Deliver Us Not to Evil: Keeping POWs Safe

Theodor Meron

in The Making of International Criminal Justice

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199608935
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729706 | DOI:
Deliver Us Not to Evil: Keeping POWs Safe

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Few groups of individuals are more vulnerable and more in need of protection than prisoners of war (POWs) who have been captured by their enemy or by other hostile actors. All too often, they are mistreated, tortured, or even killed by those who have taken them captive or to whom they have surrendered. But for all of the risks of mistreatment that arise when POWs are taken into custody by an opposing force or other hostile group, a host of additional dangers emerge when the custody of POWs is transferred from that first entity to another. Often the individuals or groups that assume custody of POWs through such transfers are harder to locate, less accountable, and less likely to provide POWs with the protections to which they are entitled. And sometimes such transfers even lead to the death of the POWs. This was the situation in Prosecutor v Mile Mrkšić and Veselin Šljivanćanin, a case before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) involving one of the most terrible massacres of POWs during the Yugoslavia conflicts. The ICTY's 2009 appeal judgment in this case, and, in particular, the Appeals Chamber's delineation of the law related to POWs, is the subject of this chapter.

Keywords: prisoners of war; prisoner transfers; Mile Mrkšić; Veselin Šljivanćanin; former Yugoslavia; massacre

Chapter.  2522 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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