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Are there rules for POWs in war?

What does the Geneva Convention say about the treatment of prisoners of war?

SAMAA | - Posted: Feb 28, 2019 | Last Updated: 3 years ago
Posted: Feb 28, 2019 | Last Updated: 3 years ago

What does the Geneva Convention say about the treatment of prisoners of war?

Photo: AFP

Pakistan captured an Indian Air Force pilot after it shot down his fighter jet for entering Pakistani territory Wednesday morning. The identity of the pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, has been made public.

But how exactly are we supposed to treat him?

The Third Geneva Convention, which all countries in the United Nations are bound to follow, says that prisoners of war (POWs) must be treated humanely.

Related: Pakistan Air Force shoots down two Indian fighter jets: one pilot arrested

“Prisoners of war must at all times be humanely treated. Any unlawful act or omission by the Detaining Power causing death or seriously endangering the health of a prisoner of war in its custody is prohibited, and will be regarded as a serious breach of the present Convention,” reads Article 13 of the convention.

It says no POW may be subjected to “physical mutilation” and must be protected at all times, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity. Public curiosity includes anything that has an impact on the prisoners’ ‘honour” and consequences for them and their family, the photographer’s intention and whether the footage was routine or staged.

Related: Watch: Pilot captured by Pakistan Air Force confirms he is from India

A draft resolution by the International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Society called on states to ensure POWs aren’t individually recognisable in footage made public and ensure no recordings of POWs making statements are permitted.

According to Article 17, every prisoner of war, when questioned on the subject, is bound to give only his surname, first names and rank, date of birth, and army, regimental, personal or serial number, or failing this, equivalent information. Wing Commander Varthaman did so in a video. Indian media outlets revealed more details of him, as well pictures of his family.

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  1. Zafar Khan  February 28, 2019 12:48 pm/ Reply

    There’s no declared “war” going on between Pakistan and India. Rules of Geneva Convention are not applied to Wing Commander Abhinandan & Commander Kalbhushan Jadev. They are not supposed to be POWs, but are infiltrators. They violated Pakistani boundries with ulterior motives. Wing Commander was on a fighter jet plane. He iwas not operating an UBER to drop a ride.

    • Happys z  February 28, 2019 2:45 pm/ Reply

      Then you don’t know what is Geneva convention is.

    • Anonymous  February 28, 2019 3:39 pm/ Reply

      Zafar Khan – Well said! He should be treated as an infiltrator – but humanely under the rules of our Faith.

  2. maut  February 28, 2019 2:01 pm/ Reply

    Ok… We would be sending our army to get him back…
    Could you really stop them… Seriously

  3. ConcernedNetizen  February 28, 2019 2:56 pm/ Reply

    @Zafar: the definition of war as per Geneva conventions is what matters, not your personal definition.

  4. Yasir  February 28, 2019 11:05 pm/ Reply

    What are the rules to release POWs?
    What procedure be opted to release POWs?

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