Application of the Geneva Conventions to Internment and Resettlement Operations
12 February 2010
and may be provided as incentives. The common diet of detainees during the beginning of major
combat operations can be stripped-down meals, ready-to-eat (the main meal and side dishes), but
no sweets. Ensure that detainee rations are consistent with Soldier meals. For example, as a
theater matures, conditions improve, and Soldiers and personnel operating the facility are
provided three hot meals per day, then detainees should also be provided (three hot meals if
possible) at least two hot meals and one cold meal per day.
Provide adequate water (Article 89, GC; Article 26, GPW). Ensure that detainees have
enough water to drink, wash with and, in some cases, do laundry. This does not include coffee,
tea, or juice. Potable water should be at room temperature potable.
Provide adequate shelter (Article 85, GC; Article 25, GPW). Ensure that detainees have
shelter from the elements that is consistent with the level of shelter provided for Soldiers and
personnel operating the facility. A hard-site shelter is not required, but protection from threats
(mortars, rockets, improvised explosive devices) must be provided to protect detainees.
Provide adequate medical care (Article 91, GC; Article 30, GPW). Ensure that detainees
receive adequate medical and dental care that is consistent with the level of care provided for
Soldiers and personnel operating the facility. Treatment can include mental health care,
particularly with respect to suicidal detainees. Modern conflicts (focused on stability operations)
do not result in the previously typical population of EPWs. Modern conflict result in detainees of
all ages, both male and female. Special attention is required to address geriatric conditions,
diabetes, self-inflicted injuries, and other unusual health conditions.
Provide sufficient clothing for the climate (Article 90, GC; Article 27, GPW). EPWs who
are captured while wearing military uniforms will be provided adequate clothing to replace their
uniforms. Any person detained in civilian clothing must be provided clothing only if their
clothing is inadequate or if the facility commander directs that jumpsuits or other uniforms be
Provide adequate hygiene facilities (Article 85, GC; Article 29, GPW). Detainees must be
allowed to wash, shower, and brush their teeth regularly. They should be allowed to wash their
clothes or be provided with clean clothes on a regular basis. To prevent health risks within the
detention facility, ensure that detainees stay clean, using force if necessary.
Protect detainee property (Article 97, GC; Article 18, GPW). If detainee property is taken
(retained), it must be annotated on DA Form 4137 and a copy of the form given to the detainee
as a receipt. When the detainee is released, he or she will be allowed to file a claim for anything
that is missing. Evidence chain of custody is important, especially if the individual is to be
prosecuted by U.S. or HN officials. Detainees are sometimes allowed to keep family pictures
and are usually allowed to keep religious literature and paraphernalia. Refer to the local SOP for
Protect detainees from public curiosity (Article 27, GC; Article 13, GPW). Tours of the
facility will be allowed for official purposes only, and consistent with DOD policy. Photographs
will be taken for official purposes only.
Allow detainees the freedom to exercise religion (Article 93, GC; Article 34, GPW). At a
basic level, detainees are allowed to practice religion, but are not necessarily facilitated in that
practice. The practice of religion may be limited by the capturing unit based on security and
operational considerations. For example, the exercise of religion might be curtailed when a call
to prayer occurs shortly after a detainee is captured and is physically restrained. At that point, the
detainee would not be allowed the freedom to exercise his religion.
Detainee Care at a Detention Facility
D-6. When detainees move back to a fixed facility, their treatment may change slightly based on their
status and the rules in the facility. The following rights are not the only ones that detainees may be given at
a fixed facility, nor will detainees necessarily be given all of these. The detention facility commander may
determine that some limitations on these rights or benefits are justified for imperative reasons of security.
However, as the theater matures, detention facilities improve, and more resources become available, all
rights and benefits discussed below will be provided to detainees and DCs. They will—
12 February 2010
Be allowed the freedom to exercise religion (Article 93, GC; Article 34, GPW). Detainee
freedom to exercise religion is broadened at this level and in fact, will not be restricted without a
significant reason (such as a lockdown at the detention facility after a riot). At this level, the
facility will typically facilitate the practice of religion by providing religious personnel to assist
detainees or DCs or by providing necessary items (such as copies of the Qur’an, Bible, or other
Be allowed to exercise (Article 9, GC; Article 38, GPW). Detainees and DCs must be
provided opportunities for physical exercise (to include sports and games) and outdoor time.
