Practice Relating to Rule 114. Return of the Remains and Personal Effects of the Dead

Geneva Convention (1929)
Article 4, third paragraph, of the 1929 Geneva Convention provides that belligerents shall “collect and transmit to each other all articles of a personal nature found on the field of battle or on the dead”. 
Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armies in the Field, Geneva, 27 July 1929, Article 4, third para.
Geneva Convention I
Article 16, fourth paragraph, of the 1949 Geneva Convention I provides that parties to the conflict shall “collect and forward through the [Information Bureau] … money and in general all articles of an intrinsic or sentimental value, which are found on the dead”. 
Convention (I) for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field, Geneva, 12 August 1949, Article 16, fourth para.
Geneva Convention II
Article 19, third paragraph, of the 1949 Geneva Convention II provides that parties to the conflict shall “collect and forward through the [Information Bureau] … money and in general all articles of an intrinsic or sentimental value, which are found on the dead”. 
Convention (II) for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea, Geneva, 12 August 1949, Article 19, third para.
Geneva Convention III
Article 122, ninth paragraph, of the 1949 Geneva Convention III provides:
The Information Bureau shall furthermore be charged with collecting all personal valuables, including sums in currencies other than that of the Detaining Power and documents of importance to the next of kin, left by prisoners of war who have … died, and shall forward the said valuables to the Powers concerned. 
Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, Geneva, 12 August 1949, Article 122.
Geneva Convention IV
Article 139 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV provides:
Each National Information Bureau shall, furthermore, be responsible for collecting all personal valuables left by [any protected persons who are kept in custody for more than two weeks, who are subjected to assigned residence or who are interned], in particular those who have … died; it shall forward the said valuables to those concerned, either direct, or, if necessary, through the Central Agency. 
Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, Geneva, 12 August 1949, Article 139.
Additional Protocol I
Article 34(2)(c) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I provides that as soon “as the circumstances and the relations between the adverse Parties permit, … [they] shall conclude agreements in order … to facilitate the return of the personal effects of the deceased”. 
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), Geneva, 8 June 1977, Article 34(2)(c). Article 34 was adopted by consensus. CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.37, 24 May 1977, p. 71.
NATO Standardization Agreement 2070
The 1999 NATO Standardization Agreement 2070 provides:
18. With the exception of deceased United States personnel, all personal effects (including all personal and official papers) are removed from the remains and placed in a suitable receptacle. One identification tag/disc must be buried with the corpse. The second identification tag/disc, or the removable part, is placed in the receptacle with the personal effects. In the case of United States personnel, all personal effects and one identification tag are buried with the remains …
19. An inventory is to be made of the personal effects, checked and signed by an officer, and dispatched with the receptacle containing the personal effects. 
Standardization Agreement 2070, Edition 4, Emergency War Burial Procedures, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Military Agency for Standardization, Brussels, 6 April 1999, §§ 18–19.
Oxford Manual
Article 20 of the 1880 Oxford Manual provides: “The articles … collected from the dead of the enemy are transmitted to its army or government.” 
The Laws of War on Land, adopted by the Institute of International Law, Oxford, 9 September 1880, Article 20.
Argentina
Argentina’s Law of War Manual (1989) provides that “last wills or other documents of importance to the family of the dead, money and in general all objects of an intrinsic or sentimental value which are found on the dead” shall be transmitted to the other party through its national Information Bureau. 
Argentina, Leyes de Guerra, PC-08-01, Público, Edición 1989, Estado Mayor Conjunto de las Fuerzas Armadas, aprobado por Resolución No. 489/89 del Ministerio de Defensa, 23 April 1990, § 6.03.
Belgium
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: “collecting and transmitting all personal valuables, including money and documents useful to the next of kin, left by the prisoners of war who have been repatriated, released, escaped or died”. 
Belgium, Structure et fonctionnement du Bureau de Renseignements sur les prisonniers de guerre, Procédure spécifique, Ministère de la Défense, 2007, p. 8, § 7(f).
