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GENEVA CONVENTIONS ACT

Ministry of Law and Justice

Act nº 6 of 1960


  • Chapter I
  • Chapter III
  • Chapter IV
  • Chapter V
  • Schedules
  • Act nº 6 of 1960

Preamble

GENEVA CONVENTIONS ACT, 1960

[Act, No. 6 of 1960]

[12th March, 1960]

PREAMBLE

An Act to enable effect to be given to certain international Conventions done at Geneva on the twelfth day of August, 1949, to which Indian is a party, and for purposes connected therewith.

BE it enacted by Parliament in the Eleventh Year of the Republic of India as follows:-

Chapter I

Section 1. Short title, extent and commencement

(1) This Act may be called the Geneva Conventions Act, 1960.

(2) It extends to the whole of India.

(3) It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint.

Section 2. Definitions

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,-

(a) "Conventions" means the Conventions set out in the Schedules; and the First Convention, the Second Convention, the Third Convention and the Fourth Convention mean the Conventions set out in the First, Second, Third and Fourth Schedules, respectively;

(b) "court" does not include a court-martial or military court;

(c) "protected internee" means a person protected by the Fourth Convention and interned in India;

(d) "protecting power", in relation to a protected internee or a protected prisoner of war, means the power or organisation which is carrying out, in the interests of the power of which he is a national or of whose forces he is or was at any material time a member, the duties assigned to protecting powers under the Third Convention or, as the case may be, the Fourth Convention;

(e) "protected prisoner of war" means a person protected by the Third Convention.

Section 3. Punishment of grave breaches of conventions

(1) If any person within or without India commits or attempts to commit, or abets or procures the commission by any other person of, a grave breach of any of the Conventions he shall be punished,-

(a) Where the offence involves the wilful killing of a person protected by any of the Conventions, with death or with imprisonment for life; and

(b) in any other case, with imprisonment for a term which may extend to fourteen years.

(2) Sub-section (1) applies to persons regardless of their nationality or citizenship.

(3) For the purposes of this section,-

(a) a grave breach of the First Convention is a breach of that Convention involving an act referred to in article 50 of that Convention committed against persons or property protected by that Convention;

(b) a grave breach of the Second Convention is a breach of that Convention involving an act referred to in article 51 of that Convention committed against persons or property protected by that Convention;

(c) a grave breach of the Third Convention is a breach of that Convention involving an act referred to in article 130 of that Convention committed against persons or property protected by that Convention; and

(d) a grave breach of the Fourth Convention is a breach of that Convention involving an act referred to in article 147 of that Convention committed against persons or property protected by that Convention.

Section 4. Liability of persons for offences committed outside India

When an offence under this Chapter is committed by any person outside India, he may be dealt with in respect of such offence as if it had been committed at any place within India at which he may be found.

Section 5. Jurisdiction of court

No court inferior to that of a chief presidency magistrate or a Court of Session shall try any offence punishable under this chapter.

Section 6. Proof of application of convention

If in any proceeding under this chapter in respect of a grave breach of any of the Conventions a question arises under article 2 of that Convention (which relates to the circumstances in which the Convention applies), a certificate under the hand of a Secretary to the Government of India certifying to any matter relevant to that question shall be conclusive evidence of the matter so certified.

Section 7. Jurisdiction of courts martial

The Army Act, 1950 (46 of 1950), the Air Force Act, 1950 (45 of 1950), or the Navy Act, 1957 (62 of 1957), relating to trial by court-martial of persons who commit civil offences shall have effect for the purposes of the jurisdiction of courts-martial as if this chapter had not been passed.

Chapter III

Section 8. Notice of trial of protected persons to be served on protecting power, etc

(1) The Court before which-

(a) a protected prisoner of war is brought up for trial for any offence; or

(b) a protected internee is brought up for trial for an offence for which that court has power to sentences him to death or to imprisonment for a term of two years or more,

shall not proceed with the trial until it is proved to the satisfaction of the court that a notice containing the particulars mentioned in the next following sub-section, so far as they are known to the prosecutor, has been served not less than three weeks previously on the protected prisoner of war on the accused and the prisoners' representative.

(2) The particulars referred to in the foregoing sub-section are-

(a) the full name and description of the accused, including the date of his birth and his profession or trade, if any, and if the accused is a protected prisoner of war, his rank and arm, regimental, personal or serial number;

(b) his place of detention, internment or residence;

(c) the offence with which he is charges; and

(d) the court before which the trial is to take place and the time and place appointed for the trial.

(3) For the purposes of this section a document purporting-

(a) to be signed on behalf of the protecting power or by the prisoners' representative or by the person accused, as the case may be; and

(b) to be an acknowledgment of the receipt by that power, representative or person on a specified day of a notice described therein as a notice under this section,

shall, unless the contrary is shown, be sufficient evidence that the notice required by sub-section (1) was served on that power, representative or person on that day.

