On the second point submitted by the Conference, the facts as to breaches of the laws and customs of war committed by the forces of the German Empire and their allies on land, on sea, and in the air, during the present war, the Commission has considered a large number of documents.
The report of the British Commission drawn up by Lord Bryce, the labours of the French Commission presided over by M. Payelle, the numerous publications of the Belgian Government, the Memorandum submitted by the Belgian Delegation, the Memorandum of the Greek Delegation, the documents lodged by the Italian Government, the formal denunciation by the Greeks at the Conference of the crimes committed against Greek populations by the Bulgars, Turks and Greeks, the Memorandum of the Serbian Delegation, the Report of the Inter-Allied Commission on the violations of the Hague Conventions and of international law in general, committed between 1915 and 1918 by the Bulgars in occupied Serbia, the summary of the Polish Delegation, together with the Roumanian and Armenian Memoranda, supply abundant evidence of outrages of every description committed on land, at sea, and in the air, against the laws and customs of war and of the laws of humanity.
In spite of the explicit regulations, of established customs, and of -the clear dictates of humanity, Germany and her allies have piled outrage upon outrage. Additions are daily and continually being made. By way of illustration a certain number of examples have been collected in Annex 1. It is impossible to imagine a list of cases so diverse and so painful.
Violations of the rights of combatants, of the rights of civilians, and of the rights of both, are multiplied in this list of the most cruel practices which primitive barbarism, aided by all the resources of modern science, could devise for the execution of a system of terrorism carefully planned and carried out to the end. Not even prisoners, or wounded, or women, or children have been respected by belligerents who deliberately sought to strike terror into every heart for the purpose of repressing all resistance. Murders and massacres, tortures, shields formed of living human beings, collective penalties, the arrest and execution of hostages, the requisitioning of services for military purposes, the arbitrary destruction of public and private property, the aerial bombardment of open towns without there being any regular siege, the destruction of merchant ships without previous visit and without any precautions for the safety of passengers and crew, the massacre of prisoners, attacks on hospital ships, the poisoning of springs and of wells, outrages and profanations without regard for religion or the honour of individuals, the issue of counterfeit money reported by the Polish Government, the methodical and deliberate destruction of industries with no other object than to promote German economic supremacy after the war, constitute the most striking list of crimes that has ever been drawn up to the eternal shame of those who committed them. The facts are established. They are numerous and so vouched for that they admit of no doubt and cry for justice. The Commission, impressed by their number and gravity, thinks there are good grounds for the constitution of a special Commission, to collect and classify all outstanding information for the purpose of preparing a complete list of the charges under the following heads.
The following is the list arrived at:
(1) Murders and massacres; systematic terrorism.
(2) Putting hostages to death.
(3) Torture of civilians.
(4) Deliberate starvation of civilians.
(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 denationalise the inhabitants of occupied territory.
(14) Confiscation of property.
(15) Exaction of illegitimate or of 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 without warning and without provision for the safety of passengers or crew,
(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 unauthorised works.
(31) Misuse of flags of truce.
(32) Poisoning of wells.
The Commission desires to draw attention to the fact that the offences enumerated and the particulars given in Annex I are not regarded as complete and exhaustive; to these such additions can from time to time be made as may seem necessary.
1. 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.
2. A Commission should be created for the purpose of collecting and classifying systematically all the information already had or to be obtained, in order to prepare as complete a list of facts as possible concerning the violations of the laws and customs of war committed by the forces of the German Empire and its Allies, on land, on sea and in the air, in the course of the present war.