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The Specific Procedure further provides:
a. The PWIB shall furthermore be charged with collecting and forwarding to the States concerned all personal valuables, including sums of money and documents of importance to the next of kin, left by prisoners of war who have … died.
h. Likewise, the PWIB is to follow an identical procedure to remit to the family of a Belgian PW [prisoner of war] who … has … died, all valuables that the latter has left and that the CTA [Central Tracing Agency] or any other body has returned, except for strictly military articles. These shall be forwarded to the unit of the individual concerned, which should then return them to the family if the said articles prove to be of a personal nature. 
Belgium, Structure et fonctionnement du Bureau de Renseignements sur les prisonniers de guerre, Procédure spécifique, Ministère de la Défense, 2007, pp. 11–12, § 14(a) and (h).
Benin
Benin’s Military Manual (1995) states: “Personal effects [of the dead] shall be collected and evacuated.” 
Benin, Le Droit de la Guerre, III fascicules, Forces Armées du Bénin, Ministère de la Défense nationale, 1995, Fascicule II, p. 13.
The manual further states: “Identity cards and personal effects of the deceased shall be sent to superiors.” 
Benin, Le Droit de la Guerre, III fascicules, Forces Armées du Bénin, Ministère de la Défense nationale, 1995, Fascicule III, p. 6.
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (1992) provides: “Personal effects of the dead shall be evacuated.” 
Cameroon, Droit international humanitaire et droit de la guerre, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les Forces Armées , Présidence de la République, Ministère de la Défense, Etat-major des Armées, Troisième Division, Edition 1992, p. 44, § 163(2).
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (2006), under the heading “The Dead”, states: “The … personal effects must be evacuated. A report must be written about the deceased and the measures subsequently taken.” 
Cameroon, Droit des conflits armés et droit international humanitaire, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les forces de défense, Ministère de la Défense, Présidence de la République, Etat-major des Armées, 2006, p. 122, § 403; see also p. 164, § 463.
Chad
Chad’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) states: “Facilities must be provided for the … personal effects [of the deceased] to be returned to their country of origin.” 
Chad, Droit international humanitaire, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les forces armées et de sécurité, Ministère de la Défense, Présidence de la République, Etat-major des Armées, 2006, p. 94.
Croatia
Croatia’s LOAC Compendium (1991) provides that one of the measures required after a conflict is to return personal effects of the dead. 
Croatia, Compendium “Law of Armed Conflicts”, Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Defence, 1991, p. 21.
Croatia
Croatia’s Commanders’ Manual (1992) states: “Personal effects of the dead shall be collected and evacuated to the rear.” 
Croatia, Basic Rules of the Law of Armed Conflicts – Commanders’ Manual, Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Defence, 1992, § 76; see also LOAC Compendium (1991), p. 21.
France
France’s LOAC Summary Note (1992) provides: “The belongings of the dead must be collected and evacuated to the rear.” 
France, Fiche de Synthèse sur les Règles Applicables dans les Conflits Armés, Note No. 432/DEF/EMA/OL.2/NP, Général de Corps d’Armée Voinot (pour l’Amiral Lanxade, Chef d’Etat-major des Armées), 1992, § 2.1.
France
France’s LOAC Teaching Note (2000) provides that the personal effects of the dead “shall be collected and transferred to the rear. They shall be returned to the family if it claims them.” 
France, Fiche didactique relative au droit des conflits armés, Directive of the Ministry of Defence, 4 January 2000, annexed to the Directive No. 147 of the Ministry of Defence of 4 January 2000, p. 3.
Hungary
Hungary’s Military Manual (1992) provides that one of the requirements after a conflict is the return of the personal effects of the dead. 
Hungary, A Hadijog, Jegyzet a Katonai, Föiskolák Hallgatói Részére, Magyar Honvédség Szolnoki Repülötiszti Föiskola, 1992, p. 38.
