§ 30. Sir ELLIS HUME - WILLIAMS
asked the Prime Minister whether the trial has taken place at Leipzig of any Germans charged with cruelty to British prisoners of war; if so, who was tried, 1063 and with what result; and, in the event of no such trial having taken place, if he can state when the first will be held; who is to be tried; and what arrangements have been made for the attendance of British witnesses and of some person to attend the trial on behalf of this country?
§ 61. Mr. BOTTOMLEY
asked the Prime Minister whether he can now give the date for the trial of alleged German war criminals; and whether Britain will be represented at such trial?
No trials of Germans charged with cruelty to British prisoners of war have yet been held, nor can I give the date when the High Court at Leipzig will commence them. Complete statements of the charges, witnesses and evidence in the typical cases brought by this country have been prepared and printed for the use of the High Court at Leipzig, and as soon as the date of the trials has been fixed by the High Court, which has, I understand, already made certain preparations and inquiries, the arrangements for the attendance and examination of witnesses and for representatives of this country to attend the trials will be completed.
§ Sir E. HUME-WILLIAMS
Considering that the trial of these men charged with cruelty to prisoners was provided for in the Peace Treaty, and that it was contemplated it would take place almost immediately, does the right hon. Gentleman not think that some pressure might be brought to bear upon the German Government to expedite the trial, which is now to take place in Germany instead of in this country?
His Majesty's Government feel the serious nature of the delay, and will do anything they can to expedite the trial.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
Is this delay due to the German Government trying to protect the alleged criminals of their own nationality, or is it due to the British Government?
My hon. and learned Friend assumes that the delay must be due to wilful default by one or other of the two parties. I cannot accept that assumption.
I am answering the question for my right hon. Friend, and I am not personally conversant with all the doings. I think it would be unjustifiable to assume that there has been wilful or deliberate delay on the part of the German authorities, and I am quite sure that our own authorities have not imposed any delay which they could avoid.
§ Mr. BOTTOMLEY
Does the scheme for the trial involve trial by jury, and if so does the right hon. Gentleman seriously think that any German jury is going to convict?
I understand it does not. I am uncertain, but from my general recollection, I am fairly confident that the High Court does not sit with a jury.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the alleged criminals are in custody or are free?