Practice Relating to Rule 87. Humane Treatment
Section D. Persons deprived of their liberty
Germany’s Military Manual (1992) states: “Unlawful combatants do, however, have a legitimate claim to certain fundamental guarantees, including the right to humane treatment.” It also states that civilian “internees shall be treated humanely”.
The manual further provides that captured combatants shall be treated with dignity and their person and honour respected.
Germany’s Soldiers’ Manual (2006) states: “Prisoners of war are entitled to treatment consistent with human dignity, in particular to respect for their persons and their honour.”
In 2005, in a reply to a question by a Member of the Bundestag (Lower House of Parliament), a German Minister of State, Federal Foreign Office, wrote:
How does the Federal Government assess the legal view of the United States that so-called unlawful combatants are not entitled to the rights according to the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Convention?
As is known, the status of the detainees of the United States in Guantanamo and at other places is contentious. The Federal Government is still of the view that, independent of a subsequent status definition, these detainees are to be treated like prisoners of war, i.e. in compliance with international humanitarian law. This comprises: humane treatment, respect for their persons and their honour, protection against acts of violence and intimidation, …. The Federal Government also adheres to its view that the status of the detainees, contentious under international law, requires clarification and an expeditious solution.
In 2006, in reply to a minor interpellation in the Bundestag (Lower House of Parliament) entitled “Deployment of the Federal Armed Forces in the framework of ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’”, Germany’s Federal Government wrote:
36. What are the rules of engagement the members of the Federal Navy deployed at the Horn of Africa are subject to in relation to the handling of detainees?
As regards the deployment of the navy forces, questions regarding the detention of persons are subject to the decision by the Federal Ministry of Defence in the individual case. In line with the general instructions to the German armed forces, according to the principles of international humanitarian law and human rights standards detained persons would in all circumstances need to be treated humanely.