Exhibit 15: Rapport van de Commission on the responsibility of the Authors of the War and the enforcement of Penalties 29 March 1919 (1)

(Violation of the laws and customs of war Carnegie Endowment for International Peace ; DIVISION OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, Pamphlet No. 82 Reports of Majority and Dissenting Reports of American and Japanese members of the Commission of Responsibilities. conference of Paris May 18, 1919)

a) Britse conclusie uitgesproken tijdens de First Allied Conference after the Armistice as to the attitude to be adopted by the Allies towards the Kaiser:

“De instelling van de ‘commissison on the responsibility of the authors of the war and on enforcement of penalties’”.

Tijdens een voorbereidende zitting van de vredesconferentie op 25 januari 1919 werd besloten een commissie in te stellen met als taak: ‘inquiring into the responsibilities relating to the war’.

De commissie bestond uit 15 leden, twee voor de USA, twee voor Gr.Brittannië, twee voor Frankrijk, en twee voor Italië en Japan. En voorts vijf leden gekozen uit de landen die speciale betrokkenheid hadden Deze laatste vijf leden werden op 27 januari gekozen en vertegenwoordigden de volgende landen: België, Griekenland, Polen, Roemenië en Servië. Tot voorzitter van de commissie werd de Amerikaanse minister van Buitenlandse Zaken, Lansing, benoemd.

De opdracht voor de commissie luidde:

1: De verantwoordelijkheid voor de veroorzakers van de oorlog.

2: De feiten betreffende de verantwoordelijkheid van Duitsland en haar geallieerden voor het verkrachten van de internationale wetten en gebruiken van het oorlogsrecht te land, ter zee en in de lucht.

3: De graad van de verantwoordelijkheid voor de begane misdaden door individuele leden van de vijandelijke strijdkrachten inclusief leden van de generale staven en andere individuen van welke rang en stand dan ook.

4: De aard en verantwoordelijkheden/procedures van een tribunaal dat deze misdaden moet beoordelen.

5: Alle andere zaken die met het bovenstaande te maken hebben of zich kunnen voordoen tijdens het onderzoek en waarvan de commissie het relevant acht ze in overweging te nemen.

Door de Commissie werden drie subcommissies benoemd welke zich bezig hielden met:

Subcommssie 1: On criminal acts, was instructed to discover and collect evidence necessary to establish the facts relating to culpable conduct which brought about the world war and accompanied its inception and took place in the course of hostilities.

Subcommissie 2: On the responsibility for the war. was instructed to consider whether prosecutions could be undertaken, to prepare a report indicating the individuals who were guilty and the court before which prosecutions should proceed.

Subcommissie 3: On the responsibility for the violation of the Laws and customs of the war, was instructed to consider whether on the facts established by the sub commission on criminal acts prosecutions could be instituted and if, to prepare a report indicating the individuals who were guilty and the court before which prosecutions should proceed.

Op 29 maart 1919 diende de Commissie haar rapport in waaruit we het volgende ontlenen.

On the responsibility of the authors of the war

Conclusions

1: The war was premeditated by the Central Powers together with their Allies, Turkey and Bulgaria, and was the result of acts deliberately committed in order to make it unavoidable.
2: Germany, in agreement with Austria –Hungary, deliberately worked to defeat all the many conciliatory proposals made by the Entente Powers and their repeated efforts to avoid war.

2: On the violation of the neutrality of Belgium and Luxemburg:

The neutrality of Belgium, guaranteed by the treaties of the 19th April 1839, and that of Luxemburg, guaranteed by the treaty of the 11th May 1867, were deliberately violated by Germany and Austria-Hungary.

3: On personal responsibility:

All persons belonging to enemy countries, however high their position may have been , without distinction of rank including Chiefs of States, who have been guilty of offences against the laws and customs of war or the laws of humanity, are liable to criminal prosecution.

4: On the violations of the Laws and Customs of the war:

The war was carried on by the Central Empires together with their Allies, Turkey and Bulgaria, by barbarous or illegitimate methods in violation of the established laws and customs of war and the elementary laws of humanity.

De commissie gaf ook voorbeelden van wat zij achtte te behoren tot bovengenoemde violations of the Laws and customs of war elementry laws of humanity, zoals:

1: Murders and massacres; systematic terrorism

2: Putting hostages to death

3: Torture of civilians

4: Deliberate starvation of civilians

5: Rape

6: Abduction of girls and women for the purpose of enforced prostitution.

7: Deportation of civilians

8: internment of civilians under inhuman conditions

9: Forced labour of civilians in connection with the military operations of the enemy.

10: Usurpation of sovereignty during military occupation.

11: Compulsory enlistment of soldiers among the inhabitants of occupied territory.

12: Attempts to denationalize inhabitants of occupied territory.

13: Pillage.

14: Confiscation of property.

15: Exaction of illegitimate or exorbitant contributions and requisitions.

16: Debasement of the currency and issue of spurious currency.

17: Imposition of collective penalties.

18: Wanton devastation and destruction of property.

19: Deliberate bombardment of undefended places.