Sufficient open spaces will be provided for these purposes in all facilities if available.
Be allowed to send and receive mail (Article 107, GC; Article 71, GPW). Detainees must be
allowed to send and receive mail unless the commander (usually the commanding general, three-
or four-star in this context) determines that military necessity prevents it; and if so, it should be
for a short period of time only. Detainees are allowed to send two letters and four postcards per
Be allowed representation (Article 102, GC; Article 79, GPW). Detainees may elect a
committee to represent them from within the facility. For EPWs, the representative will be the
ranking EPW. EPW representatives are one method for detainees to advise the facility
commander of complaints regarding detention conditions. In Muslim countries, when Imams and
Sheiks are picked up and detained, they often fill the representative role simply because they are
already leaders within the community. The same could be true for other religious leaders in other
Not be photographed or videotaped for unofficial purposes (AR 190-8; Article 27, GC;
Article 13, GPW). Detainees may be photographed or videotaped for official purposes only.
The restriction on unofficial photographs and videotapes also applies to detention facility
personnel—photographs of the detention facility are not souvenirs. Videotape surveillance of the
facility for security purposes is fine; however, the videotaping of interrogations is authorized on
a case-by-case basis and according to DODD 3115.09. The key factor is that all photographs and
videotapes must be for administrative, security, or intelligence/counterintelligence purposes.
Have access to the Geneva Conventions (in their own language) (Article 99, GC; Article 41,
GPW). Detainees have a right to a personal copy of the Geneva Conventions. The Geneva
Conventions must also be posted in the facility in English and the detainee language. Copies will
be supplied, upon request, to detainees who do not have access to posted copies.
Be allowed to complete documentation to notify their family of their location and that they
are alive and in U.S. custody (Article 106, GC; Article 70, GPW). DA Form 2665-R will be
completed for EPWs; DA Form 2678-R (Civilian Internee NATL-Internment Card) will be used
for CIs. Detainees must be allowed to complete these forms, which will be forwarded to their
Be issued an identification card (Article 97, GC; Articles 17 and 18, GPW). EPWs will be
issued a DA Form 2662-R; CIs will be issued a DA Form 2667-R (Prisoner of War Mail
[Letter]). Detainees have the right to have an identification document. If they are military and
the enemy military has an identification card system (similar to what the U.S. forces use), then
they maintain their military identification card. If they are civilian and there is a civilian
identification card (as there is in many countries), they will keep the civilian identification card.
If they do not have an identification card, facility administration personnel must provide them
Be allowed visits by the ICRC (Article 143, GC; Article 126, GPW). Detainees have the right
to visits by the ICRC. They also have the right to talk to the ICRC and voice their complaints.
D-7. The GPW and GC provide detailed guidance on procedures for the care of detainees and the use and
maintenance of facilities. Some examples include procedures for the receipt of relief packages and money;
treatment of personal property; provisions for EPWs, RP, and CIs to work; care of CI families; evacuation
or transfer of detainees; and provisions of canteen facilities. These provisions of the Geneva Conventions
are required to be implemented as soon as practicable after a detention facility is established. The detention
facility commander may, if required by imperative military necessity, suspend all or part of the rights,
Application of the Geneva Conventions to Internment and Resettlement Operations
12 February 2010
benefits, and provisions annotated in this section; the humane treatment standards can never be abridged.
The specific provisions of the Geneva Conventions and the SJA should be consulted to aid in developing
detailed SOPs and the specific suspension of these provisions.
D-8. A detaining power may interrogate EPWs. EPWs, however, are only required to provide their name,
grade, birth date, and serial number. EPWs cannot be punished if they refuse to give additional information.
Article 17 of the GPW states, “No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be
inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who
refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous
treatment of any kind.” Similarly, Article 32 of the GC states, “No physical or moral coercion shall be
exercised against protected persons, in particular to obtain information from them or from third parties.”
All interrogation procedures in FM 2-22.3 are consistent with Common Article 3 to the Geneva
Conventions, the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, and U.S. domestic laws.
D-9. EPWs have “combatant immunity;” they cannot be tried or punished for their participation in an
armed conflict. They may be prosecuted for committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, and common
crimes under the laws of the detaining power or international laws. EPWs are entitled to be tried before the
same courts and face the same procedures that detaining power military personnel would face (that is, the
respective UCMJ for EPWs captured and held by U.S. forces). EPWs are entitled to representation by
competent counsel during the trial and must be advised of the charges against them; they also have a right
to appeal their conviction and sentence.
