva] Convention, as the case may be.” 
South Africa, Implementation of the Geneva Conventions Act, 2012, Section 12(2).
The Act defines a “protected prisoner of war” as a “person protected by the Third Convention or a person who is protected as a prisoner of war under [the 1977 Additional] Protocol I”. 
South Africa, Implementation of the Geneva Conventions Act, 2012, Section 1.