HC Deb 08 August 1901 vol 99 c28
MR. BRYN ROBERTS (Carnarvonshire, Eifion)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that a man named Coetzee was, on the 24th of June last, tried at Dordrecht by a Military Court, composed of a Lieutenant-Colonel of the Royal Irish Regiment and a Colonial Major and Lieutenant, on a charge of murder and high treason; that the evidence disclosed that a Boer picket had been surprised by Colonel Scobell's column on the 6th of June, and that two men, of whom the prisoner was one, were found with rifles and ammunition in a neighbouring donga, from which the witness thought shots were being fired; and that on this evidence against Coetzee, and the evidence of another witness, he was certain the prisoners were the sons of a British subject, Coetzee was convicted and executed; and whether, in view of the feeling among our Dutch fellow-subjects caused by military executions of this kind, he will direct that captured Boer soldiers who are alleged to be British subjects shall be reserved for trial by the ordinary courts.


I have no information concerning the first part of the question. In reply to the second part, it is impracticable to try men taken in arms against us by ordinary courts.