20: Wanton destruction of religious, charitable, educational and historic buildings and monuments.

21: Destruction of merchant ships and passenger vessels

22: Destruction of fishing boats and of relief ships.

23: Deliberate bombardment of hospitals.

24: Attack on and destruction of hospital ships.

25: Breach of other rules relating to the Red Cross.

26: Use of deleterious and asphyxiating gases.

27: Use of explosive or expanding bullets and other inhuman appliances.

28: Directions to give no quarter.

29: Ill treatment of wounded and prisoners of war.

30: Employment of prisoners of war on unauthorized works.

31: Misuse of flags of truce.

32: Poisoning of Wells.

De commissie stelt dan dat er verschillende manieren zijn personen die schuldig zijn aan b.g. feiten te berechten en dat elk land dat krijgsgevangen heeft gemaakt die zich daaraan schuldig hebben gemaakt, zelf kan berechten. Echter een aantal feiten, zo adviseert de commissie, dienen door een tribunaal te worden berecht, Het gaat daarbij om:

1: persons who have committed outrages against a number of civilians and soldiers of several Allied nations such as outrages committed in prison camps, or the crime of forced labour in mines.

2: persons of authority whose orders were executed not only in one area or on one battle front, but whose orders affected the conduct of operations against several of the Allied armies.

3: All authorities, civil or military, however high their position may have been, without distinction of rank, including heads of states, who ordered or, with knowledge thereof and with power to intervene, abstained from preventing or taking measures to prevent, putting an end to or repressing, violations of the Law or customs of war. (It should be understood that no such abstention should constitute a defence for the actual perpetrators).

4: Persons as having regard to the character of the offence or the law of any belligerent country, it may be considered advisable not to proceed before a court other then the high tribunal hereafter referred to.

For the trial of outrages falling under these four categories the Commission is of opinion that a high tribunal is essential and should be established according to the following plan: (volgt voorstel opzet tribunaal).

Samenvatting

Met de indiening van dit rapport werden de voornaamste aanklachten en subaanklachten alsmede de redenen hoe men tot deze aanklachten is gekomen weergegeven. In het rapport werden echter ook een aantal eerder genoemde aanklachten weer teniet gedaan omdat men die niet haalbaar achtte danwel omdat men het onverstandig vond om ze te hanteren.

Tevens bevatte het rapport een memorandum van de Amerikaanse delegatie aan de vredesconferentie met afwijkende standpunten. Volledigheidshalve zullen we hier de niet haalbaar of onverstandig geachte aanklachten noemen, samen met de redenen waarom deze aanklachten werden ingetrokken alsmede de door de Amerikaanse delegatie ingenomen standpunten.

Ingetrokken aanklachten

Tijdens de hiervoor genoemde vergadering van maart 1919 bleken er enorme meningsverschillen te bestaan tussen de verschillende delegaties en uiteindelijk werd artikel 227 een compromis waarbij de Amerikaanse mening van doorslaggevende aard is geweest.

Was er in een eerder stadium nog sprake van dat Wilhelm II zou moeten worden aangeklaagd: for an offence against criminal law, in het uiteindelijke artikel werd dat afgezwakt naar:

A supreme offence against international morality and the sanctity of treaties. (Hanke.p. 80 note 28)

Van een strafproces was daarmede eigenlijk geen sprake meer hetgeen ook blijkt uit het feit dat een strafvervolging wegens het schenden van de Belgische en Luxemburgse neutraliteit niet meer in de eisen werd opgenomen.

The Report presented to the preliminary Peace Conference (1919) by the Commission on the responsibility of the Authors of the War and the Enforcement of Penalties: (part 1)

(Voor gehele rapport zie ook exhibit 19 van aanklager)

‘The Commission on the Responsibility of the Authors of the War and on Enforcement of Penalties,’ to give its full title, was created at the plenary session of the Paris Peace Conference of January 25, 1919. Two representatives of each of the five Great Powers (The United States, France, Greet Britain, Italy, and Japan) and one each from Belgium, Greece, Poland, Rumania, and Serbia made up its membership. United States Secretary of State Robert Lansing was chosen chairman of the commission, which made its report toward the end of March. The conference, at its plenary session of May 6, 1919, unanimously adopted the report, although both the United States and Japan added reservations. Only the first chapter at the report has been reprinted below. Most of the sources used as a basis for the report are documents, often carefully edited, which the belligerents issued In the various ‘colour books’ shortly after the outbreak of the war. On the question of the responsibility of the authors of the war, the Commission, after having examined a number of official documents relating to the origin of the World War, and to the violations of neutrality and of frontiers which accompanied its inception, has determined that the responsibility for it lies wholly upon the Powers which declared war in pursuance of a policy of aggression, the concealment of which gives to the origin of this war the character of a dark conspiracy against the peace of Europe. This responsibility rests first on Germany and Austria, secondly on Turkey and Bulgaria. The responsibility is made all the graver by reason of the violation by Germany and Austria of the neutrality of Belgium and Luxemburg, which they themselves had guaranteed. It is increased, with regard to both France and Serbia, by the violation of their frontiers before the declaration of war.

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