(4) In this section, the expression "prisoners' representative" in relation to a particular protected prisoner of war at a particular time means the person by whom the functions of prisoners' representative within the meaning of article 79 of the Third Convention were exercisable in relation to that prisoner at the camp or place at which that prisoner was, at or last before that time, detained as a protected prisoner of war.

(5) Any court which adjourns a trial for the purpose of enabling the requirements of this section to be compiled with may, notwithstanding anything in any other law, authorise the detention of the accused in such custody as it may think fit for the period of the adjournment.

Section 9. Legal representation of certain persons

(1) The court before which-

(a). any person is brought up for trial for an offence under section 3 of this Act; or

(b) a protected prisoner of war is brought up for trial for any offence,

shall not proceed with the trial unless-

(i) the accused is represented by a legal practitioner; and

(ii) it is proved to the satisfaction of the court that a period of not less than fourteen days has elapsed since instructions for the representation of the accused at the trial were first given to the legal practitioner,

and if the court adjourns the trial for the purpose of enabling the requirements of this sub-section to be complied with, then, notwithstanding anything in any other law, the court may authorised the detention of the accused in such custody as it may think fit for the period of the adjournment.

(2) Where the accused is a protected prisoner of war, in the absence of a legal practitioner accepted by the accused as representing him, the legal practitioner instructed for the purpose on behalf of the protecting power shall, without prejudice to the requirements of clause (ii) of the foregoing sub-section, be regarded for the purposes of that sub-section as representing the accused.

(3) If the court adjourns the trial in pursuance of sub-section (1) by reason that the accused is not represented by a legal practitioner, the court shall direct that a legal practitioner be assigned to watch over the interest of the accused at any further proceedings in connection with the offence, and at any such further proceedings, in the absence of a legal practitioner either accepted by the accused as representing him or instructed as mentioned in the last foregoing sub-section, the legal practitioner assigned in pursuance of this sub-section shall, without prejudice to the requirements of clause (ii) of sub-section (1), be regarded for the purposes of that sub-section as representing the accused.

(4) A legal practitioner shall be assigned in pursuance of sub-section (3) in such manner as may be provided in the rules made under this Act or, in the absence of provisions in the rules, as the court directs, and the legal practitioner so assigned shall be entitled to such fees as may be provided in the rules made under this Act.

Section 10. Appeals by protected prisoners of war and internees

(1) Where a protected prisoner of war or a protected internee has been sentenced by a court to death or to imprisonment for a term of two years or more, any time allowed in relation to the institution of an appeal against the conviction or sentence shall be deemed to continue to run until the day on which the convicted person receives a notice given,-

(a) in the case of a protected prisoner of way- by an officer in the Armed Forces; or

(b) in the case of a protected internee- by or on behalf of the governor or other person in charge of the prison or place in which he is confined,

that the protecting power has been notified of his conviction and sentence, and for such further time as would have been within the time allowed if the conviction or sentences had taken place or been pronounced on that day.

(2) Where, after an appeal against the conviction or sentences by a court of a protected prisoner of war or a protected internee has been decided, the sentence remains a sentence of death, or remains or has become a sentence of imprisonment for a term of two years or more, any time allowed in relation to a further appeal in respect of the conviction or sentences as confirmed or varied upon the previous appeal, and for such further time as would have been within the time allowed if that decision had been pronounced on that day.

(3) Where sub-section (1) applies in relation to a convicted person, then, unless the court otherwise orders, an order of the court relating to the restitution of property or the payment of compensation to an aggrieved person shall not take effect, and a provision of any law relating to the revesting of property on conviction shall not take effect in relation to the conviction, while an appeal by the convicted person against his conviction or sentence is possible without an extension of time other than the extension provided by the last preceding sub-section.

(4) Sub-sections (1), (2) and (3) shall not apply in relation to an appeal against a conviction or sentence, or against the decision of a court upon a previous appeal, if, at the time of the conviction or sentences, or of the decision of the court upon the previous appeal, as the case may be, there is no protecting power.

Section 11. Reduction of sentence and custody of protected prisoners of war and internees

When a protected prisoner of war or protected internee is convicted of an offence, the court shall,-

(a) in fixing a term of imprisonment in respect of the offence, deduct from the term which it would otherwise have fixed any period during which the convicted person has been in custody in connection with that offence before the trial and

(b) in fixing any penalty other than imprisonment in respect of the offence, take that period of custody into account.

(2) Where the Central Government is satisfied that protected prisoner or war accused of an offence has been in custody in connection with that offence, while awaiting trial, in place other than a camp or place in which protected prisoners of war are detained, for an aggregate period of not less than three months, the Central Government may direct that the prisoner shall be transferred from that custody to the custody of an officer of the Armed Forces of the Union and thereafter remain in military custody at a camp or place in which protected prisoners of war are detained and be brought before the court at the time appointed for his trial.

Chapter IV