Can POWs escape?

Can POWs escape?

A prisoner of war has the legal right to attempt to flee his captors. Some even believe that prisoners of war have a moral responsibility to strive to escape, and in most cases, such attempts are driven by patriotism. However others argue that escaping from captivity is too high a risk because you cannot guarantee your safety once outside the prison walls.

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about how prisoners of war can escape they need to get away from their guards otherwise they will be shot. However, this is not always the case as many POWs have escaped through tunnels, bridges, and even underwater!

The first recorded instance of a prisoner of war escaping occurred in 431 BC during the Peloponnesian War. In that case, several soldiers who were being held captive in a temple near the city of Athens managed to escape through a tunnel. The soldiers had been captured after the battle of Coronea when returning home from seeking asylum with other cities-hence the term "returning hero".

In 1420, after months of imprisonment by the English in the town of Troyes, we know that at least two prisoners managed to escape. They were caught shortly afterwards but the incident caused such a reaction that the governor decided to ban all future escapes out of fear that more would follow.

Are POWs supposed to escape?

A duty to escape is a requirement that military members strive to flee imprisonment if they are taken prisoner of war. The responsibility was legally applied to US military troops as article III of the 1955 United States Fighting Force Code, which is still in place. It states that "military prisoners shall be released without delay."

Traditionally, soldiers who were captured by the enemy were treated as hostages and could be held until some kind of exchange was agreed upon. If no agreement could be reached, then their lives were not worth as much as those of their captors so they would usually be killed rather than kept alive.

During the American Civil War, many soldiers who were taken captive did manage to escape from their guards and return home. A few of these men were even able to rescue other soldiers who had been left behind when their units were marched away to battle.

In World War I, the same tradition continued with some modifications. Instead of being held as hostages or traded for others, soldiers were often used as "guinea pigs" by the Germans and Italians to test the effectiveness of new weapons and techniques. If a prisoner survived his/her first experience with a tank or air raid, for example, then this would go a long way toward convincing the leaders of those countries that such devices were not only useful but also safe for use on actual troops.

Are POWs allowed to escape?

They are under the jurisdiction of the detaining power, and their custody is legitimate; hence, fleeing is illegal. If they manage to flee, they will be punished. But only if they are apprehended before returning to their own army. If not, there is no legal action can be taken.

In addition, prisoners of war have the right to contact their governments or international organizations. They should be informed about their rights and given guidance on how to assert them.

Prisoners of war can also seek compensation from their countries of captivity. However, this depends on what type of prisoner they are. For example, civilians captured during a conflict do not have access to military courts system because they were not involved in the hostilities. Instead, they should be treated as hostages and negotiations should be conducted with their captors to secure their release.

Who decides whether a person is a prisoner of war? The Geneva Conventions of 1949 define four categories of POWS: protected persons, civilian internee officers, civilian non-officer members of armed forces, and unarmed personnel (Article 4).

Protected persons cannot be tried by military court and must be released after the termination of the conflict. Civilian internee officers and civilians who are not officers of the armed forces can be tried by military tribunal and sentenced to prison terms.

Is torturing POWs a war crime?

Prisoners of war must always be handled decently. Any unlawful act or omission by the detaining authority that results in the death or gravely endangers the health of a prisoner of war in its custody is forbidden and will be considered a serious violation of the present Convention. This includes any form of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

The convention against torture was adopted by the United Nations on December 10, 1984 and entered into force for Canada on February 26, 1991. Torture is defined as any act committed by anyone under any official capacity which causes severe pain or suffering to another person.

Torture has many forms including beating, burning, electric shocks, hanging, drowning, asphyxiating gases, and other methods. It can be applied either intentionally or unintentionally. Intentional torture requires that the perpetrator seek out one or more victims for this purpose. Unintentional torture occurs when someone acts recklessly or negligently with regard to others' lives and suffers consequences they would not have chosen had they been thought through carefully. For example, leaving a child locked in a car on a hot day would be an unintentional act of torture; so too would be shooting at people from a high vantage point without knowing who might be hit.

Torturers may claim legal justification for their actions in order to avoid criminal prosecution.

About Article Author

William Lamus

William Lamus is a security expert and enjoys his job. His favorite thing to do is provide security and he knows all about it! One of his favorite things in life is giving people advice on how to be secure. He also likes reading books about the law.

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