Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

contracting Powers to refuse to be a party to its continuance, as these various matters have been the subject of leading articles and of editorial comments in the JOURNAL.' It is, however, proper to express regret that the court should close its doors, inasmuch as it was avowedly the first international court of justice which had been created, and as its successful operation was constantly pointed to as a demonstration of the possibility of judicial settlement of disputes between nations.

Its jurisdiction was very broad, inasmuch as the contracting parties bound themselves, by its first article, "to submit all controversies or questions which may arise among them, of whatsoever nature and no matter what their origin, in case the respective departments of foreign affairs should not have been able to reach an understanding.” Its jurisdiction, however, was not limited to the five countries creating it, but international questions between one of the Central American Governments and a foreign government could be submitted to it by special agreement. Nor was this all. Individuals might avail themselves of the court, in accordance with the following terms of Articles 2 and 3:

This court shall also take cognizance of the questions which individuals of one Central American country may raise against any of the other contracting governments, because of the violation of treaties or conventions, and other cases of an international character; no matter whether their own government supports said claim or not; and provided that the remedies which the laws of the respective country provide against such violation shall have been exhausted or that denial of justice shall have been shown. (Art. II.) ?

It shall also have jurisdiction over cases arising between any of the contracting governments and individuals, when by common accord they are submitted to it. (Art. III.) 3

The court has closed its doors, but they can be opened again. The Powers responsible for its creation can call it into being. The peace conference was held in Washington in 1907, where this convention was concluded under the auspices of Mexico and of the United States, and upon the invitation and request of these two Powers, or of the United States alone, a new conference can be called, or the parties to the original convention may be requested and indeed urged to renew it. The United States was not merely the host, it was the sponsor for the court, and the special representative of the United States, the late William I.

1 This JOURNAL: 2: 121, 144, 835; 8: 434; 4: 416; 10: 344, 509; 11: 156, 181, 674. Malloy, Treaties and Conventions, Vol. 2, p. 2400.

3 Ibid., p. 2406.

Buchanan, was present at all the deliberations of the conference. Indeed, the court itself was the suggestion of Mr. Root, then Secretary of State, as was the conference of the Central American Powers which met in Washington. What one Secretary of State did another can do, and in view of the fact that the United States can not be supposed to be indifferent to the fate of an agency due to its counsel and advice, not to speak of its interest in the countries based upon its treaty with Nicaragua, which was the cause of the suit to which Nicaragua objected, it is to be expected that the United States will, on a proper occasion and when circumstances permit, endeavor to reinstall the court in the Palace of Justice built by the munificence of an American citizen, the portals of which are, for the present, closed to the appeal of justice.

JAMES BROWN SCOTT.

TREATMENT OF PRISONERS

In view of the current rumor, very likely without foundation, that American prisoners captured by Germany are threatened with specially severe treatment, it will not be amiss to call attention to our treaty agreement with her on this subject.

Article XII of the Treaty with Prussia of 1828 recites that the articles from the thirteenth to the twenty-fourth inclusive of the treaty concluded at Berlin in 1799 "are hereby revived with the same force and virtue as if they made part of the context of the present treaty." That these articles of 1799 are regarded as still binding by the Imperial German Government was shown in the correspondence over the wheat ship William P. Frye, sunk in January, 1915. The article of the Treaty of 1799 which covers the treatment of prisoners if the stipulating parties should be at war is numbered XXIV. It reads as follows:

And to prevent the destruction of prisoners of war, by sending them into distant and inclement countries, or by crowding them into close and noxious places, the two contracting parties solemnly pledge themselves to the world and to each other that they will not adopt any such practice; that neither will send the prisoners whom they may take from the other into the East Indies or any other parts of Asia or Africa, but that they shall be placed in some parts of their dominions in Europe or America, in wholesome situations; that they shall not be confined in dungeons, prison-ships, nor prisons, nor be put into irons, nor bound, nor otherwise restrained in the use of their limbs; that the officers shall be enlarged on their paroles within convenient districts, and have comfortable quarters, and the common men be disposed in cantonments open and extensive

enough for air and exercise, and lodged in barracks as roomy and good as are provided by the party in whose power they are for their own troops; that the officers shall also be daily furnished by the party in whose power they are with as many rations, and of the same articles and quality as are allowed by them, either in kind or by commutation, to officers of equal rank in their own army; and all others shall be daily furnished by them with such ration as they shall allow to a common soldier in their own service; the value whereof shall be paid by the other party on a mutual adjustment of accounts for the subsistence of prisoners at the close of the war; and the said accounts shall not be mingled with or set off Against any others, nor the balances due on them be withheld as a satisfaction or reprisal for any other article or for any other cause, real or pretended, whatever,

That each party shall be allowed to keep a commissary of prisoners of their own appointment, with every separate cantonment of prisoners in possession of the other, which commissary shall see the prisoners as often as he pleases, shall be allowed to receive and distribute whatever comforts may be sent to them by their friends, and shall be free to make his reports in open letters to those who employ him; but if any officer shall break his parole, or any other pris. oner shall escape from the limits of his cantonment after they shall have been designated to him, such individual officer or other prisoner shall forfeit so much of the benefit of this article as provides for his enlargement on parole or cantonment. And it is declared, that neither the pretence that war dissolves all treaties, nor any other whatever, shall be considered as annulling or suspending this and the next preceding article; but, on the contrary, that the state of war is precisely that for which they are provided, and during which they are to be as sacredly observed as the most acknowledged articles in the law of nature and nations. How very complete and how very modern!