Israel
Israel’s Manual on the Laws of War (1998) states: “It is incumbent on each party to … hand over to the other side half of the dog-tag worn by the fallen soldier as well as his personal effects.” 
Israel, Laws of War in the Battlefield, Manual, Military Advocate General Headquarters, Military School, 1998, p. 61.
Israel
Israel’s Manual on the Rules of Warfare (2006) states: “Each side has the duty to record details of the fallen and details of the death, and to send to the other side half the identity tag worn by the fallen, his personal possessions and the death certificate.” 
Israel, Rules of Warfare on the Battlefield, Military Advocate-General’s Corps Command, IDF School of Military Law, Second Edition, 2006, p. 39.
The Manual on the Rules of Warfare (2006) is a second edition of the Manual on the Laws of War (1998).
Kenya
Kenya’s LOAC Manual (1997) states: “Personal effects [of the dead] shall be collected and evacuated.” 
Kenya, Law of Armed Conflict, Military Basic Course (ORS), 4 Précis, The School of Military Police, 1997, Précis No. 3, p. 12.
Madagascar
Madagascar’s Military Manual (1994) provides: “The personal effects of the deceased shall be collected and evacuated to the rear.” 
Madagascar, Le Droit des Conflits Armés, Ministère des Forces Armées, August 1994, Fiche No. 7-O, § 23.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands provides that the parties to the conflict shall conclude agreements in order to “facilitate the return of the personal effects of the deceased to the home country”. 
Netherlands, Toepassing Humanitair Oorlogsrecht, Voorschift No. 27-412/1, Koninklijke Landmacht, Ministerie van Defensie, 1993, p. VI-3.
Netherlands
The Military Handbook (1995) of the Netherlands provides: “The property of the dead may not be confiscated or destroyed.” 
Netherlands, Handboek Militair, Ministerie van Defensie, 1995, p. 7-37.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states:
As soon as circumstances and the relations between the parties to the conflict permit, the parties whose territory contains graves of persons who died during the conflict must conclude agreements in order:
- to facilitate the return of the remains and personal effects to the country of origin. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0610.
Nigeria
Nigeria’s Manual on the Laws of War provides: “Money and articles of personal or sentimental value found on the dead must be forwarded to the enemy.” 
Nigeria, The Laws of War, by Lt. Col. L. Ode PSC, Nigerian Army, Lagos, undated, § 35.
Peru
Peru’s IHL Manual (2004) states: “Efforts must be made to facilitate the return of the … personal effects [of the deceased] to their country of origin.” 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial Nº 1394-2004-DE/CCFFAA/CDIH-FFAA, Lima, 1 December 2004, § 68.c.
Peru
Peru’s IHL and Human Rights Manual (2010) states: “Efforts must be made to facilitate the return of … the personal effects [of the deceased] to their country of origin.” 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario y Derechos Humanos para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial No. 049-2010/DE/VPD, Lima, 21 May 2010, § 69(c), p. 269.
Poland
Poland’s Procedures Governing the Interment of Soldiers Killed in Action (2009) states:
2.6.1 Personal effects belonging to deceased United States nationals
All personal effects should remain with the body.
2.6.2 Personal effects belonging to deceased persons of other nationalities
All personal effects belonging to deceased persons of other nationalities, together with the relevant documents, should be archived and stored securely.
Personal effects belonging to deceased members of enemy forces shall be sent to the Information Bureau of the Polish Red Cross, in accordance with the regulations of the state in which the burial is performed.
The personal effects of deceased members of NATO allied forces shall be sent on by the Records Office to the relevant offices in those countries.
If it is not possible to establish the personal details of the deceased, their personal effects, and half of their identity tag shall be sent to the Records Office. 
