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The Trial of the Kaiser$
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William A. Schabas

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198833857

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198833857.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 20 October 2021

The Commission on Responsibilities

The Commission on Responsibilities

(p.99) 8 The Commission on Responsibilities
The Trial of the Kaiser

William A. Schabas

Oxford University Press

When the Peace Conference opens in Paris in January 1919, Georges Clemenceau insists upon the importance of prosecuting war criminals. It decides to set up a Commission on Responsibilities, with representatives of the five Powers (the United States, the British Empire, France, Italy, and Japan), as well as five smaller countries, including Belgium. The Commission soon agrees that the Kaiser should not be prosecuted for starting the war or for violating Belgian neutrality. However, a majority, led by the British representative, Ernest Pollock, and the French delegate, Ferdinand Larnaude, insist that the Kaiser should be tried for violations of the laws and customs of war by an international tribunal. The Americans, led by Robert Lansing, are fiercely opposed. Compromise proves impossible. The Commission issues a majority report favouring trial of the Kaiser for war crimes, while the Americans and the Japanese write dissenting opinions.

Keywords:   Commission on Responsibilities, Ernest Pollock, Ferdinand Larnaude, Robert Lansing, international tribunal, Belgium, neutrality, aggression, war crimes, Paris Peace Conference

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