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Opinion of the Court.

tenced her to 15 years in the Federal Reformatory for Women at Alderson, West Virginia, or elsewhere as the Secretary of the Army might direct. In May, the "Court of Appeals of the United States Courts of the Allied High Commission for Germany," composed of five United States civilians appointed by the Military Governor of the Area, affirmed the judgment but committed her to the custody of the Attorney General of the United States or his authorized representative. The Director of the United States Bureau of Prisons designated the Federal Reformatory for Women at Alderson, West Virginia, as the place for her confinement."

II. Both United States courts-martial, and United States Military Commissions or tribunals in the nature of such commissions, had jurisdiction in Germany in 1949-1950 to try persons in the status of petitioner on the charge against her.-Petitioner does not here attack the merits of her conviction nor does she claim that any nonmilitary court of the United States or Germany had jurisdiction to try her.' It is agreed by the parties to this proceeding that a regularly convened United States general court-martial would have had jurisdiction to try her. The United States, however, contends, and petitioner denies, that the United States Court of the Allied High Commission for Germany, which tried her, also had jurisdiction

5 See notes 1, 3 and 4, supra.

See 38 Stat. 1084-1085, 10 U. S. C. § 1452, and, since May 31, 1951, see Art. 58 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, 64 Stat. 126, 50 U. S. C. (Supp. IV) § 639.

'There was no nonmilitary court of the United States in Germany. She enjoyed the immunity from the jurisdiction of all German courts which had been granted to nationals of the United Nations and to families of members of the occupation forces. United States Military Government Law No. 2, Art. VI (1), 12 Fed. Reg. 2191, 2192, Appendix, infra, p. 364; Allied High Commission, Law No. 2, Art. 1, 14 Fed. Reg. 7457, Appendix, infra, p. 369; Allied High Commission, Law No. 13, Art. 1, 15 Fed. Reg. 1056-1057, see Appendix, infra, p. 370.

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to do so. In other words, the United States contends that its courts-martial's jurisdiction was concurrent with that of its occupation courts, whereas petitioner contends that it was exclusive of that of its occupation courts.


The key to the issue is to be found in the history of United States military commissions and of United States occupation courts in the nature of such commissions. Since our nation's earliest days, such commissions have been constitutionally recognized agencies for meeting many urgent governmental responsibilities related to war. They have been called our common-law war

8"By a practice dating from 1847 and renewed and firmly established during the Civil War, military commissions have become adopted as authorized tribunals in this country in time of war. They are simply criminal war courts, resorted to for the reason that the jurisdiction of courts-martial, creatures as they are of statute, is restricted by law, and can not be extended to include certain classes of offenses which in war would go unpunished in the absence of a provisional forum for the trial of the offenders. . . . There [Their] competency has been recognized not only in acts of Congress, but in executive proclamations, in rulings of the courts, and in the opinions of the Attorneys General. During the Civil War they were employed in several thousand cases; . . . ." Howland, Digest of Opinions of the Judge-Advocates General of the Army (1912), 1066-1067.

In speaking of the authority and occasion for the use of a military commission, Colonel William Winthrop, in his authoritative work on Military Law and Precedents (2d ed. 1920 reprint), says at 831: "... it is those provisions of the Constitution which empower Congress to 'declare war' and 'raise armies,' and which, in authorizing the initiation of war, authorize the employment of all necessary and proper agencies for its due prosecution, from which this tribunal derives its original sanction. Its authority is thus the same as the authority for the making and waging of war and for the exercise of military government and martial law. The commission is simply an instrumentality for the more efficient execution of the war powers vested in Congress and the power vested in the President as Commander-in-chief in war. In some instances . . . Congress has specifically recognized the military commission as the proper war-court, and in terms provided for the trial thereby of certain offences. In


Opinion of the Court.

courts.10 They have taken many forms and borne many names." Neither their procedure nor their jurisdiction has been prescribed by statute. It has been adapted in

general, however, it has left it to the President, and the military commanders representing him, to employ the commission, as occasion may require, for the investigation and punishment of violations of the laws of war and other offences not cognizable by court-martial.

"The occasion for the military commission arises principally from the fact that the jurisdiction of the court-martial proper, in our law, is restricted by statute almost exclusively to members of the military force and to certain specific offences defined in a written code. It does not extend to many criminal acts, especially of civilians, peculiar to time of war; and for the trial of these a different tribunal is required. . . . Hence, in our military law, the distinctive name of military commission has been adopted for the exclusively war-court, which . . . is essentially a distinct tribunal from the court-martial of the Articles of war."


