HC Deb 16 May 1960 vol 623 cc892-3
12. Mr. Thorpe

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what representations he has made to the West German Government about the desirability of the suspension from office of judges against whom writs have now been issued alleging the commission of criminal offences in their judicial capacity during the Third Reich.

Mr. R. Allan

My right hon. and learned Friend has made no representations on this subject.

Mr. Thorpe

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there were judges during the Third Reich who were responsible for sentencing men to death for trivial offences, such as kicking a customs officer's dog, who still hold high judicial office for the West German Government? In view of the continuing interest of Her Majesty's Government in these people under the Potsdam Agreement, will not the hon. Gentleman impress on the West German Government the need to speed up these inquiries and to suspend these people pending investigations? Is he finally aware that no less than 43 writs have already been issued against such judges alleging judicial murder?

Mr. Allan

Yes, but it is elementary to our conception of justice that a man is not guilty until he is proved to be so. Therefore, the issue of a writ does not mean that he is proved to be guilty. On the other hand, these investigations are going on. There are at present about 100 under investigation out of allegations against 1,100, out of a total of 11,000 judges and judicial officials. The allegations were only sufficiently specific in about 100 cases for them to be investigated.