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Part II, 8 Prisoners of War and Internment

From: Practitioners' Guide to Human Rights Law in Armed Conflict

Daragh Murray
Edited By: Elizabeth Wilmshurst, Françoise Hampson, Charles Garraway, Noam Lubell, Dapo Akande

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved.date: 12 May 2021

Detention — Human rights remedies — Prisoners of war — Armed conflict, international — Armed conflict, non-international — International crimes — Military matters — Armed forces

This chapter deals with prisoners of war, internment, and other forms of detention, where detention is based on security or military considerations related to the armed conflict. The law of armed conflict establishes detailed rules in relation to prisoners of war and internment; these rules provide the primary framework. International human rights law reinforces these rules, adding greater specificity in certain situations. Prisoners of war are not convicted criminals, and are not detained in relation to any illegal activity. As such, their detention is not punitive, but is based on military necessity and serves only to prevent their return to hostilities. Internment is detention carried out to prevent future activity. International human rights law requires that internment be utilized only as a last resort, on the basis of ‘a present, direct, and imperative threat’.

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