U.S. Army Military Police School Detainee Policy, Procedures, and Operations Course

United States Army Military Police School Subcourse Number MP 3211

  • 53 pages
  • April 2006


This lesson describes detainees captured or detained by the US Armed Forces and provides key definitions. These definitions explain the different personnel categories that a Military Police (MP) commander may be required to handle, protect, account for, and ensure are treated according to established laws, regulations, and international agreements. For the purpose of this lesson, the broader use of the word “detainee” applies to Enemy Prisoners of War (EPWs), Civilian Internees (CIs), Retained Persons (RPs), and other classification terms for US-controlled persons unless otherwise specified. Use of specific detainee classifications does not preclude protections granted according to Geneva Conventions I through IV (1949), Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 5100.77, or protections promulgated under paragraph 1-5 of Army Regulation (AR) 190-8. MP leaders and Soldiers conducting Internment/Resettlement (I/R) operations must maintain task proficiency for each category. For the purposes of this subcourse, detainee operations are defined as operations that take or keep selected individuals in custody as a result of military operations to control their movement and activity and/or gain intelligence.

PART – A – Detainee Key Definitions.

1. Captured personnel are initially all classified as detainees until their legal status has been determined. AR 190-8 is a publication that provides more information regarding the classification of individuals. The terms defined in the following paragraphs encompass all captured personnel and are classified as follows:

a. Detainees. The overarching term detainee is defined as any person captured, detained, held, or otherwise under the control of DoD personnel (military, civilian, or contractor employee). It does not include personnel being held for law enforcement purposes. Detainees may also include enemy combatants, EPWs, CIs, or RPs.

b. Enemy Prisoners of War (EPWs). EPWs are persons defined in Geneva Convention III (1949) as members of enemy armed forces and members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces. Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps (including those of organized resistance movements) belonging to an enemy power and operating in or outside their own territory (even if the territory is occupied) provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including organized resistance movements, fulfill the following conditions:

(1) They are commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates.
(2) They have fixed distinctive signs that are recognizable at a distance.
(3) They carry arms openly.
(4) They conduct operations according to the laws and customs of war.
(5) Members of the enemy, regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a government or an authority not recognized by the detaining power (the United States).
(6) Persons who accompany the armed forces of the enemy without actually being members thereof, such as civilian members of military aircraft crews, war correspondents, supply contractors, members of labor units, or individuals responsible for the welfare of the enemy armed forces, provided that they have received authorization from the armed forces that they are accompanying.
(7) Members of crews, including masters, pilots, and apprentices of the merchant marine and the crews of civilian aircraft of the enemy, who do not benefit by more favorable treatment under any other provisions of international laws.
(8) Inhabitants of a nonoccupied territory who, on the approach of the US Armed Forces, spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces without having time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided that they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.

c. Civilian Internees (CI). A civilian may be interned during an international armed conflict or belligerent occupation for imperative reasons of security as a safety measure and for protection, or he may be interned because he has committed an offense (generally a minor offense intended to harm the occupying force) subject to internment or simple imprisonment under Article 68 of Geneva Convention IV (1949). The final status of the CI may not be determined until his arrival at the Theater Internment Facility (TIF). Until such time, all CIs should be treated as EPWs. CIs are especially protected against all acts of violence, insults, public curiosity, bodily injury, reprisals of any kind, sexual attack (such as rape and forced prostitution), or any form of indecent assault or improper sexual conduct.

d. Retained Person (RP). RPs are enemy personnel who fall within any of the following categories, thus becoming eligible to be certified as RPs:

(1) Medical personnel who are members of the medical service of their armed forces
(2) Medical personnel exclusively engaged in—
(a) The search for, collection, transport, or treatment of the wounded or sick
(b) The prevention of disease
(c) The administration of medical units and establishments
(3) Chaplains attached to enemy forces
(4) Staff of the Red Cross or Red Crescent Societies and other voluntary aid organizations

Note: These organizations must be duly recognized and authorized by their governments. The staffs of these organizations may be employed in the same duties as mentioned above if such organizations are subject to military laws and regulations.

