HC Deb 11 March 1929 vol 226 cc794-6
24. Colonel WEDGWOOD

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will inquire from His Britannic Majesty's Minister in Bukarest whether, when the new Rumanian Government raised the state of siege in Rumania, they transferred to the civil Courts all the cases affecting Jews and other minority peoples which were pending for trial for the last 10 years before the military courts?

The SECRETARY of STATE for FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Sir Austen Chamberlain)

I informed the right hon. and gallant Gentleman, in reply to his question of the 13th of February, that military jurisdiction had been superseded by civil jurisdiction everywhere in Rumania except provisionally in the frontier zones—I think it is a zone of 10 kilometres. All trials pending before the military courts will now presumably be handed over to the civil tribunals, and as the Rumanian Government make no distinction between Jewish and other Rumanian subjects, I see no reason to question His Majesty's Minister further on the point.


Would the right hon. Gentleman be good enough to inquire from His Majesty's Minister whether what he presumes is actually the case—whether in fact these cases are being handed over, because I hear that they are not?


I think it is clear, from the information I had before, that the military jurisdiction prevails only in the frontier zone, and that, therefore, cases outside that zone will be tried by the ordinary civil Court.


I am afraid that that is not so. May I ask the right hon. Gentleman once more whether he would write to the British Minister and ask whether there are 10,000 cases pending and whether those cases have been handed over, outside the 10-kilometre zone, to the civil Court; and perhaps, at the same time, he might ask about the case of the man Dobrogeanu, who, I hear, has just been sentenced by a military Court to 10 years' imprisonment—solitary confinement, with chain on his arms and legs—for being a Socialist?


I think the right hon. and gallant Gentleman will see that I cannot inquire about the internal affairs of another country. I can only act if I have information of a serious kind which, if it were true, would make it my duty to bring the matter before the Council in pursuance of the provisions of the Treaty. For that I must have really substantive information. If the right hon. and gallant Gentleman has information which he cares to supply to me, I will examine it.


Would the right hon. Gentleman's reluctance to inquire into the affairs of another country extend to the affairs of Russia also?

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