The Third Geneva Convention calls for all POWs to receive a monthly allowance from their captors, separate from anything they may be paid for working while imprisoned, “to enable prisoners to improve their lot during captivity, but subject to reimbursement by” their own country. (1960 commentary)

A parenthetical remark in Tolstoy’s 1869 novel War and Peace that a Russian character captured by the French in 1812 “received the allowance of three rubles a week made to officers” (Part 13, Chapter 12) suggests that this was a practice that long predated the Geneva Conventions. Therefore conflicts and detainees to which the Geneva Conventions might not apply are still within the scope of this question.

Are POWs paid by their captors today? If so, by which countries? If not, when and why did it stop? Every time I try to google this, I find only results for whether POWs accumulate pay due them from their own country.

  • 1
    I would suggest looking for War Crime allegations related to treatment of prisoners of War. The Geneva convention does have an exception for allowances and even provisions when the captor's nation is having trouble feeding it's own troops and civilians, which is a common problem in war, even when your side is winning.
    – hszmv
    Nov 25, 2019 at 19:09
  • 3
    Are there openly acknowledged wars today where there would be POW within the Geneva convention ?
    – Max
    Nov 25, 2019 at 19:39
  • @Max I don't know, but since this practice occurred long before the conventions, it could conceivably occur today outside where the conventions apply, either in non-signatory countries, or in unacknowledged wars.
    – Lee C.
    Nov 25, 2019 at 19:45
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    You can be pretty sure it doesn't apply to "enemy combatants".
    – Fizz
    Nov 26, 2019 at 2:02
  • The last instance when country said the Convention applied was Pakistan with the Indian pilot they captured last spring. But I don't know if they paid him anything since his stay was not that long.
    – Fizz
    Nov 26, 2019 at 2:15


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