Poland, Norma Obronna NO-02-A053:2004, Działania wojenne Procedury pochówku poległych i zmarłych, enacted by decision No. 134/MON related to the Approval and Enforcement of Regulatory Instruments in Respect of State Defence and Security, 21 April 2009, published in the Official Gazette of the Ministry of National Defence, No. 8, Item 99, April 2009, Section 2.6.
Russian Federation
The Russian Federation’s Regulations on the Application of IHL (2001) provides:
After the burial, a proper statement shall be drawn up containing a description of the burial site (its precise coordinates), with enclosed lists of identified bodies, and specifying the number of unidentified bodies and their description. The statement shall be made in two copies.
The burial statement and the lists of the dead shall be certified by the signature of a person in charge of the burial, stamped with the official seal of the military unit (organization) and confirmed by the superior commander.
The first copy of the burial statement, as well as the first copies of the inventory of the personal effects of the deceased and a cover letter, shall be sent to the army’s headquarters. As soon as circumstances permit and at the latest at the end of hostilities, the second copy of the statement with the enclosures and the parcels containing the personal effects of the deceased shall be handed over through international channels to the competent authorities of the adverse party. 
Russian Federation, Regulations on the Application of International Humanitarian Law by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, Moscow, 8 August 2001, § 169.
Senegal
Senegal’s IHL Manual (1999) provides that, in situations of internal troubles, the personal effects of the dead shall be collected and evacuated with the dead body. 
Senegal, Le DIH adapté au contexte des opérations de maintien de l’ordre, République du Sénégal, Ministère des Forces Armées, Haut Commandement de la Gendarmerie et Direction de la Justice Militaire, Cabinet, 1999, p. 18, § 6.
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) stipulates that personal belongings, identity tags and any last will left by the deceased must be sent to the national Information Bureau. 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Publicación OR7-004, 2 Tomos, aprobado por el Estado Mayor del Ejército, Division de Operaciones, 18 March 1996, Vol. I, § 5.2.d.(6).
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states: “Efforts must be made to facilitate the return of the … personal effects [of the deceased] to their country of origin”. Such personal effects “must be sent to the national information bureau”. Specifically mentioned personal effects for return include: “identity cards” and “last wills and any other documents of importance to the next of kin, money and, in general, all objects of an intrinsic or sentimental value found on the body”. 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Tomo 1, Publicación OR7–004, (Edición Segunda), Mando de Adiestramiento y Doctrina, Dirección de Doctrina, Orgánica y Materiales, 2 November 2007, § 5.2.d.(6); see also § 6.2.b.(3).
Togo
Togo’s Military Manual (1996) provides: “Personal effects [of the dead] shall be collected and evacuated.” 
Togo, Le Droit de la Guerre, III fascicules, Etat-major Général des Forces Armées Togolaises, Ministère de la Défense nationale, 1996, Fascicule II, p. 13.
It further specifies: “Identity cards shall be evacuated. One half of the identity card shall remain on the corpse, the other half shall be evacuated.” 
Togo, Le Droit de la Guerre, III fascicules, Etat-major Général des Forces Armées Togolaises, Ministère de la Défense nationale, 1996, Fascicule II, p. 12.
Ukraine
Ukraine’s IHL Manual (2004) states:
Personal belongings of the deceased servicemen shall be sent to their relatives who have the right of hereditary succession. Items of military uniform clothing (except for the organizational items) belonging to officers and warrant officers shall be sent to relatives together with personal belongings. Items belonging to rank and file (sergeants and privates) shall be returned to the military units inventories. 
Ukraine, Manual on the Application of IHL Rules, Ministry of Defence, 11 September 2004, § 2.5.3.4.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK Military Manual (1958) provides: “The belligerents must also forward to each other through … [the information] bureau … last wills or other documents of importance to the next of kin; money and all articles of an intrinsic or sentimental value which are found on the dead”. 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 382.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states:
Looting is an offence under the Service Discipline Acts. The personal effects of the dead should be collected in identifiable packets and sent with any available identity disc to the information bureau. The personal effects that are particularly envisaged here are money, all items of intrinsic or sentimental value and last wills or other documents of importance to the next of kin. Articles other than personal effects, such as military equipment, found upon the dead of a hostile party to an armed conflict become the public property of the finding party, that is the property of the government, not of the individuals or unit capturing them. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 7.34.
