Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

CHAPTER X.

MILITARY OCCUPATION.-TERMINATION OF WAR.“

CONQUEST. Military occupation.—A conquest and occupation of an enemy's territory is followed by a military government of that territory.

The best authorities regard a territory as occupied in a military sense when as a consequence of its invasion by the enemy's forces the nation from which it has been taken has ceased as a matter of fact to have any regular authority there, and the invading forces alone find themselves able to maintain order therein. The limits within which this state of affairs exist determines the extent and the duration of the occupation and military government.

The immediate effect of the military occupation of any portion of an enemy's country is the suspension of any and all authority which is derived from the government of the enemy over the occupied territory.

Military government. In the jurisprudence of the United States the system of rules established by the invading force is called military government. Such government is peculiar in that it is subject to no constitutional or legal restraints other than those imposed by international law and the usages of war.

The previously existing laws of the district, so far as they relate to the exercise of public administration are of no validity against the invader; while, on the other hand, the occupied territory lies without the bounds of the nation to

1 See Sec. III, Laws and Customs of War on Land. Appendix.

.

which the occupying army belongs, and hence neither the constitution nor the laws of that country can have any force there.

The result, then, is that the declared will of the military commander, tempered by his instructions, and by the humane sentiment of the times, and also by the established practice of civilized warfare, must be regarded as having the force of law within the occupied territory. Chief Justice Chase of the United States Supreme Court defined military government as a form of “military jurisdiction to be exercised by the military commander under the direction of the President (who is military commander-in-chief) in time of foreign war without the boundaries of the United States, or in time of rebellion and civil war within states and districts occupied by rebels treated as belligerents."

Martial law.—Sometimes military government has been confused with martial law. Martial law, however, is rather such a suspension of law, which has been best defined as being a military rule exercised by the United States or by a single state of the Union over its own citizens (not being enemies), in an emergency justifying its proclamation. It is declared at times to secure the suspension of the writs of habeas corpus. It was declared in portions of the North during the Civil War by the general government, by the State of Rhode Island during Dorr's Rebellion, and in more recent times in the State of Washington on account of the anti-Chinese riots, and in 1892 in Idaho by the Governor on account of a miners' riot in one county. There is some doubt as to the power of a Governor of a territory to declare martial law, although such power has been exercised in the past.

Authority for military government.—The authority for military government is the fact of the occupation. A proclamation or public notice to the inhabitants informing them of the extent of the occupation and the powers proposed to be exercised is customary, but not necessary. Military government, whether administered by officers of the navy or those of the army of the belligerent, or by civilians, left by him personally in office, or by other civilians appointed by the military commander, is the government of and for all of the inhabitants, native or foreign. The local laws or ordinances may be left in force, and, in general, as a matter of convenience should be, subject, however, to their being in whole or in part suspended and others substituted at the discretion of the governing military authority.

Instances of military government in the history of the United States exist in all of our wars. During the revolutionary war military government was exercised by the British during their occupation of Boston, New York and Philadelphia. In the War of 1812 it was exercised at Castine, Maine, during British occupation, and in the Mexican War by us in the City of Mexico and elsewhere. During the Mexican War, when the port of Mazatlan was captured by our naval forces, a military government was provided by the commodore in command and a purser of the navy was made collector of the port. During the Civil War of 1861-1865, from reason of its exceptional proportions, military government was more generally and variously exercised than at any other period of our history. The military governments exercised in Porto Rico, Cuba and the Philippines during and since the Spanish War are, of course, well known.

The population of the occupied territory cannot be required to swear allegiance to the country of the invader, nor can the inhabitants be compelled to perform military service against their own country. Residents who rise against the government of the occupation have been called war rebels, and in the present instructions to our armies, under General Order No. 100, the offense was punishable with death; but it is doubtful whether the opinion of the present day would

[ocr errors]

sanction such severity. A war traitor, however, whose offense would be a treacherous one, like that of a spy, would probably meet the same penalty as a spy.

A temporary success of a raid or of a popular uprising would not destroy the rights of military occupation, but a recapture of the occupied territory causes the rights of occupation to cease. The rights founded on force cease when that force is overcome.

Requisitions for supplies for army in occupation.—An army in occupation generally finds it necessary in a greater or less degree to require from the occupied territory the supplies necessary for its support. If practicable, these military requisitions, as they are called, which are generally articles of daily consumption, are made the subject of formal requisitions upon the civil officials or upon the individuals possessing such articles in quantity. They should not exceed the military necessities nor the resources of the country. The German forces before Paris, at Versailles, made daily requisitions for the following articles, which give an idea of the quantity and extent of their demands. They required 120,000 loaves of bread, 80,000 pounds of meat, 90,000 pounds of oats, 27,000 pounds of rice, 7,000 pounds of coffee, 4,000 pounds of salt, 20,000 litres of wine and 500,000 cigars.

Contributions.—Contributions are sums of money exacted over and above the taxes drawn from the occupied districts or particular portions thereof. They should be imposed only from necessity and on the written order and responsibility of the general or commander-in-chief, or of the superior civil authority established by the forces holding the occupied territory. Receipts should be given in all cases, both for requisitions and contributions, in order, at least, to afford proof to other commanders of the amount already exacted from this district, and as evidence in case the original government in the invaded and occupied state should decide to pay the amounts after the war was over from the general taxation of funds of the country. In 1871 the French Government after the war appropriated 100,000,000 francs to districts most impoverished by the enemy

Indemnities.-Indemnities are contributions levied at the end of the war to pay in whole or in part the war expenses of the victor. They are arranged for in the treaty of peace, and certain territory of the enemy is generally occupied until the indemnity is paid.

Armistice.-An armistice is an agreement which may be applicable to an entire army or naval force, or to only a portion or district, for the suspension of hostilities or operations. Its duration is usually fixed and official notice of its period and other terms is given without delay to all those whom it may concern. During its pendency neither partyin the absence of a special condition authorizing it—may engage in any military work, operation or movement, at least upon the immediate theatre of war; or under its cover execute a retreat. If violated by one of the parties the other is entitled to terminate it, and its violation by private individuals subjects them to punishment under the laws of war and to a liability to give indemnity.

If the cessation of hostilities is for a very brief period or for a temporary purpose, such as for a parley or for removing the wounded or burying the dead, it may be well to use the term “suspension of arms."

On the contrary, if it should be a cessation of hostilities preliminary to a treaty of peace, and a cessation that covers the general operations of the war ashore and afloat, it may be called either a general armistice or a general truce-indifferently.

The offense of violation of an armistice may consist of a

a

[ocr errors]

· Arts. 48, etc., Laws and Customs of War on Land. Appendix.

« AnteriorContinuar »