(5) An RP is a special category for medical personnel and chaplains because of their special skills and training. They may be retained by the detaining power (see FM 27-10) to aid detainees, preferably those of the armed forces to which the RPs belong. According to the Geneva Conventions, RPs receive, at a minimum, the benefits and protection enjoyed by EPWs. The Geneva Conventions require that they be granted the facilities necessary to provide medical care and religious ministration to detainees. For a complete discussion on RPs, see AR 190-8. Privileges and considerations extended to RPs because of their profession include—

(a) Additional correspondence privileges for chaplains and the senior retained medical personnel
(b) All facilities necessary to provide detainees with medical care, spiritual assistance, and welfare services
(c) The authority and means of transportation for periodic visits to I/R facilities and to hospitals outside the detainee’s I/R facility to carry out his medical, spiritual, or welfare duties
(d) The restriction of work assignments to only those medical or religious duties that they are qualified to perform
(e) The assignment to quarters separate from those of detainees (when practicable)

e. Enemy Combatants. The term “detainee” may also refer to enemy combatants. The term “enemy combatant” is further divided as follows:

(1) Lawful Enemy Combatants. Lawful enemy combatants include those who qualify for EPW status, as described on page 1-7, paragraph (2) of this lesson, and members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a government or an authority not recognized by the detaining power.
(2) Unlawful Enemy Combatants. Unlawful enemy combatants are persons who are not entitled to combatant immunity, who engage in acts against the United States of its coalition partners in violation of the laws and customs of war during armed conflict. Spies and saboteurs are traditional examples of unlawful enemy combatants. For the purposes of the GWOT, the term “unlawful enemy combatant” is defined, but is not limited to an individual who is or was part of supporting Taliban of Al Qaida forces or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.

f. Dislocated Civilians (DC). DCs are civilians who leave their homes for various reasons. Their movement and physical presence can hinder military operations. They most likely require some degree of aid, such as medicine, food, shelter, or clothing. DCs may not be native to the area or to the country in which they reside. DC is a generic term that is further subdivided into five categories. These subcategories are defined by
legal and political considerations as follows:

(1) Displaced Person. A displaced person is a person who has been dislocated because of war, a natural disaster, or political/economic turmoil. Consequently, the civilians’ motivation to flee and their status under international and domestic laws vary as do the degree of assistance required and the location of relief operations. The political, geographical, environmental, and threat conditions also vary in each situation.
(2) Refugee. Geneva Convention (1951) states that a refugee is a person who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”
(3) Evacuee. An evacuee is a civilian removed from his place of residence by military direction for reasons of personal security or other requirements of the military situation.
(4) Stateless Person. A stateless person is a civilian who has been denationalized, whose country of origin cannot be determined, or who cannot establish his right to the nationality he claims.
(5) War Victim. War victim is a classification that was created during the Vietnam era to describe civilians suffering injuries, loss of family members, or damage to or destruction of their homes because of war.
(6) Migrant. A migrant is a worker who moves from one region to another by chance, instinct, or plan.
(7) Internally Displaced Person. An internally displaced person may have been forced to flee his home for the same reason as a refugee, but he has not crossed an internationally recognized border.
(8) Expellee. A civilian outside the boundaries of the country of his nationality or ethnic origin who is being forcibly repatriated to that country or a third country for political or other purposes.

2. Persons Treated as Prisoners of War. All Soldiers must be able to understand the term “treatment” versus “status.” To treat a detainee as an EPW does not mean that the detainee has the actual status of an EPW, as set forth in the Geneva Conventions. Any time there is a question as to the actual status of a detainee, US Soldiers treat the detainee as an EPW until his status is determined. A detainee’s behavior while inside a facility may be a contributing factor in determining status. The following persons are also treated as EPWs:

a. Personnel who would qualify for EPW status, as described on page 1-4, paragraph (2) of this lesson, but enter the custody of the United States as a neutral or nonbelligerent power.

b. Persons belonging to or having belonged to the armed forces of a country occupied by the United States, if the United States considers it necessary by reason of such allegiance to intern them. Particular attention is paid to those persons who have made an unsuccessful attempt to join the armed forces and are engaged in combat or have failed to comply with a summons made to them.

