Human Rights
Prisoners of war and humanitarian law
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Prisoners of war - Geneva Convention

A prisoner of war is a combatant, generally a member of the armed forces of a party to an international armed conflict or an individual enjoying equivalent legal status, who has fallen into the hands of an adverse party.

Individuals enjoying equivalent status include war correspondents, supply contractors, merchant marine and civil aircraft crews, and civilians who spontaneously take up arms to resist invading forces (Art. 4, Third Geneva Convention of 1949). In case of doubt, any person who takes part in hostilities is presumed to be a prisoner of war (Art. 45.1, Additional Protocol I of 1977).

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