Practice Relating to Rule 118. Provision of Basic Necessities to Persons Deprived of Their Liberty
Switzerland’s Basic Military Manual (1987) provides that prisoners of war “shall be quartered under conditions as favourable as those for the forces of the Detaining Power”.
The manual states: “Their daily food shall be sufficient in quantity, quality and variety to keep prisoners of war in good health. Account shall be taken of the habitual diet of the prisoners.”
The manual also states: “Prisoners of war shall be provided with appropriate clothes and shoes, which shall take into account the climate and the nature of work demands.”
In addition, the manual states: “Prisoners of war shall be allowed to receive individual or collective parcels.”
Switzerland’s Regulation on Legal Bases for Conduct during an Engagement (2005) states:
189 The final legal status of captured persons is determined by a military tribunal and not by the military unit that took them prisoner. Therefore, the troops treat captured persons with the same respect and in accordance with the same rules as prisoners of war, even when their status is uncertain.
190 Prisoners are entitled to receive drinking water, food, clothing, accommodation and medical care.
192 In case of severe illness or injury, a physician must be consulted as quickly as possible. …
193 Detailed provisions regarding prisoner camps are notably laid down in the Geneva Convention relative to the treatment of prisoners of war (Geneva Convention III).
In 2012, Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs issued a press release entitled “Switzerland is concerned about the situation of the Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike”, which stated:
Switzerland is concerned about the situation of the Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike. It calls on the responsible authorities to take the necessary measures to allow the hunger strikers to be medically monitored and receive medical care. Switzerland takes this opportunity to recall the obligations on States to respect international humanitarian law and human rights, in particular with regard to conditions of detention.