For text of General Scott's General Order No. 20, as amended by General Order No. 287, September 17, 1847, authorizing the appointment of military commissions in Mexico, see Birkhimer, Military Government and Martial Law (2d ed. rev. 1904), App. I, 581–582. See also, Duncan v. Kahanamoku, 327 U. S. 304; In re Yamashita, 327 U. S. 1; Santiago v. Nogueras, 214 U. S. 260; Neely v. Henkel, 180 U. S. 109; Mechanics' & Traders' Bank v. Union Bank, 22 Wall. 276, 279 note; The Grapeshot, 9 Wall. 129, 132; Cross v. Harrison, 16 How. 164, 190; II Halleck, International Law (3d ed. 1893), 444-445. For an example of the exercise of jurisdiction in a murder case by a Provisional Court established in Louisiana, in 1862, by executive order of the President of the United States and an opinion by the Provisional Judge reviewing the constitutional authority for the establishment of his court, see United States v. Reiter, 27 Fed. Cas. No. 16,146.

10 While explaining a proposed reference to military commissions in Article of War 15, Judge Advocate General Crowder, in 1916, said, "A military commission is our common-law war court. It has no statutory existence, though it is recognized by statute law." S. Rep. No. 130, 64th Cong., 1st Sess. 40.

11 Such as Military Commission, Council of War, Military Tribunal, Military Government Court, Provisional Court, Provost Court, Court of Conciliation, Arbitrator, Superior Court, and Appellate Court. And see Winthrop, op. cit. 803-804.

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each instance to the need that called it forth. See In re Yamashita, 327 U. S. 1, 18-23.

In the absence of attempts by Congress to limit the President's power, it appears that, as Commander-inChief of the Army and Navy of the United States, he may, in time of war, establish and prescribe the jurisdiction and procedure of military commissions, and of tribunals in the nature of such commissions, in territory occupied by Armed Forces of the United States. His authority to do this sometimes survives cessation of hostilities.12 The President has the urgent and infinite responsibility not only of combating the enemy but of governing any territory occupied by the United States by force of arms." The policy of Congress to refrain from legislating in this


12 It has been recognized, even after peace has been declared, pending complete establishment of civil government. See Duncan v. Kahanamoku, 327 U. S. 304; In re Yamashita, 327 U. S. 1, 12-13; Santiago v. Nogueras, 214 U. S. 260; Neely v. Henkel, 180 U. S. 109; Burke v. Miltenberger, 19 Wall. 519; Leitensdorfer v. Webb, 20 How. 176; Cross v. Harrison, 16 How. 164.

13 See Article 43 of The Hague Regulations respecting the laws and customs of war on land with special relation to military authority over the territory of a hostile state (1907):

"The authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all the measures in his power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country." 36 Stat. 2306.

"Military government . . . is an exercise of sovereignty, and as such dominates the country which is its theatre in all the branches of administration. Whether administered by officers of the army of the belligerent, or by civilians left in office or appointed by him for the purpose, it is the government of and for all the inhabitants, native or foreign, wholly superseding the local law and civil authority except in so far as the same may be permitted by him to subsist. . . . The local laws and ordinances may be left in force, and in general should be, subject however to their being in whole or in part suspended and others substituted in their stead-in the discretion of the governing authority." Winthrop, op. cit. 800.


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uncharted area does not imply its lack of power to legislate. That evident restraint contrasts with its traditional readiness to "make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces; . . . . Under that clause Congress has enacted and repeatedly revised the Articles of War which have prescribed, with particularity, the jurisdiction and procedure of United States courts-martial.

Originally Congress gave to courts-martial jurisdiction over only members of the Armed Forces and civilians rendering functional service to the Armed Forces in camp or in the field.15 Similarly the Articles of War at first dealt with nonmilitary crimes only by surrendering the accused to the civil authorities. Art. 33, American Articles of War of 1806, Winthrop's Military Law and Precedents (2d ed. 1920 reprint) 979. However, in 1863, this latter jurisdiction was enlarged to include many crimes "committed by persons who are in the military service of the United States. Still it did not cover crimes committed by civilians who, like petitioner, were merely accompanying a member of the Armed Forces.

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14 U. S. Const., Art. I, § 8, cl. 14.

15 Article XXXII of the American Articles of War of 1775 was taken from Article XXIII of Section XIV of the British Articles of War of 1765. It provided only that "All suttlers and retailers to a camp, and all persons whatsoever, serving with the continental army in the field, though not inlisted soldiers, are to be subject to the articles, rules, and regulations of the continental army." (Emphasis supplied.) Winthrop's Military Law and Precedents (2d ed. 1920 reprint) 956, and see 941 and 950. Article 60 of the Articles of War of 1806 was similar. It substituted "retainers" for "retailers." Id., at 981. Article 60 was slightly amended in 1874. By 1916, as Article 63, Congress still provided, as to civilians, merely that "All retainers to the camp, and all persons serving with the armies of the United States in the field, though not enlisted soldiers, are to be subject to orders, according to the rules and discipline of war." (Emphasis supplied.) Id., at 991, and see 98-99.

16 The Enrollment Act of 1863 conferred upon courts-martial jurisdiction over many nonmilitary crimes if committed by soldiers in

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