United States of America
The US Field Manual (1956) provides that parties to the conflict shall “collect and forward through the … [information] bureau one half of the double identity disc, last wills or other documents of importance to the next of kin, money and in general all articles of an intrinsic or sentimental value, which are found on the dead”. 
United States, Field Manual 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare, US Department of the Army, 18 July 1956, as modified by Change No. 1, 15 July 1976, § 217.
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan’s Law concerning the Protection of Civilian Persons and the Rights of Prisoners of War (1995) provides:
The appropriate authorities and governmental bodies of the Azerbaijan Republic shall ensure that the necessary measures be taken … to return back … personal property [of the dead] following a request from the parties and close relatives of the dead persons. 
Azerbaijan, Law concerning the Protection of Civilian Persons and the Rights of Prisoners of War, 1995, Article 29(5).
Bangladesh
Bangladesh’s International Crimes (Tribunal) Act (1973) states that the “violation of any humanitarian rules applicable in armed conflicts laid down in the Geneva Conventions of 1949” is a crime. 
Bangladesh, International Crimes (Tribunal) Act, 1973, Section 3(2)(e).
Denmark
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (1973), as amended in 1978, provides:
Any person who uses war instruments or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or the general rules of international law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. a fine, lenient imprisonment or up to 12 years’ imprisonment]. 
Denmark, Military Criminal Code, 1973, as amended in 1978, § 25(1).
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (2005) provides:
Any person who deliberately uses war means [“krigsmiddel”] or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or international customary law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. imprisonment up to life imprisonment]. 
Denmark, Military Criminal Code, 2005, § 36(2).
Ireland
Ireland’s Geneva Conventions Act (1962), as amended in 1998, provides that any “minor breach” of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, including violations of Article 16 of the Geneva Convention I, Article 19 of the Geneva Convention II, Article 122 of the Geneva Convention III and Article 139 of the Geneva Convention IV, and of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, including violations of Article 34(2)(c), are punishable offences. 
Ireland, Geneva Conventions Act, 1962, as amended in 1998, Section 4(1) and (4).
Italy
Italy’s Law of War Decree (1938), as amended in 1992, provides: “The objects of personal use belonging to enemy dead on the battlefield shall be collected and kept safely.” 
Italy, Law of War Decree, 1938, as amended in 1992, Article 94.
Norway
Norway’s Military Penal Code (1902), as amended in 1981, provides:
Anyone who contravenes or is accessory to the contravention of provisions relating to the protection of persons or property laid down in … the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 … [and in] the two additional protocols to these Conventions … is liable to imprisonment.  
Norway, Military Penal Code, 1902, as amended in 1981, § 108.
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UN Commission of Experts Established pursuant to Security Council Resolution 780 (1992)
In 1994, in its final report on grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and other violations of IHL committed in the former Yugoslavia, the UN Commission of Experts Established pursuant to Security Council Resolution 780 (1992) noted: “For every deceased person who falls into the hands of the adverse party, the adverse party must … forward … personal effects to the appropriate parties.” 
UN Commission of Experts Established pursuant to Security Council Resolution 780, 1992, Final report, Annex Summaries and Conclusions, UN Doc. S/1994/674/Add.2 (Vol. I), 31 May 1995, § 503(b).
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ICRC
To fulfil its task of disseminating IHL, the ICRC has delegates around the world teaching armed and security forces that the “return of … [the] personal effects [of the deceased] to the home State shall be facilitated”. 
Frédéric de Mulinen, Handbook on the Law of War for Armed Forces, ICRC, Geneva, 1987, §§ 262 and 739.
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