A natural definition of POW - Comment - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
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    • Tosefta
    • 25.12.07 | 20:20 (IST)

    "1. Any combatant, as defined in Article 43, who falls into the power of an adverse Party shall be a prisoner of war. 2. While all combatants are obliged to comply with the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, violations of these rules shall not deprive a combatant of his right to be a combatant or, if he falls into the power of an adverse Party, of his right to be a prisoner of war, except as provided in paragraphs 3 and 4. 3. In order to promote the protection of the civilian population from the effects of hostilities, combatants are obliged to distinguish themselves from the civilian population while they are engaged in an attack or in a military operation preparatory to an attack. Recognizing, however, that there are situations in armed conflicts where, owing to the nature of the hostilities an armed combatant cannot so distinguish himself, he shall retain his status as a combatant, provided that, in such situations, he carries his arms openly: (a) During each military engagement, and (b) During such time as he is visible to the adversary while he is engaged in a military deployment preceding the launching of an attack in which he is to participate. Acts which comply with the requirements of this paragraph shall not be considered as perfidious within the meaning of Article 37, paragraph 1 (c). 4. A combatant who falls into the power of an adverse Party while failing to meet the requirements set forth in the second sentence of paragraph 3 shall forfeit his right to be a prisoner of war, but he shall, nevertheless, be given protections equivalent in all respects to those accorded to prisoners of war by the Third Convention and by this Protocol. This protection includes protections equivalent to those accorded to prisoners of war by the Third Convention in the case where such a person is tried and punished for any offences he has committed." Art. 44, Protocl 1 to the Geneva Conventions (1977) Many people Israel calls terrorists would be classified as Prisoners of War by most countries, i.e., those who joined Protocol 1 of the Geneva Conventions. Israel and the US are among the few non-signatories. The result is the Guantanamo shame and the Israeli difficulties in establishing criteria for exchange of POWs. If Israel joins the Protocl, exchanges will be natural.

    from the article: Abducted soldier's mother: Politicians seeking clout off our sons' backs
    First published 00:00 25.12.07 | Last updated 00:00 25.12.07
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