THEODORE S. WOOLSEY.

THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE

On December 10, 1917, the Nobel Committee awarded the peace prize for that year to the International Red Cross Committee of Geneva. This is one of five prizes established by the late Alfred Bernhard Nobel, a distinguished Swedish scientist, who died in 1896, and was known during his lifetime as the inventor of dynamite. In his last will and testament, dated November 27, 1895, he set aside his fortune as a fund, the income from which was to be divided into five equal portions, and awarded annually as prizes to those who had distinguished themselves in accordance with the following provisions of his will:

All the remainder of the convertible fortune that I shall leave on my death shall be disposed of as follows: the principal, converted by the executors of my will

:

into safe investments, shall constitute a fund, the interest on which shall be distributed annually as a reward among those persons who shall have rendered the greatest services to mankind during the preceding year. The sum shall be divided into five equal parts, one of which shall be awarded to the person who shall have made the most important discovery or invention in the field of physical sciences; another to the person who shall have made the most important discovery or introduced the best improvement in chemistry; a third to the person who shall have made the most important discovery in the field of physiology or medicine; a fourth to the person who shall have produced the most remarkable literary work from an idealistic point of view; finally, a fifth to the person who shall have done most or the best work in the interest of the brotherhood of peoples, of the abolition or reduction of standing armies, as well as of the formation and propagation of peace congresses. The prizes shall be awarded as follows: in physics and chemistry by the Swedish Academy of Sciences; in physiology or medicine by the Carolin Institute of Stockholm; in literature by the Stockholm Academy; finally, in the cause of peace by a committee of five members elected by the Norwegian Storthing. It is my express will that nationality shall not be taken into account in conferring the prizes, so that the prize may go to the most deserving, whether he be a Scandinavian or not.

The amount of the fortune is estimated at nine million dollars, and the prize at approximately forty thousand dollars.

In the distribution of the peace prizes, the Nobel Committee has exercised a wise discretion, sometimes awarding it to an individual, sometimes dividing it between two held to have equal claims upon it, and sometimes to institutions, such as the Institute of International Law and the Permanent International Peace Bureau at Bern, so that there are two precedents for its award to the International Red Cross Committee of Geneva.

It is interesting to note in this connection that the first award was divided between Henry Dunant and Frédéric Passy, and that the Red Cross movement, of which the International Red Cross Committee of Geneva is the chief and supervising body, owes its origin to the activity of Dunant. He was a physician, who happened to be present in Italy at the battle of Solferino, in 1859, between France and Austria, and he was so impressed with the lack of attention to the wounded that he published a little work in 1862, entitled A Souvenir of Solferino. This pamphlet created a profound impression, and advocated the treatment of wounded by neutrals, as well as belligerents. The idea was adopted by the Society of Public Utility of Geneva, of which Mr. Gustave Moynier was president, and by means of this society and the coöperation of these two benefactors of their kind, the Red Cross Societies have been called into being and to their initiative all inter

national conventions dealing with the subject are due. The International Red Cross Committee, to which the prize of 1917 has been appropriately awarded, is not an official body in the sense that it sustains official relations to the various Red Cross Societies created and existing in the different countries of the world. . It is, however, regarded by them as a parent society and is accorded a moral leadership. It publishes an international bulletin of the Red Cross Societies, by means of which it keeps in touch with the national societies. It calls the international conferences, of which there have been nine, -- the first meeting in Paris, in 1867, and the last in Washington, in 1912, under the auspices of the Government of the United States.

The first award of 1910, to Henry Dunant, was a great and a deserved tribute, and the last award of 1917, to the International Red Cross Committee of Geneva, is not only a tribute to this great and beneficent institution, but indirectly a tribute to the memory of Henry Dunant as well.

The awards of the Peace Prize, including the first and the last, are as follows:

1901 Divided between Henry Dunant and Frédéric Passy. 1902 Divided between Elie Ducommun, honorary secretary of the Permanent

International Peace Bureau at Bern, and Albert Gobat, Director of the

Interparliamentary Bureau of Bern. 1903 Sir William Randal Cremer, member of Parliament, Secretary of the

International Arbitration League. 1904 The Institute of International Law. 1905 Baroness Bertha von Suttner. 1906 Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States of America. 1907 Divided between Ernesto Teodoro Moneta, President of the Lombardy

Peace Union, and Louis Renault, member of the Institute of France,

Professor of International Law at the University of Paris. 1908 Divided between Klas Pontus Arnoldson, former member of the Swedish

Parliament, and Fredrik Bajer, former member of the Danish Parliament, honorary president of the Permanent International Peace Bureau

at Bern. 1909 Divided between Auguste Marie François Beernaert, Minister of State

of Belgium, member of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives, president of the Interparliamentary Council, member of the International Court of Arbitration, and Baron Paul Henri Benjamin Balluet d'Estournelles de Constant de Rebecque, member of the French Senate, president of the French Parliament Group, member of the International

Court of Arbitration. 1910 The Permanent International Peace Bureau at Bern.

« AnteriorContinuar »