3. Determination of Enemy Prisoner of War Status. Captured enemy personnel may be presumed to be EPWs immediately on capture if the circumstances are unmistakable (such as an armed, uniformed enemy). If there is any doubt whether enemy personnel captured by the US Armed Forces belong to any of the categories described above, such personnel receive the same treatment to which EPWs are entitled until their status has been determined by a competent military tribunal according to AR 190-8. This tribunal is commonly referred to as an Article 5 Tribunal and originates in Geneva Convention III. This tribunal is simply a hearing typically controlled by an officer or board of officers who make a determination as to the actual status of a detainee. This tribunal can take place anywhere, but it most commonly takes place echelons above the Brigade Combat Team (BCT). In learning step 2, we will cover the Geneva Conventions, understanding that only the EPWs meet qualification under the Geneva Conventions. All others will be treated under the principles of the Geneva Conventions.

l. Psychological Operations (PSYOP) Officer. The officer in charge of the EPW/CI PSYOP team supporting I/R operations serves as the special staff officer responsible for PSYOP. The PSYOP staff officer advises the MP commander on the psychological impact of MP or Military Intelligence (MI) actions to prevent misunderstandings and disturbances by the detainees. The supporting I/R PSYOP team has two missions that reduce the need to divert MP assets to maintain security in the I/R facility. The team—

(1) Assists the MP force in controlling detainees
(2) Exposes detainees to US and allied policy.

m. PSYOP Officer. The PSYOP team also supports the MP custodial mission in the I/R facility. Their tasks include—

(1) Developing PSYOP products designed to pacify and acclimate detainees to accept US facility authority and regulations.
(2) Gaining the cooperation of detainees to reduce the need for guards.
(3) Identifying malcontents, trained agitators, and political officers within the facility who may try to organize a resistance or create disturbances.
(4) Developing and executing indoctrination programs to reduce or remove pro-enemy attitudes.
(5) Recognizing political activists.
(6) Providing loudspeaker support when necessary, such as in providing administrative announcements and facility instructions.
(7) Helping the MP commander control the detainee populace during emergencies.
(8) Planning and executing a PSYOP program that produces an understanding and appreciation of US policies and actions. PSYOP personnel use comprehensive information, reorientation, and educational and vocational programs to prepare detainees for repatriation.

n. PSYOP Officer. The PSYOP officer is an integral part of the I/R structure. The I/R facility commander may designate a location in which PSYOP personnel can conduct interviews of the various categories of people associated with I/R. This location must be separate and away from the interrogation areas.

o. Civil Affairs (CA) Personnel. CA personnel primarily support CMO. They conduct DC operations in support of I/R across the full spectrum of operations. Other related activities they conduct include—

(1) Populace and Resource Control (PRC)
(2) Foreign internal defense
(3) Humanitarian Assistance (HA)
(4) Unconventional warfare

p. Intelligence Officer. The intelligence officer is responsible for advising the commander on matters pertaining to MI, operations, and training. He produces and disseminates intelligence products throughout the

q. Operations Officer. The operations officer is responsible for the operational planning, organizing, directing, supervising, training, coordinating, and reporting of activities when conducting confinement or detainee operations. When operating as part of an MP I/R battalion, the operations officer and his section are responsible for operating the confinement and/or detention cells for—

(1) Detainees that are belligerent, uncooperative, or charged with Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) violations
(2) DCs that will be turned over to civilian authorities

r. The Office of the Provost Marshal General (OPMG). The OPMG is DoD’s executive agent for EPW/CI operations and long-term confinement of US military prisoners. Within the OPMG and through the combatant commander, MP personnel are tasked with coordination, protection, accountability, and sustainment for detainees and US prisoners.

s. Provost Marshal (PM). The PM advises the Commander, Detainee Operations (CDO) on MP capabilities and abilities. He coordinates daily with the commander and staff officers on the employment of MP assets and support, ensures that MP planning is practical and flexible, and ensures that plans reflect manpower and resources needed by the MP. The PM advises the CDO on the Command and Control (C2) relationship of MP and MI assets. MI Human Intelligence (HUMINT) collectors never assume command of an I/R facility. When required, the PM coordinates transportation assets to evacuate detainees. In the absence of specific directions or orders, he plans the use of assets.

t. Logistics Officer. The logistics officer is of great importance to the I/R facility commander. He is responsible for the acquisition, storage, movement, distribution, maintenance, evacuation, and disposition of materiel. He is also responsible for the movement, evacuation, and hospitalization of personnel. Additionally, the logistics officer must ensure acquisition, construction, maintenance, operation, and disposition of facilities.

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