The Pakistan Army has violated the norms under the Geneva Convention after it released the videos of Indian fighter pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who is reportedly in Pakistan’s custody.
According to Washington Post, some experts believe that Pakistan may have deviated from the norms of the Geneva Conventions and violated regulations written to protect prisoners from “insults and public curiosity,” as spelt out in Article 13.
Article 13 of the Geneva Convention says that “Prisoners of war must at all times be humanely treated. Any unlawful act or omission by the Detaining Power causing death or seriously endangering the health of a prisoner of war in its custody is prohibited and will be regarded as a serious breach of the present Convention. In particular, no prisoner of war may be subjected to physical mutilation or to medical or scientific experiments of any kind which are not justified by the medical, dental or hospital treatment of the prisoner concerned and carried out in his interest. Likewise, prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity.”
“Releasing the video would be prohibited by that provision,” Rachel E. VanLandingham, a military justice expert at Southwestern Law School, reportedly has told The Washington Post on Wednesday. As reported by Post, VanLandingham has said it was a clear recognition they shouldn’t have released it as Pakistan and India are both signatories of the Geneva Conventions.
“Here, there was no military necessity to release the video, and presumably it was released with the intent to humiliate the captive and, thus, the state of India, and, thus, Pakistan is in violation of Article 13,” she said. The article is applicable since the international conflict has occurred despite the lack of a formal declaration, VanLandingham added.
In a deliberate act, the Pakistani Army had released a video of a blindfolded and injured Indian Air Force pilot. The Air Force pilot had shown exemplary courage when he was being interrogated and only gave his name, service number and identified himself as a Hindu. When more information was sought, Commander Varthaman replied coolly, “I’m sorry sir…that’s all I’m supposed to tell you.”
The videos circulated online showed the pilot pulled from the wreckage and was beaten by the mob before the Pakistan Army dispersed the mob. In another video, the brave Indian soldier was shown sipping his tea while refusing to answer questions about his aircraft and mission.
On Wednesday, India Government has rightly pointed out that Pakistan breached norms of International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Convention by its ‘vulgar display of injured personnel’.
In its demarche, India noted, “India also strongly objected to Pakistan’s vulgar display of injured personnel of the Indian Air Force in violation of all norms of International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Convention. It was made clear that Pakistan would be well advised to ensure that no harm comes to the Indian defence personnel in its custody. India also expects his immediate and safe return.”
Pakistani jets had violated Indian airspace on Wednesday morning and entered the border areas of Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district. They had reportedly dropped bombs but were pushed back by Indian aircraft.