Practice Related to Rule 95. Forced Labour
In its judgement in the Arklöf case in 2006, Sweden’s Stockholm District Court stated:
The situation whereby the prisoners were used in work of a degrading and humiliating nature is in conflict with Geneva Convention 4 article 95 … The international law rules that have been violated all have customary status. This relates to serious violations of the international humanitarian rules.
Sweden’s IHL Manual (1991) provides:
According to [the 1949 Geneva Convention IV], an occupying power may not compel protected persons to serve in its armed forces or auxiliary organizations. It is likewise forbidden to use any pressure to persuade persons to enlist voluntarily in the forces of the occupying power.
The manual adds: “The Convention also states that protected persons may not be compelled to perform any work which would involve them in the obligation of taking part in military operations.”
The manual further stipulates: “The status of protected persons also entails the advantage that this category of refugees cannot be compelled to serve in the armed forces of the occupying power ([Geneva Convention IV], Art. 51).”
The manual also provides that “compelling a protected person to serve in the armed forces of the hostile power” is a grave breach of the 1949 Geneva Conventions.
Sweden’s Penal Code (1962), as amended in 1998, provides that compelling prisoners of war or civilian persons to serve in the armed forces of the enemy is a crime against international law.