D-10. If, at the end of a conflict, an EPW has done nothing more than take up arms against opposing forces,
the detaining power is required to repatriate the EPW. An EPW detained in connection with a criminal
prosecution may also be repatriated if the detaining power consents.
D-11. Other detainees are not afforded the same extensive rights of trial as an EPW. These individuals may
be tried by HN courts, international tribunals, or tribunals established by the detaining power. The trial
rights they are afforded must, however, meet the minimum standards of Common Article 3 to the Geneva
Conventions, which gives them judicial guarantees that are recognized as indispensable by civilized
Must be informed of the charges against them.
Are presumed innocent.
Are allowed to—
Present their defense and call witnesses.
Be assisted by a qualified counsel of their choice.
Have an interpreter.
Be allowed to appeal the conviction and sentence.
D-12. A tribunal is an administrative hearing, that is controlled by a board of officers. Article 5 tribunals
determine the actual status of a detainee (CI, RP, or enemy combatant). A CI review tribunal determines
the lawfulness of the internment of civilians who may be detained for security reasons. (See AR 190-8 for
Article 5 tribunal procedures.)
D-13. The following procedures are the minimum required for an Article 5 tribunal. Detainees whose status
is to be determined—
Will receive notice (in a language they understand) of the intent to hold a hearing.
12 February 2010
Will receive a fair opportunity to present evidence to the tribunal.
Will be advised of their rights at the beginning of their hearings.
Will receive a copy of the status determination and a notice (in a language they understand) of
D-14. After hearing testimony (if applicable) and reviewing documents and other evidence, the tribunal will
determine the status of the detainee by majority vote in a closed session. The preponderance of evidence
will be the standard used in reaching this determination. Hearsay evidence offered by the detainee or DOD
may be accepted by the tribunal. There will be a rebuttable presumption in favor of creditable DOD
evidence, with the burden shifting to the detainee to rebut that evidence with more persuasive evidence. A
written report of the tribunal decision will be completed in each case. Possible board determinations are as
EPW (lawful enemy combatant).
Recommended RP. This is individual is entitled to EPW protection and may be considered for
certification as a medical or religious RP.
Civilian accompanying the force, given EPW status.
Innocent civilian who should be immediately returned to his home or released.
CIs, who for reasons of operations security, should be detained or transferred to local law
enforcement authorities as appropriate.
Members of armed groups.
D-15. The following procedures may be added to the tribunal as time, resources, and circumstances permit:
Oath. Members of the tribunal and the recorder may be sworn in. The recorder should be sworn
in first by the tribunal president. The recorder may then administer the oath to all voting
members of the tribunal, including the tribunal president.
Records. A complete summarized record may be made of the proceedings. The recorder may
prepare a record of the tribunal following the announcement of the tribunal decision. The record
will then be forwarded to the first SJA in the internment facility chain of command.
Proceedings. Open proceedings may be conducted, with the exception of deliberation, voting by
the members, and testimony or other matters that might compromise security if held in the open.
Notification of classification. Detainees may receive further notice of the factual basis for their
Rebuttal. Detainees may also receive a fair opportunity to rebut DOD factual assertions.
Attendance. Detainees may be allowed to attend all open sessions and, if necessary, be provided
an interpreter. Detainees may be excluded from sessions on the basis of national security.
Witnesses. Detainees may be allowed to call witnesses, if reasonably available, and to question
those witnesses called by the tribunal. Witnesses will not be considered reasonably available if,
as determined by their commanders, their presence at a hearing would affect military operations.
In these cases, written statements, preferably sworn, may be submitted and considered as
evidence. All admissible evidence and statements may be excluded, as required, for national
security. The recorder may also require additional witnesses when a doctor, chaplain, or other
expert witness is required to determine RP status.
Right to testify. Detainees may be given the right to testify or otherwise address the tribunal;
they may not be compelled to testify before the tribunal.
D-16. The record of every tribunal proceeding that results in a determination denying EPW status will be
reviewed for legal sufficiency when the record is received at the office of the SJA.
D-17. If a detainee requests an appeal, the decision of the board, any evidence admitted before the tribunal,
and any additional information provided by the detainee will be presented to the convening authority within
a reasonable time after the proceedings have concluded.
Documents you may be interested
Documents you may be interested