Practice Relating to Rule 52. Pillage
Section B. Pillage committed by civilians
Under France’s Ordinance on Repression of War Crimes (1944), “the removal or export by any means from French territory of goods of any nature, including movable property and money” is likened to pillage. It is applicable to any perpetrator of the offence.
In the Bommer case
before a French Military Tribunal in 1947, the parents of a German family were charged with, and convicted of, theft and receiving stolen goods belonging to French citizens. Two of the daughters were charged with, and convicted of, the second count of the indictment only. The Tribunal considered the offences of theft under Article 379 of the French Penal Code – referred to therein as “fraudulent removal of property” – and receiving stolen goods under Article 460 of the Code – referred to as “knowingly receiving things taken, misappropriated or obtained by means of a crime or delict” – as war crimes.
In the Lingenfelder case
before a French Military Tribunal in 1947, the accused, a German settler in France, was charged with pillage for the removal of horses and vehicles belonging to the owner of a French farm. Without giving reasons for such finding, the Tribunal came to the conclusion that it did not amount to pillage.
In the Baus case
before a French Military Tribunal in 1947, the accused, a land superintendent in occupied France, was found guilty of a war crime for theft under the terms of the French Penal Code and for pillage under the 1944 Ordinance on Repression of War Crimes. He took with him during the retreat to Germany the property of the owners of the farms that he was managing.
In the Benz case
before a French Military Tribunal in 1947, the accused, a couple of German settlers, were found guilty of theft and receiving stolen goods, which the Tribunal considered to be war crimes. On their return to Germany at the end of the Second World War, they took with them movable property belonging to French inhabitants.
In the Neber case
before a French Military Tribunal in 1948, the accused, a German settler in France (Lorraine), was found guilty of a war crime for having received crockery stolen by her nephew from a French woman, which she took with her when returning to Germany towards the end of the war.
In its judgment in the Roechling case
in 1948, the General Tribunal at Rastadt of the Military Government for the French Zone of Occupation in Germany held that the accused, the proprietor of a German industrial trust and Reich Commissioner for the iron industry of the departments of Moselle and Meurthe-et-Moselle, was guilty of war crimes, inter alia
, for participation in the economic pillage of occupied countries.