Re Christiansen [Holland, Special Court (War Criminals), Arnhem.]

CourtSpecial Criminal Court (Netherlands)
Docket NumberCase No. 121
Date12 Agosto 1948
Holland, Special Court (War Criminals), Arnhem.
Case No. 121
Re Christiansen.

War — In General — Legality of — Rules of Warfare in an Illegal War — Reprisals for Attacks by Members of Resistance Movement — Legal Status of Resistance Movement — Acts of Resistance Movement against Previous Illegal Behaviour of Occupying Power — Killing of Innocent Civilians — Shooting of Hostages — Forcible Removal of Peaceful Population to Occupant's Country.

The Facts.—General Christiansen, commander of the German Occupation Army in Holland, was prosecuted in Holland, after the war, for three offences, viz.; (a) requesting Seiss-Inquart, the German Reichskommissar, to shoot five hostages, as a reprisal for an attempt by then unknown persons to blow up a German military train in the province of Gelder-land on August 7, 1942; (b) requesting General Rauter, Höherer S.S.- und Polizeiführer, to shoot ten civilians as a reprisal for the killing of a German soldier at Haarlem by one or more unknown offenders on or about January 30, 1943; and (c) ordering, as a reprisal for an attack by members of the resistance movement on a German military car on the night of September 30–October 1, 1944, at the village of Putten (Gelderland), the forcible removal of a large part of the male population of the village to Germany, the expulsion of the women and children from their homes and the setting fire to, or otherwise destroying, a large number of buildings. The accused maintained that his requests and orders were legal on the ground that they constituted permissible acts of defence and reprisal against the illegal activities of the resistance movement in occupied Holland.

Held: that the defence must fail. The rules of international law, in so far as they regulate the methods of warfare and the occupation of enemy territory, make no distinction between wars which have been started legally and those which have been started illegally. In the same way those rules, in so far as they allow the Occupant to take measures to repress acts of resistance performed by the inhabitants of the occupied country, operate independently of the question whether such acts of resistance were legal or illegal, since the answer to that question again depends, inter alia, on the legality or illegality of the war itself. Therefore the legal grounds of impunity for their acts which is ensured by international law to a belligerent and to an Occupying Power continue to obtain undiminished, even if it should later be...

Om verder te lezen


VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT