Carnegie Endowment for International peace
Report ... to inquire into the causes and Conduct of the Balkan Wars

The War and International Law

Our whole report is an answer to the question put in this chapter. That answer may be summed up in a simple statement that there is no clause in international law applicable to land war and to the treatment of the wounded, which was not violated, to a greater or less extent, by all the belligerents.

This chapter is not, however, a mere recapitulation of what has been already said. We have reserved for this stage some questions touching more nearly on the domain of international law in time of war. As for the questions already considered we shall use the opportunity of adding supplementary notes and quoting certain documents not referred to in previous chapters.

1. Before speaking of the war, let us look first at the question of treaties. We have seen that the Balkan war was the result of the violation (an extraordinary violation, be it said) of a treaty which was itself the basis of common action crowned with success, and a treaty which assumed the continuance of common action for eight years. We have seen, it is true, that Servian politicians plead not circumstances which did not extenuate (since they did not recognize what they did as a misdeed), but which would have authorized their violation of the treaty of February 29/March 13, 1913, with the Bulgarians. They recalled a clause of which much has been said in international law to the effect that treaties are to be observed—pacta sunt servanda—only if there is not change in the condition of things—rebus sic stantibus. After the statesmen [In Chapter I, reference was made to a book by Balcanicus (pseudonym of one of the Members of the Cabinet) which opened the campaign for treaty revision in the government journal Sammouprava in April, 1913. His book consists of the collected articles that appeared in the paper.] came the professors to prove, on scientific data, the sound foundations of these patriotic claims. Dr. Mileta, Dr. Novakovits and Dr. Lazar Markovits (who translated Balcanicus' book into German,) published in the Belgrade Diebo two articles in which they had recourse to Keffler, as authority Bluntschli, Jellinek, Martens, and above all a recent study by Mr. Erich Kauffmann, professor at Kiel University, Das Wesen des Volkerrechts und die claudula rebus sic stantibus (Tiibingen Mohr, 1911, p. 231) to prove that Servia had a right to demand revision of the treaty and, in case of refusal, to regard it as abrogated. [See the reprint of the articles by Novakovits and Markovits (in Servian) Srpsko-bourgarski ongovove so glediehta medjunarodnog prava.(The Serbo-Bulgarian treaty from the standpoint of international law.) Belgrade, 1913.] On the authority of Professor Kauffmann, the Servian professors cited as precedents, the Russian declarations of October 29-31, 1870, on 'the Black Sea, and of June 13, 1886, on Batoum; the refusal of Prussia and Austria Hungary in 1864 to conform


to the London Protocol of 1852; the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908. The authors of the articles add the revision, in 1912, of the Franco-Spanish treaty of 1904 on Morocco.

This report is not a legal study, and we may leave to specialists the task of deciding whether the clause rebus sic stantibus can be applied to the question of revision and to the breach of the treaty. The Commission expressed its opinion (Chapter I) when they showed that the allegations of a change in the circumstances was but a pis aller, to which recourse was had upon the failure of the attempts at giving a forced interpretation to the terms of the treaty and thereby proving that the Bulgarians had been the first to violate it. What makes the violation particularly odious, is that a condition vital, nay essential, to one of the contracting parties, indispensable to the conclusion of the treaty, was violated by another party as soon as the common end had been attained. The Servians did not show what the English call "fair play." It is true that on both sides the question was regarded as one of "force"—(eine Macht-frage). If formal right was entirely on the side of the Bulgarians, they lost their moral right in so far as they transformed the war from one of liberation to one of conquest (see Chapter X). But even so the moral right of Macedonia remained, guaranteed by the treaty, violated by the war, and abolished by the treaty of Bucharest. If the clause rebus sic stantibus could be applied to the loss of the Adriatic and the acquisition of Adrianople, why could it not also be applied to the Roumanian occupation? If the Serbo-Bulgarian treaty ceased to be in force from the moment when there was no longer any real force to defend it, why should the treaty of Bucharest stand after the occupation ceased? Such are the dangerous conclusions that could be drawn from the Servian application of the clause,—and above all from its method of application. It may be said, with Jellinek, that there is not only no international treaty, but even no general law to which the clause rebus sic stantibus may not be applied. There could be no progress were there no means of adapting legislation to changing circumstances. But it does not follow that the series of necessary adaptations can be understood as a series of breaches of the law {Rechtsbruche). One law is changed by another law. A treaty must be changed by another treaty. This principle is formally recognized in one of the cases cited as "precedents" by the Servian professors, that of Russia's refusal in 1870 to regard herself as bound by Articles XI and XIV of the treaty of Paris of 1856. In a note of November, 1870, Lord Granville protested categorically against such a violation of the principle of the obligatory force of treaties. Italy and Austria Hungary supported the English protest. A new conference was summoned in London on January 17, 1871, and on Lord Granville's motion it began its sitting with this unanimous resolution: "The plenipotentiaries of North Germany, Austria Hungary, Great Britain, Italy, Russia and Turkey, this day joined in conference, recognize that it is an essential principle of the law of nations that no Power can release itself from its treaty obligations, or modify their provisions, without


the consent of the contracting parties reached by friendly understanding." This is a principle which can not be abrogated by any precedent or sophistry, if international law is to be a reality at all.

2. The question of the opening of hostilities is regulated by the Convention of the Second Hague Conference, the first article of which lays it down that "hostilities between the contracting Powers can not commjence without preliminary notice, of no equivocal kind, which must take the form either of a reasoned declaration of war or of an ultimatum with a conditional declaration of war." The Conference however rejected, on the ground of "the exigencies of modern war," the Netherlands' amendment which tried to insist on twenty-four hours' delay after the declaration. [See the discussion on this subject at the Second Hague Conference. Lemonon, 344-345.]

Much was not asked therefore, and the little that was asked did not rule out surprises or the use of military ruse. But the case of course was not foreseen of a State's opening hostilities without itself knowing clearly whether it wished to begin war. It is true that there could be no surprise, since the Servians and Greeks had regarded war as inevitable from the beginning of time. They were in fact in a much better state of preparation, from a military point of view, than the Bulgarians. The latter in beginning war were "without being aware of it, playing the Servians' game," as Mr. de Penennrun well observes. [Cf. up. cit, p. 72. Mr. de Penennrun published a fac-simile (pp. 32 and 48) of an order taken on a Bulgarian officer and dated June 16/29, with dispositions for the commencement of hostilities on the morning of the 17/30. The Bulgarians on their part have published a fac-simile of the war proclamation prepared in advance by the Servians with the date June 18 inserted in writing in the printed text (see the Mir of June 28). The printed proclamation ran—"Our Greek allies" and "our Montenegrin brothers march with us against the Bulgarians."]As for the Greeks, we have seen that King Constantine left Athens for Salonica on June 14/27, with the war manifesto in his pocket and "grounds for supposing that war would that week begin all along the line from Pirot to Elevtera." [See Chapter IV, the article by Proodos of June 14/27.]Were General Savov's telegrams haply known to the Greeks? Anyhow the element of the unexpected in the opening of hostilities was evidently taken thoroughly into consideration by the adversaries. But this does not prevent the judgment that the steps taken by the Bulgarians did formally contravene international endeavor to make appeal to mediation or arbitration, which in this case was provided for in the treaty. The undertaking to this effect in the Serbo-Bulgarian treaty was formal. A mutual undertaking was made in Article 4 of the secret annex, in terms that admitted of no tergiversation or misunderstanding: "Any difference that may arise as regards the interpretation or execution of any one of the clauses of the treaty, of this secret annex and of the military convention, shall be submitted for definitive decision to Russia as soon as one of the two parties shall have declared that they regard it as impossible to reach an understanding by direct negotiation." The Servians had consented to the execution of this clause and their reservations were in no sense obligatory on the


arbiter. Had the Bulgarians, after this, violated the clause while continuing to invoke it, they would have sanctioned the violations which the Servians had allowed themselves in Macedonia, and dealt a final blow at the legal existence of the treaty. This is why, while recognizing that Servia's violation made conflict inevitable, the responsibility of formal breach must lie with the Bulgarians.

The element of ruse was not lacking either. The Servian papers have published stories of a banquet given by Bulgarian officers to Servian officers, at which they were photographed together a few hours before the battle; and told how, as they took their visitors home, the Bulgarians measured the distances and observed the dispositions of the advance guard. The Servians also accused the Bulgarians of having tried to prejudice international opinion by instructing their Ambassador at Belgrade, Mr. Tochev, to enter a protest against an alleged act of Servian aggression eight hours after the nocturnal attack of June 16/29-17/30. If as there is reason to suppose, although Mr. Tochev denied it in the press, he was one of those who pressed on the war and was au courant with the events that were to take place, this action is all the more blameworthy. But to accuse Mr. Tochev of not having been in a position to know what was happening on the Bregalnitsa at the moment when he was making his remonstrance at the Ministry at Belgrade, is excessive. The telephone was there; thanks to it, Mr. Hartvig could accuse Mr. Danev, on June 9, of "protesting" against Servian agreement to Russian arbitration; and it must have been in equally good working order a week later. [M.T. Tochev has denied these revelations which Mr. Hartvig himself said were incorrectly reported by his interviewer, Mr. Gantchev. See the Mir, November 13/30, 1913.]

3. We are on much firmer ground when we pass to the law and custom of land warfare, violated by all the belligerents despite the existence of an international convention signed by them all: namely, the "Convention concerning the laws and customs of land warfare," and the annex accompanying it, elaborated at the Second Hague Conference in 1907, which have replaced the Convention of July 29, 1899, signed by the Powers after the first Hague Conference. Bulgaria, it is true, made certain reserves on the question of an amendment changing the 1899 Convention. This amendment forbade any belligerent to force the members belonging to the nation of his opponents dwelling in his territory, to take part in operations of war against their own country, and provided further that if the said belligerent invaded the enemy's country he might not compel the inhabitants to give information about the opposing army and its means of defence. But with this exception, Bulgaria, like the other representatives of the Balkan States, signed the Convention.

In its first article the Convention lays it down that "the contracting powers shall give their armed land forces instructions in conformity with the regulations * * * annexed to the present Convention." Since by Article 3 the belligerent party was made "responsible for all acts committed by persons forming part of its armed forces" (and under "armed forces" the regulations com-


prised, over and above the regular army, the "militia" and "volunteer corps"), it might have been expected that the governments signing the Convention would feel a particular interest in seeing that their army knew their obligations. Was this done in the Balkans? In particular, were any such notions introduced into the military instruction of soldiers and officers? The Commission's information on this important head is incomplete, owing to the lack of aid from the Greek and Servian governments in their inquiry into the war. Indirectly, however, the conclusion may be reached that the 1907 Convention (and likewise that of 1899), remained unknown to the Balkan armies generally, with the possible exception of one or two isolated officers. All that was known was the Geneva Convention, more or less. Today, as in 1900, "the conscientious exercise of the Hague Convention by the governments signing it, is still to come. They must give their armies instruction in conformity with the Convention. It is desirable that such instruction should form part of the compulsory teaching in military training establishments and in the instruction of the soldier. Only on this condition can the application of the Hague Convention be seriously guaranteed” [See preface to a book by Mr. F. de Martens, La Paix et la Guerre. Paris, 1901.] In the Balkans these words of Mr. Marten's are at this day a puim desiderium as they were ten years ago. As far as the Commission is aware, exception can only be made, and that to a limited extent, in the case of Bulgaria. The Commission learned that the Convention of Geneva, at any rate, was taught to the officers in training, not to the soldiers. Only in Bulgaria was the Commission able, after repeated attempts and through a private source, to procure documents showing that during the last war at least some efforts were made by the heads of the different army corps to stop crimes against the laws and customs of war. These documents possess such interest in view of the Commission's object, that they are here translated verbatim, with regret that they are the only ones we can quote:


Order to the Twenty-second Infantry Thracian Regiment of his Royal Majesty Charles Edward Saxe Coburg Gotha N. 93. October 14, 1912, Pekhtchevo Camp

I have noticed that certain soldiers of the regiment, after crossing the frontier, commit arbitrary acts which become serious crimes in time of war. I see with great regret that the heads of companies consider these acts lightly as of no weight, and permit them to be done under their eyes. Thus in the camp at Tsarevo-Selo, I saw some soldiers leave the camp and go into the neighboring village, which had been abandoned by its inhabitants, to pillage, each for himself, forgetful of his duty of remaining at his post. I have also seen, in camp, soldiers taking from somewhere unknown goods and cattle in order to make themselves a meal different from the company's. Thus a large number scattered. This shows either that the soldiers are too greedy or that their superiors do not look after their food. I have also seen some soldiers either through negligence or by intention, destroying the telegraph lines, doing damage to houses left vacant by the people and even going into Bulgarian houses. [Here there is a small lacuna in the MSS.] Some of them behaved ill to the wounded and captive enemy soldiers. It might seem superfluous, but it is necessary to recall to the captains of companies that it is their duty to explain to the soldiers the provisions of the laws and the responsibility of anyone offending against them. I order that the following instructions as to foraging and the penal laws be conveyed to all the soldiery :


1. All factories, furnaces, workshops, military depots, transports, provisions State and communal banks within the sphere of our army are military booty. The property and provisions of individuals are not to be touched. If the population has left the town or village, but the authorities remain, their property also is inviolable. Even in cases where there are no public powers, private property is regarded as belonging to the State or the commune. Military booty is State property. This is why the appropriation of objects of military booty is regarded and punished as a theft of State property.

When a regimental detachment enters an inhabited place where there are goods forming military booty, the head of the detachment must take steps to preserve these objects and if possible remove them after making a report to the general staff of the regiment but he must not take anything without express orders. The head of a detachment may not take goods he needs except in case of extreme necessity, or when permission has not arrived in time.

When a detachment gets no supplies of food, the head may make requisition himself of what is necessary to feed his men and fill up his reserve, if broken into. In such a case he must send in a report. Receipts must be given for goods requisitioned.

Soldiers are absolutely forbidden to prepare their food themselves. The ration allowed is more than sufficient. It should be remembered that it is one of the most important of the captain's duties to know how to make good use of local food supplies.

2. The soldiers must be made to understand that the Turkish telegraph lines are necessary for our communications, and they must not destroy them.

3. It must be remembered that military honor, the laws and customs of war and international conventions oblige us to treat the peaceful population of the enemy's country well and prisoners of war the same. It is not becoming in a soldier to show courage against a disarmed enemy, incapable of defending himself. Prisoners are in the power of our government, not of the individuals and corps who have captured them. Ill treatment ofprisoners is forbidden; to assassinate an enemy soldier who has given himself up or been taken, is to commit a murder. To pillage dead or wounded soldiers and prisoners is also a crime according to our laws.

4. The following articles of the military penal code are to be read to the soldiers :


Article 241. Those guilty of pillaging the dead on the battlefield are committed to a disciplinary company for six months to one and one-half years, with confinement in cells and transference to the second conduct grade.

Article 242. Those guilty of pillaging the wounded or prisoners are committed to a disciplinary company for two to three years with confinement in the cells and transference to the second conduct grade. If the pillage has been accompanied with violence the punishment is death.

Article 243. Anyone guilty of having intentionally burned or otherwise destroyed munitions of war or other objects of defence and commissariat, in places being defended against the enemy, or of destroying or damaging the telegraphs, water pipes railways, bridges, dykes and other means of communication, shall be punished with death.

Article 246. Those guilty of premeditated murder, of outrage, pillage, brigandage and premeditated arson, shall be punished with death. Seal of the Regiment.

Commander of the Regiment,colonel savov. 

Adjutant Major,captain ghigev.



Army Order No. 69, Losengrad (Kirk Kilisse), December 13/26, 1912

Information has reached the general staff which, to our great regret, causes us to suspect that certain individuals and corps allowed themselves to commit with impunity various acts of pillage and violence against the peaceable population of the conquered countries. Since actions of this kind, highly blameable and inhuman, compromise the Bulgarian name and the Bulgarian nation in a high degree, and on the other hand sap the confidence of our future subjects (especially the peaceful Moslem population) in our power to guarantee their honor, property and life, I order:

1. That the commanders of the armies and the military governors take severe and prompt measures to open an inquiry on actions of this kind committed in the zone of occupation of the army under their charge, and to bring the culprits immediately before a tribunal in accordance with the law, without distinction of rank or class. * * * The


members of the Military Hierarchy are notified that they must be severe and show no clemency in suppressing actions of this kind; they must not forget the weight of responsibility resting on them if they do not observe this conduct.

2. That the most stringent measures be taken to introduce order and discipline in the rear guard of the army. The persons not belonging to the army, and those who while belonging to the army, do not behave worthily, are to be sent immediately into the Kingdom.

3. That the military as a whole be warned that the peaceful population of the country occupied is placed without distinction of creed or nationality under the protection of our military laws, and that in conformity with these laws any unjustifiable severity, any violence and any injustice will be punished. I invite the military and civil authorities to devote themselves to the attainment of the end proposed.

4. In conclusion, let it not be forgotten we have undertaken the war in the name of an elevated human ideal—the liberation of this population from a regime made insupportable by its severity and its injustice. May God help the valiant sons of Bulgaria to realize this noble ideal, may they assist in restraining one another from compromising this great and glorious work in the eyes of the civilized world, and of their dear native land!

The Aide-de-Camp of the Commander in Chief.

general lieutenant of the general staff savov.

It is with the sense of moral well being that one pauses, in the midst of the horrors which we have been compelled to describe, to read these lines, so different in their spirit from the august threats which speak in the well known telegram of King Constantine: "To my profound regret I find myself involved in the necessity of making reprisals in order to inspire their authors (the authors of the ‘Bulgarian monstrosities'), with salutary fear and to cause them to reflect before committing similar atrocities." To compare the conscientious spirit which animates these men, full of desire to preserve the high character of their mission, with the boastfulness based on hatred and reproach for "barbarian hordes" who "have no longer the right to be classed in the number of civilized peoples," is to be prepared to see a change in the standard of values.

Alas, in the actual practice of the "laws and customs of war," the contrast grows less. The sublime and the hateful, heroism and barbarism, come near together. Nevertheless, the desire to remain just and noble is a merit which we desire to note. It is a tendency we have only found among Bulgarian officers and intellectuals. It will certainly cause us satisfaction if, after the publication of this report, the information lacking to us shall be produced in the shape of similar documents, which not satisfied to make a candid avowal were equally anxious to apply a remedy. Unhappily, other indications prove that even the consciousness of having committed faults and crimes is wanting.

Faults and crimes are found in profusion everywhere. We will recapitulate them, comparing the sad reality with the fine resolutions taken in the Hague Convention of 1907, which were signed by the belligerents. In our classification, we will follow the order of the articles in the Convention. We begin with the important question "Prisoners of War."

Article 4. Prisoners of war are in the power of the enemy government, but not of the individuals and corps who have captured them. They are to be treated with humanity. All their personal possessions, except arms, horses and military papers, remain their property.

Article 5. Prisoners of war may be subjected to imprisonment in any town, fortress,


camp or place, with the obligation of not going outside certain fixed limits; but they may not be imprisoned unless the security of the State urgently demands it, and then only during the continuance of the circumstances necessitating this step.

Article 6. The State may employ prisoners * * * with the exception of officers on works. These works shall not be excessive, and must have nothing to do with the operations of war * * * Work done for the State shall be paid for according to the military rates in force * * * The Government * * * is charged with their maintenance. As regards food, sleeping accommodation and clothing prisoners shall be treated on the same footing as the government troops * * * Prisoners escaping may be subjected to disciplinary penalties.

Article 23. To kill or wound an enemy who having laid down his arms, or having no means of defence, has yielded at discretion, is forbidden.

What a gulf between these generous maxims of an enlightened age and the realities of the Balkan war! Inspiration in the one case is drawn from the principle of Montesquieu: "The whole right which war can give over captives is to secure their person so that they can no longer do any harm."

In the other case we go back almost to the maxims of Germanicus and of antiquity as a whole: "Make no prisoners." Their fate here is decided by revenge and cupidity, the sole difference being that instead of being carried into slavery, people are pillaged and killed, or else killed and pillaged. Prisoners are still made, but very few on the battlefield, and those taken are often not left to live. The overheated mind of the soldier can not understand that the disarmed and wounded enemy whom he finds lying on the ground is a prisoner of war, whom he ought neither to kill nor to wound in accordance with Article 23 of the Convention quoted, and Article 2, of the revised Convention of Geneva (1906). [See for previous changes Armand du Payrat: The Prisoner of War in Continental Warfare. Paris, A. Rousseau, 1910, pp. 133-135.] In the Balkans they kill their man. If he is made prisoner, disapprobation from very high quarters is sometimes incurred. "What is the use of dragging this rubbish about?" Such was the phrase reported to the Commission by a Bulgarian prisoner who said he had heard it spoken by a high Servian official, when the ambulances were carrying the Bulgarian wounded.

As to the Bulgarians, numerous cases are quoted in our Chapter III, on the assertion of documents collected by the Servian general staff. For the Greeks we have, in the first place, the admissions made in the famous letters and reports of their soldiers. "We only took (during an attack) a few (prisoners) whom we killed, for such were our orders!”

It is still more horrible that when the battle is over, any prisoners that are made are not kept: it is preferred to make an end of them. Here are some more terrible admissions from Greek letters. "Out of the twelve hundred prisoners made at Nigrita, only forty-one are left in the prison." * * * "We took fifty (Bulgarian comitadjis) whom we divided among us. For my part I had six and I did 'clean them up.’ I was given sixteen prisoners to return to the division, but I only brought two back. The others were eaten in the darkness, massacred by me." We can not quote any admission on the part of the other belligerents equal to these. But, acts of this sort, fewer in number perhaps, must


be imputed to all. The following is a Servian story published by the Servian Socialist paper Radnitchke Novine (No. 162, August 12/25) :

We imprisoned 300 Bulgarian soldiers. We were ordered to put up a machine gun in a valley. I guessed the object of these preparations. The Bulgarian prisoners watched us at work and seemed to guess what was awaiting them. We put them in a line: then our machine began to work along it from one end to another. * * * When we buried them we found in the pocket of a non-commissioned officer Le Messages Ouvrier and a detailed journal of the war. Probably he was a socialist democrat.

Assassination of prisoners on the march is also found among the Bulgarians. But the motives are different. Those who can not march or who tried to escape are killed (contrary to the provisions of Article 6 of the Convention, which imposes "disciplinary penalties").The mass massacre of Turkish prisoners by the Bulgarians at Stara Zagora is explained (but naturally not justified) by a panic produced by rumors announcing the arrival of the Turkish army.

A Turkish prisoner at Sofia, Mr. Haki-Kiamil, of the fifth regiment of sharpshooters, told us of an episode whose detestable character admits of no doubt, although here again it was a question of panic. He gave himself up to the Bulgarians in the neighborhood of Adrianople. Soon afterwards a panic arose and the Bulgarian officers ordered all prisoners to be killed. They were put at the bottom of a wall and all shot. He himself received eleven wounds but was saved by the ambulance. Captain Noureddine and Lieutenant Nadji were also killed at Adrianople on the day of the capture of the town, after having given themselves up. They were escorted by non-commissioned officers. The soldiers said to them, "You have done us a lot of harm with your machine guns; now you are going to pay for it." And they began to kill the prisoners—twenty soldiers and two officers. Before the end of the slaughter, a Bulgarian officer arrived and saved the life of the witness, of one Medmed Begtchete, and another soldier. The third prisoner told us that a body of 157 prisoners was taken from Erikler. The soldiers beat these prisoners and pushed them with their sticks. Three prisoners wounded in the feet could not march fast enough; they were bayoneted.

The few among the wounded who did not die under such horrible treatment were, once they reached the hospital, on the whole well treated by the sanitary staff. It is true that sick enemy soldiers occupying the same room often behaved in a most unworthy manner towards them, especially in the earlier days. Later, an improvement almost always took place; thanks to the hospital staff (mostly foreigners), the rights of humanity were restored. The members of the Commission found this to be the case wherever they have happened to visit the hospital.

As regards the next stage, the treatment of healthy prisoners incarcerated in various spots, the divergence from the prescriptions of the Convention, was not


Fig.23.-A Bulgarian Red Cross Convoy

Fig.24.-Roumanian Ravages at Petrohan


wide in Bulgaria or in Servia. Generally speaking, despite mutual recriminations in the press, prisoners did not suffer severely either at Sofia or at Belgrade. A Bulgarian officer, Mr. Kissditzy, told us at Sofia that the quarters for officers and particularly for soldiers were bad at Belgrade; for example, there were as many as a hundred persons in a room which only held thirty. The medical treatment was insufficient; the Servian doctor, our friend, Mr. Vasits, came rarely. The other doctor, a Greek from Gumurjina teased the prisoners so that they themselves asked not to be attended by him. The Turkish prisoners we saw at Sofia looked tolerably well, but they complained of the bad quality of the food. The Greek prisoners did not criticize the food, which they said was mediocre. A Servian prisoner in flight from Bulgaria, a farmer, said: "There was enough bread; they (the Bulgars) gave us what they had themselves." As to prisoners' work (allowed by the Convention) the Bulgarian government states that those employed on State works were remunerated at the same rate as the Bulgarian soldiers, that is to say, they got no money but were lodged, fed and clothed. Those working in connection with private enterprise, "ought" to receive a stated daily wage. The Minister admits that malversion was possible, but knows no case of it. The Turkish soldiers explained to the Commission that they were forced to work on the fortifications against Knjazevac (contrary to the Convention) and that they received no pay.

All this, however, is nothing in comparison with what the prisoners of war endured in Greece. Contrary to the Convention they were shut up in prisons, not temporarily but permanently. These Greek prisons ("the Bastilles of the twentieth century" as the Patris called that at Athens, May 29) were horrible. Bulgarian prisoners returning in October from Priekes, from Ithaca, and from Nauplion, told appalling stories. We select one which is very well substantiated as a specimen. [Mr.Lazarov's story was published by the Mir, October 24/November 6.] The author, Mr. Lazarov, was captured on board the steamer Catherine, on which the horrible scenes of drowning which are described in Chapter IV took place.

On June 24/July 7, we arrived at the Island of Ithaca. The soldiers were the first to disembark. They were all searched and shut up in the prison. Then the civil prisoners were taken off and beaten one after the other, before being shut up. We heard agonizing sobs from children and old people of seventy. The prison is constructed in the middle of the sea, [In the official Greek denials a great deal of fuss is made because the stories of the Bulgarian prisoners allude to the "uninhabited islands" of Ithaca and Trikeri, whereas Ithaca is inhabited by 20,000 inhabitants, and Trikeri is not an island but a big town at the extremity of the Volo peninsula. As regards Ithaca, Mr. Lazarov replies that the prison is clearly situated near the channel of the island. Trikeri was taken by the prisoners for an island, probably because they could not see behind the mountain, the lower portion of which unites it to the continent.] on a plateau of 3,100 m. c. of which 2,000 are occupied by the building. The prison is damp and gloomy. There we spent a month locked up, during which time we only had three hours a day to breathe the open


air in the courtyard. At the end of the month we were let out, but for this fifty centimes were taken from each of us. Nevertheless the civilians continued shut up until October 22/November 4. The only people who saw the country were those who were led into the town to work as street porters. Before going into the prison, the 223 soldiers had taken from them 108 pairs of boots, ten belts, a pair of trousers, eight razors, five watches, four purses, thirty francs, and a cross which had been given as a reward for courage. We sent a written protest to the Commander of the Island of Ithaca. He returned it to us saying that he could do nothing since he did not know the culprits, although we had named them in our report. From the civilians there were taken fr. 3,882 (a thousand francs being taken from Nabouliev alone, the man who was drowned), without counting coats and shoes. Their protest was equally unavailing. Although there was spring water in the town, well water was brought to us in barrels: it was stony and tasted detestable, indeed it was hardly drinkable, and we could not use it for cooking our soup which consisted exclusively of beans. We were fed mainly on chick-peas, lentils, haricots, rice, potatoes, stinking and rotten olives, bad fish, poor cheese and raisins. Out of 226 dishes only twenty-two were meat dishes. And this meat was goat, which even dogs will not touch with us. For three days, June 18, 24 and 25, we had no food at all and ten times we were only given one meal in the twenty-four hours. There was absolutely no medical attention. Men who were grievously ill were left without attention. The dampest room in the prison was assigned for a hospital, and the sick were left there without medicine, food or medical attention, that they might die, not that they might recover. We had, in fact, to look after ourselves. Those among us who belonged to the ambulance service, secretly visited the hospital to see the sick people and make out prescriptions, which we sent into the town in wine bottles. We had to pay ten times too dear for our medicine and our pockets were empty. Collections had to be made to buy milk, eggs, etc., for the sick. Those who had toothache had to put up with the services of the town barber, who made extractions at two francs a tooth. Our ambulance people had even to look after the Greek sanitary staff, who complained that their doctor understood nothing, and refused to look after them; that they could not get medicine and that the chemists would not give the State credit. Throughout the time of our imprisonment we had fifteen soldiers sick, without counting civilians.The principal diseases were fever, diarrhea, stomatitis, angina, erysipelas, etc. A typhoid patient in a delirious state came out of his room, which was two yards from the sea, and drowned himself. I myself suffered from rheumatism for two months and a half; not only was I never attended by a doctor, I was not even given a mattress, but had to lie on the damp boards. After enduring great sufferings on September 13/26, we sent a request to the commander asking him to remove us from the damp prison and place us in houses suitable for prisoners of war, to treat us as prisoners of war and not as convicts; to give us blankets as many of us had no cloaks; to allow us to write to our relations, and to go out into the town to buy necessaries; to provide us with water fit for washing instead of dirty water. Only this last request was granted. Our allowances were paid us regularly, one franc, fifty centimes per month for a soldier, three francs for a corporal, nine francs for a non-commissioned officer of low grade, fifteen francs for a higher grade non-commissioned officer and for a sergeant


major. Two days after our departure we were asked to sign a declaration in Greek to the effect that we had been well treated, and took away with us all that we had brought. Not to sign was impossible. We signed making, however, a reservation by adding two letters upon which we had agreed: O. M., private opinion, which they did not see (ossobaye mneniye).

The captive officers were no better treated, as may be seen from the story of Major Lazarov, commander of the Bulgarian garrison at Salonica. Mr. Lazarov describes their sufferings on the steamer, their four days stay at Piraeus, in a damp and dirty prison, where they slept on boards in an unwholesome atmosphere, were ill fed, not allowed to go out except to be photographed, and then were exposed to the insolence of the crowd and the curiosity of journalists. After their departure, these journalists stated in the press that the Bulgarian officers had been received in the best families, had mixed in high society, visited theatres and cinemas, but that since they had abused their hospitality they had finally been sent to Nauplia, because one young officer had been incorrect in his behavior to some ladies of the high society of Piraeus. Mr. Lazarov, after his return to Bulgaria, sent the following telegram to Mr. Venizelos:—

The captive Bulgarian officers of the Salonica garrison protest energetically against the way in which they were treated during their captivity in Greece. They were robbed of their baggage and most of them of their money, thrown into a medieval prison, where they were buried alive in a dungeon in the fortress of Nauplia, deprived of air and light, deprived also of any communication with their families. The doctors not excepted, they endured every humiliation and every form of suffering that the most refined cruelty could invent.

Here we do not speak of the "civilians," although their sufferings, especially in the dungeons in Salonica, were even greater. In their case the point of view taken was that they were rebel Greek subjects. It may be noted that generally speaking the term, "prisoner of war," was interpreted too widely in the Balkans. At Sofia, the Commission was greatly astonished to see old men of eighty years and children pass before it in the guise of "prisoners" returned from Servia. We questioned these good people, who were dressed as peasants, and discovered that they belonged to the population of villages in remote regions, and had endured a form of temporary servitude in the middle of the twentieth century. The 1907 Convention demands that there should be "a fixed distinctive mark recognizable at a distance," to show who is "belligerent."At a distance it is easy to see the age of these old people and to see therefore that they could not be called "prisoners of war." (The photographs in the possession of the Commission of a "review of prisoners" at Sofia, prove clearly enough that one could see from a long way off the sort of people with whom one had to deal.)

By Article 23 of the 1907 Convention, "It is forbidden * * * to use arms, projectiles or other material likely to cause needless suffering."


With regard to the "needless suffering," we already know that there wen a thousand ways of causing it. The fundamental principle of the introductory Article (22) of the chapter on the "methods of injuring" was interpreted in the Balkans in an inverse sense, and the maxim there employed ran—"Belligerents have an unbounded liberty of choice of means of injuring the enemy." As regards forbidden arms and projectiles, the rules of the Convention remained a dead letter. It is known that during the first Balkan war expanding or "dum-dum" bullets were used by the Turkish soldiers. It will be seen that the same projectiles were used by Christian soldiers.

As regards the Bulgarian army, the Commission is in possession of official Servian reports to the general staff of Uskub, from Tsrny Vrah on July 13, and from Bela-Voda on July 21, 22. General Boyovits wrote from Tsrny Vrah (No. 2446) that "the enemy is using 'dum-dum' bullets, a fact confirmed by the doctor." Eight days later, Colonel Marinkovits (Choumadia division, second reserve, No. 2070) sends specimens of these bullets and of dynamite projectiles to the general staff, with some observations communicated to him by the commander of the Tentli Regiment, Second Reserve. The commander's remarks are as follows:

During the fighting with the Bulgars it was observed that in each combat they employed a quantity of "dum-dum" bullets. Herewith are sent five bullets and a portion of one. In addition, it was noticed that they used ammunition with dynamitic contents; this was specially remarked during the engagement at Bosil-Grad, where the majority of the wounded, even though slightly wounded, died very soon. As an example, there may be cited Milovan Milovanovits, fourth company, third battalion of this regiment, who comes from Bresnitsa, district of Liubits, department of Rudnik. He was wounded in the leg and although immediately attended by the army doctor, he died within an hour. I shall receive accounts of the use of these bullets from the commanders of the Tenth Regiment, first reserve and the third surplus regiment, first reserve. I know of a case in the Tenth Regiment, first reserve, where a sergeant was wounded by a bullet of this kind and had his whole face destroyed.

The testimony of the doctor was sent by Colonel Marinkovits on the same day, July 21 (No. 2079), to the general staff: "In connection with the report, No. 2070, today's date, I beg to submit the report of the commander of the Third (Auxiliary) Regiment, first reserve. On perceiving in the course of the engagement with the Bulgars on July 15 and 17, that the enemy's bullets had a totally different effect from hitherto, I consulted the army doctor, whose statement is as follows:

I have not much experience of dum-dum bullets, but according to the accounts of the wounded and of all the participators in the combats of Preslata, with the Albanians, I beg to state my opinion to the commanders


that the Bulgars have a certain amount of these bullets at hand, and especially used them at night. The action of these bullets consists in their expansion when striking a body; thus the wounds are deformed and heal with greater difficulty. I beg that this be verified on the patients, and that attention be drawn to the fact in appropriate quarters."

On the following day, July 22 (No. 2085), the statement of the army doctor, Mr. Mihilovits, was sent to the general staff. It was countersigned by Colone! Marinkovits:

In connection with the reports, 2070 and 2079 of yesterday's date, I have the honor to send you the following report of the army doctor of the Tenth Regiment, first reserve.

In reply to the commander's question whether the Bulgars employed dumdum bullets, or bullets of a dynamitic nature, in the combats along the Vlasina frontier, the doctor made the following statement:

I beg to state that I found eight cases among the wounded of our first battalion, who fell in the combat of the 7th inst., where the injuries had been caused by firearms of small caliber. In each case the flesh looked as though it had been dragged and torn with a pair of tweezers. There were two openings in each case, where the bullet had penetrated and emerged, i. e., it passed right through. These holes were both disproportionately large. One of these eight cases of injuries caused by dum-dum bullets is very characteristic, namely, that of Sergeant Krasits, of the first battalion. He has the right side of his upper lip cut and the whole of his face and throat are covered with burns about the size of a five para piece [this is about the size of an English penny]. Sergeant Krasits was brought to the hospital three hours after he had been wounded. His head was much swollen, especially his face and eyes. His lids were swollen to such an extent that he could not see. His eyeballs were uninjured. In my opinion, Sergeant Krasits's injuries were caused by a rifle bullet of dynamitical or other explosive contents. It is quite obvious in his case. In several other cases of injury, it may be stated with certainty that they were caused by dum-dum bullets. Many of the wounded whom I attended that day told me that the Bulgarian bullets explode a second time when they enter the body.

As for the Greek army, the Commission received a proces-verbal signed on July 21/August 3, at Sofia, by Dr. Toramiti (head of the Austrian Red Cross mission), Dr. Kohl (head of the Princess Elizabeth of Reuss' mission), and Dr. Mihilowsky (head of the Clementina hospital at Sofia). On the request of General Savov, these officers formed a special commission to determine whether or no dum-dum bullets had been used in the Servian army. Their conclusions are as follows:


A packet was put before them composed of four samples, the ends of which had obviously been artificially filed with a view to assisting the action of the bullets, contrary to the provisions of the Geneva Convention. The samples do not appear to represent something specially manufactured, but rather something improvised; they are something half way between an ordinary bullet and an explosive bullet. The wounded men examined by the Commission, Peter Khristov, of the sixty-second infantry regiment, and Michael Minovski, of the second regiment, showed more serious wounds than are produced by normal bullets in steel cases, wounds that may be attributed to explosive bullets. Similar wounds, however, might be produced by a bullet meeting a rigid object on its way, and so entering the body out of shape.

The following is a copy of the verbal note sent by the Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs to the embassies of the six great Powers at Sofia, July 24/ August 6 (No. 2492), on the employment of the dum-dum bullets by the Greek army:

In the course of recent actions, the Greek troops used bullets against the- Bulgarian soldiers which have the ends cut and carry incisions of two millimeters in diameter and 4-5 millimeters in depth, in the middle of the grooved portion: the ravages produced by these bullets in the human body are ten times worse than those made by ordinary bullets. While the wounds made by the ordinary Greek bullet passing through the human body show a diameter of 6.5 millimeters—equal to the caliber of the Greek rifle,—those produced by the bullets with their ends cut are as much as seven centimeters in diameter, that is to say, the wounds are ten times as bad. The doctors attached to the army operating against the Greeks bear witness to the existence of hundreds of cases of this kind. Three doctors, two being foreigners, in fact drew up a statement ad hoc.

The effect of bullets cut in this manner and incised in the middle of the grooved portion, may be explained as follows: As. a result of its impact on the human body the cut bullet alters its shape while continuing its movement, while the air in the cavity formed in the middle of the grooved portion is compressed and, tending to recover its normal density, acts as an explosive, at the moment of the deformation of the bullet in the human body. The result is terrible wounds.

The use of bullets of this kind having been prohibited by Article 23 of the Regulations of the Laws and Customs of Land Warfare, drawn up by the Second Peace Conference at The Hague in 1907, the Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs protests against the infraction of this provision committed by the Greek troops, and begs the Royal Imperial Embassy of * * * to be so good as to bring the above facts to the knowledge of their government.

The military authorities are in possession of three cartridges containing the bullets in question.

Photographs of these Greek cartridges were shown to the Commission; on them Greek letters can be seen—  and . The filed


Fig.25.-Shortened Greek Cartridges

ends can also be seen very distinctly. Before judging the facts alleged in the document cited, the reserves made by the doctors consulted at Sofia must be remembered. The bullets in question are "improvised," and not officially manufactured; moreover, a certain number of the wounds explained by the action of dum-dum bullets are capable of another explanation. This certainly does not change the nature of the offence, but it may change its degree, and leave in suspense the question of guilt. The governments concerned ought to make it their interest to make inquiry among themselves with a view to discovering the explanation of the facts established, instead of merely denying them, which would lead to a suspicion of their guilt.

4. Article 23 f.

The undue use of the white flag is forbidden.

Article 32. It (the white flag) enjoys inviolability, as do the trumpet, the bugle and the drum, the standard bearer and the interpreter who accompany it. A captain to whom a white flag is sent is not compelled to receive it in all circumstances. He may take all the necessary steps to prevent the white flag from taking advantage of the opportunity to reconnoitre. In case of abuse he has the right to retain the white flag temporarily.

Generally speaking proper respect for the white flag was lacking in the atmosphere of mutual distrust, a distrust perhaps justified in part by the con-


tempt for moral obligations and formal rights to which this report bears witness. The parties accused each other mutually of attempts at "undue use." This however, can not justify the direct attacks on bearers of the white flag, which indubitably took place. A telegram from Uskub, published in the Servian press [See the Odyeke of July 22/Augnst 4.]records the following fact. The commander of the Servian troops besieging Vidine at 11:30 in the morning of July 18/31, sent an officer and three horsemen to inform the commander of the garrison at Vidine of the conclusion of an armistice, and to begin pourparlers on a line of demarcation. The bearer of the flag of truce was on the road, the trumpet was played and a soldier carried the white flag. When the flag was thirty paces from the village of Novo Seltsi, the Bulgarians opened fire. The envoy was not wounded, but his two companions were hit. The telegram does not state what followed, but the Bulgarians evidently ceased to fire and the bearer of the flag of truce completed his task.

The Servians were guilty of even more serious violation of the Conventions regulating the use of the flag of truce. On June 18/July 1, an order was given to the Bulgarian army to cease the offensive. For forty minutes the Bulgarians ceased and some officers were sent as bearers of the flag of truce. This, as we know, was the last opportunity on which it was still possible to avoid war, since the government at Sofia had disavowed the orders given by General Savov, and he had been obliged to beat a retreat. We possess the stories of those who bore the flag of truce, which show the reception given by the Servians to this attempt to stop the hostilities which had hardly begun. Lieutenant Bochkov was arrested; his eyes were bandaged, and he was led first before the commander of the regiment, and then before the commander of a division. Contrary to the Convention, he was told that he was taken prisoner. He refused to remove his bandage himself, and was thereupon told that he was regarded as a spy. The affair was reported to Prince Alexander, the heir to the throne, who replied that he refused to negotiate with the Bulgarians, or to receive envoys from them. Here he was, of course, within his rights, but he had transgressed them for the two following reasons, in declaring the man Bochkov prisoner: (1) the Bulgarians had not declared war; (2) he had not got full power. Nevertheless, Mr. Bochkov had been sent with a flag of truce by the commander; and when the heir-apparent accused him of being a spy, he replied that it was not usual for spies to appear with their eyes bandaged. Alexander's sole reply was to push him brutally with his hand. His photograph was taken and published in the Servian papers as that of a Bulgarian spy. With his own eyes he saw a Bulgarian peasant shot by the order of the heir to the throne, who accused him of being a spy. He himself was led off on foot behind a horseman who was charged to take him to Uskub; he had to sleep on the street while his escort lay under a roof. Throughout the journey to Belgrade,


he was insulted and mocked at. Another bearer of a flag of truce, Reserve Lieutenant Kiselitsky—of whose imprisonment we have already spoken,—reports the same fact. "We had two white flags (with Mr. Bochkov). The Servians took us prisoners and again began firing on our lines." Mr. Kiselitsky saw a Bulgarian soldier thrown out of his litter to make room for a Servian soldier, on the order of the heir to the throne. He saw Bulgarian prisoners being pillaged all along the way. He himself was insulted and made the mark of dubious jokes. The Commission heard a third witness, Mr. Maguenev, an officer of the 31st Regiment of Reserve. He was one of the bearers of a flag of truce, who was asked to give his full authority. He replied that he was ordered not to enter upon pourparlers, but to inform the Servians that the Bulgarians had received orders to stop firing. The Servian Lieutenant-Colonel Solovits then took his revolver, cartridges, etc., but stopped when Mr. Maguenev said that if he did so he would blow his brains out. He was then sent to the general staff and the firing began again. They tried to pass him off as a comitadji. The prefect of Niche swore that he knew him, that he was one Stephen Yovanovits, born at Veles. Although this attempt failed, the Servian policeman who took him to Belgrade shouted to the crowd which assembled at every stop: "Behold the Bulgarian spy." He was insulted like the others.

An even more serious case is that of Captain Minkov, of the general staff, who was also sent to the Servians as the bearer of a flag of truce. When he reached the Servian line, Minkov asked to be led before the commander. The commander, an old man, interrupted him and without leaving him time to explain himself said, "We are no longer in 1885. You may have an order to stop hostilities but we have an order to go straight on to Kotchani." With these words, he struck Mr. Minkov with his riding whip, and said, "You are my prisoner." Four soldiers siezed Mr. Minkov, and as they moved the commander shouted the order again. The witness of this scene, Petko Ivanov, a Bulgarian non-commissioned officer, who accompanied the captain and told us the story, could not understand the words spoken at this point, but he gathered their general sense, the more that at that moment the soldiers fired and he saw Captain Minkov fall. He saw the captain stretched on the ground, struggling for a few minutes in convulsive agony; then he was led off himself. The tragedy of this scene was enhanced by the fact that at the moment of its occurrence the Bulgarian army had received the order to cease the offensive.

5. Article 27. During sieges and bombardments, all necessary measures shall be taken to spare as far as possible sacred edifices, hospitals and places in which sick and wounded persons are collected, so long as they are not at the same time being employed for directly military purposes. It is the duty of the besieged to indicate such edifices and places by special visible marks, to be notifed in advance, to the besieger.

Article 21. The obligations of belligerents as regards the service of the sick and wounded are regulated by the Convention of Geneva.


We have here two of the Articles in the legislation agreed upon between belligerent nations with which compliance was clearly very easy, and most important for the belligerents themselves.Nevertheless, even this Article was. violated. The places and circumstances are precisely indicated in a report by a. Russian doctor at the Bulgarian hospital at Serres, Mr. P. G. Laznev. [Dr. Laznev's report is published by Professor Miletits in his collection "Documents, etc.," pages 107-140. The passages quoted are taken from a copy of it in our possession.] Mr. Laznev took over the direction of the hospital after the departure of the Bulgarian troops on June 23/July 6. Side by side with the Red Cross flag-which already floated there, he caused the Russian national flag to be hoisted. Mr. Laznev's story is as follows:—

On the next and following days, the members of the Greek revolutionary committee repeatedly presented themselves.They took away arms belonging to the sick, which had been placed in the cellars of the hospital. They did not indulge in any other acts of violence; on the contrary, they offered their services. The women of the town stole some of the goods belonging to the cholera patients. After the arrival of the Greek troops, as before, Apostol, the Greek Bishop of the town of Serres, was at the head of the municipal administration. He told us that the stolen goods would be restored to the soldiers, and the women thieves executed; their names were known. The stolen goods were not restored, and not one of the thieves was punished.

On June 28, the Bulgarian infantry and mountain artillery appeared on the heights above the hospital. A combat took place between the Bulgarians and the Comites who were hidden behind the hospital. The Comites were compelled to retire, and the Bulgarians were in possession of the hospital. This, however, lasted but for half an hour, since more powerful detachments of Greek infantry and cavalry came up. An uninterrupted fusillade and cannonade took place between the enemies and lasted from three to six o'clock in the evening. As before, the hospital was the center of the fray, since it served to cover the Greeks, as it had but now covered the Bulgarians. Many windows in our hospital were broken and we were obliged to place the sick on the ground near the wall, to protect them against stray bullets; as it was, one of our patients was wounded in the ear by a ricochetting bullet. I tried in vain to show the Greeks, as before the Bulgarians, that the hospital should not be chosen to cover the enemy's troops. They would not listen.

Evidently the inviolability of the hospital was abused by both sides, with the effect that the sole condition under which the hospital was inviolable, was annulled. No account at all, in fact, was taken of war legislation. The combat over, violence followed. Let us quote further from Mr. Laznev:

The victors then arrived worn out and exasperated by the battle. They could not be said to enter; they forced the doors of the hospital. They then threw themselves on the soldier belonging to the ambulance service who barred the way; he was clad in his white hospital apron and carried the


red cross on his left arm. This did him no good for he was cruelly beaten. They then forced the doors of the rooms reserved for the wounded, their rifles in their hands. They threatened them all with death, because "the Bulgarians had burnt the towns." [For this alleged "fire" see the evidence of Dr. Laznev himself and his colleague, Mr. Klugmann, in Miletits and in our 'Chapter II.] I and my assistant, Kamarov, tried to defend the wounded to the best of our power, by means of course of persuasion, not of arms. Kamarov received several blows on the chest and the shoulders from the butt ends of muskets. The nozzles of the muskets were turned towards me. Raising my voice, I told them, through my interpreter, that I was neither a Bulgarian nor a Greek, and that they had no sort of right to do any acts of violence where the red flag and the Russian flag were floating. I succeeded in persuading them, and they went off. The patients got off with a serious fright. At this moment, I heard a noise in the upper story in which were the kitchen, the dining room and my room. I went up to see what was going on. I found some Greek soldiers busy pillaging, under pretext of searching for arms. Each was taking what he could lay his hands on, glasses, towels, sugar—nothing escaped. I found my room in a state of frightful disorder. Some dozen soldiers were busy, forcing the locks of my boxes and trunks, and rifling them. All the things had been thrown out and were lying about everywhere. Each was taking what pleased him—cigarettes, tobacco, sugar, my watch and chain, my linen, my pocket book, my pencils—nothing was beneath their notice. I was very much afraid, because in my hand bag there was both my money and that of the hospital; luckily, however, the Greeks did not see it. An officer appeared and seeing the Russian national flag and that of the red cross affixed to the balcony, had them torn down, despite our protestations, and hoisted the flag of the Greek navy. Until nightfall the Greek soldiers went on coming in groups, each of which had to be appealed to not to maltreat the patients. This day, June 28, was the worst for the Serres hospital. From June 29 onwards, they began sending us Greek cholera patients, and little by little looked upon us with more favorable eyes.

The Commission was informed of a case in which the sick found in hospitals by the Greeks were even more .cruelly treated. Dr. Tauk was a Turkish doctor, attached to the hospital in the town of Drama. When the Greeks took Drama, they found five sick Bulgarian soldiers in the hospital. They ordered the doctor to give them up. The doctor refused. The Greek authorities thereupon had the wounded taken out of the hospital, and these five were conveyed to a barracks outside the town. Our witness, whose name we are not able to give, states that these wounded men were massacred.

At Vidine, the Commission had the opportunity of finding that the Servian army could not be altogether exonerated from behavior of this kind. The Bulgarian hospital in this town seems to have served as a mark for the Servian artillery during the siege. The proof is a proces-verbal signed by the director of a hospital, by the priest of Vidine, Mr. Nojarov, by the departmental doctor, Boyadjiev, and two other members of the medical corps. The Commission visited the spot and was able to verify these statements in the proces-verbal.


This day, July 17/30, about four o'clock in the afternoon, the Servian artillery directed a violent fire against the walls of the Vidine hospital Round the hospital there fell more than twenty shells, in the court and in the street. One shell struck the infectious ward, in which wounded soldiers and other patients were being treated; it destroyed two walls and exploded in a room, wounding the patient, George Trouika, from Iassen, in the Vidine canton. The red cross flag was hoisted near the demolished part of the building. Another shell struck the main ward, piercing the cornice under the roof below the red cross flag without exploding. But the fall of the projectile created a panic among the wounded, and even those in a serious condition and those who had lost limbs, threw themselves on to the staircase. The above mentioned facts are confirmed by photographs taken by Mr. Kenelrigie, an English engineer, and Mrs. Kenelrigie.

The firing on the hospital by the Servians was intentional; they knew that many wounded people were being treated there. The flags served as targets. The hospital is situated outside the town, and is visible from ten miles off, especially from the position occupied by the Servian artillery. Moreover, two white red cross flags, one two meters square, the other one meter, eighty, were floating from the walls of the hospital.

6. Article 25. It is forbidden to attack or bombard, in any way whatsoever, houses villages, dwellings or buildings which are not defended.

Article 28. It is forbidden to hand over a town or place, even when taken by assault to pillage.

The most important instance of violation of Article 28 would, if the accusations made against the Bulgarians were true, be that of Adrianople. But we have seen that the commander did all that was in his power to put a stop to pillage (begun by the population itself), as soon as the town was taken. This can not be stated with equal certainty as regards individual soldiers, who attempted to take part in the pillage. Unfortunately, the case was different at Kniajevats, where it is evident that the military authorities connived at pillage, which assumed extraordinary proportions. The Commission will not refer to the treatment of Salonica by the Greeks, because that episode belongs to a period previous to the Commission's inquiry, and has not formed the subject of any special study.

The cases where villages were pillaged are so numerous that we can not go into them at this point. It may, however, be stated, that it was almost normal in the case of certain localities referred to in this report.

Cases of bombardment of undefended places, in violation of Article 25, are also known to the Commission. An Englishman named R. Wadham Fisher, who at first watched the progress of the war and afterwards took part in it as a lieutenant in the fifth battalion of the Bulgarian militia, stated to us that the Turkish fleet had bombarded places situated on the shores of the sea of Marmora, namely, the little town of Char-Keui (Peristeri), and the village of Mireftchi (Myriophyto), although they were not fortified and had no artillery. At Char-Keui, it is true, there had been some Bulgarian militia, which was driven off by the Turkish attack on January 26, 1913. According to Mr. Fisher, the Bulgarians


left seventeen wounded there. Three days later, January 29/February 11, when they returned, they found that they had all been killed by the Turks. "I saw," said Mr. Fisher, "the dead body of a child of fifteen years, stretched out on the ground near the fountain whither he had come to draw water, with a jug in his hand. A girl of twelve years old, who bore the marks of twelve bayonet wounds, had been outraged by four Turks. She soon died. S;ix old women of about seventy-five years old had also been killed. Two young girls, the daughters of the priest, had been carried off by the Turks on their steamers. So much for ‘pillage.’" * * *

7. Let us now to another order of facts: the relations of the conquerors and powers in occupation, to the inhabitants of the occupied territories. Here the mass of facts is so enormous that to recapitulate them, after what has already been described, would be superfluous. We may, however, pause a moment to touch upon a class of misdemeanors which may be said to have been of daily occurrence, in order to make. the picture of the violations of the laws of warfare complete, and once again confront the text of the law with the tragic reality.

Let us begin with the contributions and requisitions to which all the inhabitants were subjected, and which were foreseen and regulated by the terms of the Convention of 1907:

Article 48. If the power in occupation, within the occupied territory, raises taxes, duties and tolls for the advantage of the State, it is to do so as far as possible in accordance with the scale and distribution in force in the country. * * *

Article 49. If * * * the power in occupation raises other taxes in money in the occupied territory, this is only to be done to meet the needs of the army or of the administration of the said territory.

Article 51. Contributions are only to be collected by the authority of a written order * * *. A receipt shall be given to the contributors.

Article 52. Payments in kind and services requisitioned * * * shall be proportionate to the resources of the country. As far as possible they shall be paid for in ready money, if not, receipts shall be given.

The Commission has in its possession a number of proofs which show that the regulations were not carried out by the Powers in occupation, Servians and Greeks; especially not by the latter. Among the documents in the Commission's possession there is occasionally mention of a number of receipts for goods requisitioned, but the documents are generally valueless. The Commission heard of cases in which, instead of writing the value of the goods taken upon the receipt, oaths or jokes were written upon it; for example, so much "rubbish" was taken; or there were simply illegible words. Corn, hay and cattle, to the value of fr. 30,000, was taken from an old man of seventy years of age, Mitskov by name, of Krouchevo, in return for which a receipt for fr. 100 was offered him. As he was courageous enough to protest, he was shut up in the dampest cell of the dungeon at Krouchevo. Next day his son was summoned, compelled to accept the hundred francs and sign the receipt. More often, however, no receipt was given the villagers. Sometimes some excuse was made, but this was compara-


tively rare. The excuse generally given was, that "Turkish" property was being taken, not that of the Slav inhabitants. One particularly interesting instance may be quoted in full:

A Servian soldier, Milan Michevits, arrived in the village of Barbarevo (canton of Kratovo), with several men belonging to his company. He made requisitions in every house, and arrested a man called Guitcho Ivanov, to compel him to declare that his corn is Turkish corn. Another individual, Arso Yanev by name, is beaten and tortured during the whole night, to compel him to say that his sheep are Turkish sheep. With the same object he arrested, beat and tortured Guiro Yanev; he beat Ordane Petrov to make him call his cow Turkish property; he tortured Mone Satiovsky, an old man of eighty years of age, by stripping him to the skin and making him stand the whole night on a hill, to force him to state that the fifteen goats taken from him are Turkish; etc.

We frequently find that goods thus taken were sent to Servia or Greece. We know of cases in which Servian officers obtained "subscriptions" for the red cross; and others in which the resources of the area were absolutely exhausted by the repeated levy of contributions, etc. In fact, it goes without saying that where pillage is organized in this way and left thus unpunished, no respect for established rules regarding requisition and contribution can be expected.

8. Article 47. Pillage is formally forbidden.

Article 45. To compel the population of an occupied territory to take the oath to the enemy power is forbidden.

Article 46. Family honor and family rights, the life of individuals and private property, religious convictions and the practice of worship, are to be respected.

The reader need only recall Chapters II to IV of this Report, to reach the conclusion that in the Balkan war pillage was universally admitted and practiced. So far as we know, the orders above, published by the Bulgarian military authorities, represent the sole attempt made to recall to the soldiers the opposing principle of international law as applied to warfare. And even this order proves that the principle was violated and that subalterns enjoyed an indulgence which encouraged rather than prevented crime. Nevertheless the operations of the Bulgarian army were carried on in regions where the mass of the population was composed of kinsmen. The time was insufficient to allow of "reestablishing and securing order," in accordance with Article 43, of the Convention of 1907. The forces "in occupation" were the Greek and Servian armies; it was into their hands that "the authority of legal power" passed for the most part in the regions conquered from the Turks. We know that their first act, in their capacity as "Power in occupation" was, as soon as the cession had taken place, to compel the population to "take the oath" and to recognize themselves as Servians or Greeks. According to the treaties the occupied territory ought to have been regarded as possessed in "condominium" by all the allies. But we have seen


that all the relations between the population and the occupying army were. from the very beginning, perverted by this tendency to appropriate the occupied territory and to prepare for its annexation; this created a relation as between conquerors and conquered. Thus the solemn words of Article 46 have all the effect of sarcasm.

"Family honor and family rights, the life of individuals and private property * * * are to be respected." In reality, no one is astonished by outrage; they forget even to look upon it as a crime. In this connection, the Bulgarians are probably less guilty than the others. More patriarchal or more primitive in their ideas, they preserve the feeling of the soil, and are more disciplined than the others. The mocking Greek women call them "girls in great-coats." This certainly could not have been said of the Greeks.

"Individual life" was certainly rated cheap during these months of war, and "private property" at nothing. Theft was as common as outrage, and both represented infringements of the law of warfare. This was the so-called "peaceful occupation," as carried on most notably by the Roumanian army. Some acts of destruction carried out by the Roumanians at Petrohane, the highest point on the road between Sofia and Vidine, are fresh in the memory of the Commission. The little villa in which the late Prince of Battenberg used to spend the night when he came there for hunting, was destroyed, and the meteorological station ruined, the splendid instruments broken and the observation records, the work of many years, torn up and burned. In comparison with this the unfortunate scientists of the observatory thought nothing of the young women outraged in the neighboring village, or the food and cattle taken and not paid for; they sank into insignificance in comparison with this irreparable loss. This was "peaceful" occupation. Previous chapters have shown what occupation by force was like.

Was any tenderness shown for "religious convictions" and "the forms of worship"? Unhappily not. We have described the destruction of mosques and churches, the ruin of sepulchral monuments, the profanation of tombs. One party began: the other came to take revenge; it was a form of tit for tat. We have verified and partly confirmed Mr. Pierre Loti's description of what happened at Havsa, while drawing his attention to the events of a neighboring Christian village. For Mr. Loti's edification, another example of Turkish sacrilege may be given. We read in a Greek report of July 9/22 as follows:

Yesterday about three o'clock in the afternoon, the sailors of the Turkish warship, which has been anchored at Silivri for the last four days, went to the cemetery of the orthodox Greek community and overthrew all the crosses on the graves there.

Against this there may be set a Turkish complaint, sent by Colonel Dr. Ismail Mail to the commander of the garrison at Stara Zagora, where he and a great number of Turkish soldiers were held captive. "Several days ago," writes


Dr. Ismail Mail, on April 3/16, "a captive soldier came here and told us that various means, advice, promises, threats, had been employed to compel him and his compatriots, 'Moslem pomaks,' to conversion. * * * I replied by telling the soldier not to be worried, since such a thing seemed to be impossible. Today however, I learn that some 400 prisoners, all Moslem pomaks, have been led away into an unknown place." * * * Dr. Ismail Mail protests because of the risks of "contagion." As to the result of his complaint we are ignorant, but we have already had occasion to say that the Bulgarians themselves admit that, in their relations with the pomaks of the occupied countries, the principle of Article 46 was not observed. Moreover, the mere fact cited above affords an instance of the violation, or of the intention to violate, Article 18: "Every latitude is left to prisoners of war in the exercise of their religion."

To sum up, there was, as we said at the beginning of this chapter, no single article in the Convention of 1907 which was not violated, to a greater or lesser degree, by all the belligerents. International law as governing war exists, and its existence, if not always known, is at least guessed at by all the world. Yet, although all the belligerent States had signed the Conventions in question, they did not regard themselves as bound to conform to them.

It should, however, be added that the mere fact of the presence of the Commission in the Balkans has already done something to recall the nature of their obligations to the belligerents. Where, as in Eastern Thrace, the Commission was expected, a Bulgarian paper observes that "the atrocities have diminished." On the Albanian frontier, on the other hand, where atrocities were beginning again, the journey of the Commission was opposed. In this connection a question was raised by a Servian paper which deserves notice, whatever be the motive for their action. On the very day of the forced departure of the Commission (August 13/26), the Trgovinski Glasnik tried to justify the action of the Servian government by stating that an international inquiry, claiming juridical powers, was going to be undertaken in the Balkans, whereas such powers belonged exclusively, in an independent and sovereign country, to the government. The establishment of such an inquiry was, according to the paper, a limitation of sovereignty and an interference with the rights of the State. In so far as the State does not consent and grant special permission for inquiry to be made, the mere nomination of such a Commission constituted by itself "an act of international arbitration."

The organ of "the mercantile youth of Belgrade" indubitably went rather far. The function of the Commission was in no sense "juridical," and its conclusions (to some extent foreseen by the paper referred to), are in no way analogous to intervention by international diplomacy. The Commission only represented pacificist public opinion, although in the course of its work it frequently received assistance from the States concerned. This was the case in Bulgaria, where it had the opportunity of interrogating official personages on the


facts which interested it; where it received information not only from private persons but from the government itself; and where it was permitted to search the archives (the Greek letters) and to communicate with State institutions (the government departments, the Holy Synod). This was also the case in Greece to some extent.

Nevertheless the question raised by the Trgovinski Glasnik is not superfluous, and the Commission deals with it here. Were it possible for there to be a commission of inquiry with the belligerent armies, during war, not in the shape of an enterprise organized by private initiative, but as an international institution, dependent on the great international organization of governments, which is already in existence, and acts intermittently through Hague Conferences, and permanently through the Hague Tribunal,—the work of such a body would possess an importance and an utility such as can not attach to a mere private commission. Nevertheless, the Commission has succeeded in collecting a substantial body of documents, now presented to the reader. It has, however, met with obstacles, in the course of its work, which have cast suspicion on its members. A commission which was a permanent institution, enjoying the sanction of the governments which signed the convention, could exercise some control in the application of these conventions. It could foresee offences, instead of condemning them after they had taken place. If it is stated, correctly enough, that conventions can not be carried out so long as they do not form an integral part of the system of military instruction, it may be stated with even more force, that they can not be carried out without a severe and constant control in the theater of war. Diplomatic agents and military attaches are given a special place with the army in action. Military writers have already mooted the idea of establishing a special institution for the correspondents who follow the army. Attention ought, therefore, to be given to the control which could be exercised by an international commission, not there to divulge military secrets, but as the guardian of the army's good name, while pursuing a humanitarian object.

If the work we have done in the Balkans could lead to the creation of such an institution as this, the Commission would feel its efforts and its trouble richly rewarded, and would find there a recompense for the ungrateful task undertaken at the risk of reawakening animosity and drawing down upon itself reproaches and attacks. May their task then be the prelude to a work destined to grow!

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