Practice Relating to Rule 118. Provision of Basic Necessities to Persons Deprived of Their Liberty
Australia’s Commanders’ Guide (1994) provides: “PW [prisoners of war] must at all times receive adequate medical attention, food, clothing and accommodation.”
Under the manual, the same rule applies to captured enemy combatants, who should be treated as being entitled to prisoner-of-war status.
Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) states: “Food must be sufficient to keep prisoners in good health, and the customs and normal diet of PW [prisoners of war] must be taken into account, i.e. PW dietary practices and customs must be accommodated if possible.”
The manual adds: “Clothing, underwear and footwear must be sufficient and take into account the climate of the region where the PW is detained.”
The manual further states: “Medical personnel of the PW are to be made available to attend to PW.”
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) states:
10.30 Upon capture, any urgent or necessary medical treatment should be provided. If medical personnel or facilities are scarce they should be applied according to strict medical triage. The most gravely wounded or sick are to be given priority, irrespective of whether they are PW [prisoners of war] or soldiers of the capturing force. Immediate shelter, clothing and accommodation are to be provided and evacuation to a PW camp should be undertaken as soon as possible.
Quarters, food and clothing
10.37 Housing. PW must be housed under conditions as favourable as those applicable to members of the detaining power housed in the same area.
10.38 Food. Food must be sufficient to keep prisoners in good health and the customs and normal diet of PW must be taken into account, ie PW dietary practices and customs must be accommodated if possible.
10.39 Clothing. Clothing, underwear and footwear must be sufficient and take into account the climate of the region where the PW is detained.
Medical and hygiene
10.40 The detaining power is bound to take all sanitary measures to ensure cleanliness of and health within the camps and to prevent epidemics. Every PW camp must have an infirmary.
10.41 Medical personnel of the PW are to be made available to attend to PW. Special facilities are to be made available for the care of the disabled, in particular the blind, and for the rehabilitation of those PW, pending repatriation. PW whose condition necessitates special treatment must be admitted to any civilian or military unit where such treatment can be given. PW cannot be prevented from seeking medical attention.
Religious, intellectual and physical activities
10.42 PW are completely free to exercise their religious duties and must be provided with adequate premises where religious services can be held. Chaplains retained by the enemy power are not PW and must be permitted to minister to PW.
10.43 The detaining power must encourage intellectual, educational and recreational pursuits, sports and games and provide adequate premises and equipment for that purpose.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
Australia’s War Crimes Act (1945) states that “the expression ‘war crime’ includes the following: … failure to provide prisoners of war or internees with proper medical care, food or quarters”.