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“More Than Half the Cargo.”
There was considered at The Hague in 1907 also this question of the amount of contraband which when on board a vessel with the knowledge of the owner or captain would involve penalty to the vessel. The British proposition in 1908 was similar in this respect to the German proposition of 1907. The German proposition was as follows:
La contrebande de guerre est sujette à confiscation. Il en est de même du bâtiment qui la porte, si le propriétaire ou le capitaine du bâtiment a eu connaissance de la présence de la contrebande à bord et que cette contrebande forme plus de la moitié de la cargaison. (3 Deuxième Conférence Internationale de la Paix, p. 1157.)
The, French proposition at The Hague in 1907 was general in its terms:
La contrebande absolue est sujette à confiscation.
Elle peut donner lieu à la confiscation du navire sur lequel elle est trouvée, si le capitaine a résisté à la saisie ou s'il est établi que le capitaine ou l'armateur ont connu ou pu connaître la nature du chargement prohibé. (Ibid., p. 1158.)
France had a rule in the eighteenth century which made the vessel liable when the amount of contraband on board amounted to three-fourths of the cargo. The German delegate expressed a willingness to accept the ratio of onethird or one-quarter, although the original German proposition had been one-half. The Russian delegate pointed out that a small portion of the cargo might have much greater value than a much larger bulk. The French delegation proposed to determine the liability of the vessel according to the “ freight value ” of the cargo indicated on the vessel's manifests. (Ibid., p. 1120.)
The Hague Conference of 1907 was not able to reach an agreement upon the subject of contraband, and the whole subject was again taken up at the International Naval Conference in 1908–9.
Proportion and destination. At the International Naval Conference the French delegation, after speaking of the difficulties in determining the destination of contraband, says:
La proportion de la contrebande relativement à l'entier chargement apparaît, au contraire, comme une base juste et sûre de la
confiscation. Ici on prend en considération, comme le dit avec raison, selon nous, le Mémorandum japonais, l'importance de la contrebande par rapport à l'expédition. L'assistance donnée à l'ennemi en violation de la neutralité est-elle le principal objet de l'expédition ? Cette assistance a-t-elle une importance suffisante pour que le navire lui-même, grâce auquel cette assistance est donnée, soit confisqué? Sous cette forme, on conçoit très bien que la question soit posée et que la solution dépende de la réponse que justifieront les faits.
Reste à savoir comment apprécier cette importance, cette proportion.
Le texte, sur lequel la Commission délibère, dit simplement que cette contrebande forme plus que la moitié de la cargaison." C'est peut-être insuffisamment précis. Est-ce la moitié en poids; en volume; en valeur? Doit-on tenir compte ensemble ou séparément de ces divers éléments d'appréciation? Doit-on les distinguer selon les marchandises ? Bien que certains Mémorandums les aient adoptés, il est permis de penser que pratiquement ce sens d'une vérification parfois délicate, le plus souvent assez longue, lorsque dans un chargement considérable et varié la contrebande est de quelque importance. Va-t-on juger, en quelque sorte, à l'estime?-ce serait bien arbitraire. Peut-on procéder par des experts?-que de lenteurs, de frais et de complication.
À la Conférence de La Haye, la Délégation française avait proposé de consacrer comme critérium un élément facile à constater et qui précisément est ordinairement basé lui-même sur la valeur, le poids, le volume ou l'encombrement de la marchandise : c'est le fret. Non seulement le fret, toujours mentionné sur le connaissement, permet indirectement de juger si telle ou telle marchandise est plus ou moins importante par sa valeur, son poids ou son encombrement, mais encore il représente aussi exactement que possible l'intérêt que le navire a dans le transport de la marchandise, et, souvent plus élevé s'il s'agit de contrebande, il sert à en révéler le caractère.
Notre Délégation prie la Commission de vouloir bien apprécier si ces considérations sont exactes et si, dans ces conditions, le système le plus pratique et le plus sûr, pour frapper le navire transporteur de contrebande, n'est pas (1) de s'attacher simplement à l'importance de la contrebande par rapport à l'entier chargement; (2) de fixer cette proportion au moyen du fret.
Quant au quantum de la proportion, bien que la moitié soit un peu différente de la pratique française traditionnelle, le désir d'une entente et le souci d'une réglementation commune nous conduiraient à ne pas nous opposer à son adoption. (International Naval Conference, British Parliamentary Papers, Miscellaneous, No. 5, 1909, p. 288.)
Provision of Declaration of London, 1909.
It is evident that a single standard might be evaded with comparative ease. Suppose that the restriction should be that a vessel would be confiscated only when more than one-half its cargo by value was contraband. It might be possible to take as part of the cargo a single diamond which in weight or volume would constitute only an infinitesimal part of the cargo-would the vessel be exempt though the remainder of her cargo might be contraband? It would be manifestly easy to shift the freight rates so that the evidence might be misleading. It was therefore thought best to introduce in the Declaration of London several tests for determining the liability of the vessel.
Provision of the Declaration of London, 1909.-The final form was embodied in article 40 of the Declaration of London.
ARTICLE 40.--A vessel carrying contraband may be con
demned if the contraband, reckoned either by value, weight, volume, or freight, forms more than half the cargo. The General Report interprets this article as follows:
It was universally admitted, however, that in certain cases the condemnation of the contraband does not suffice, and that condemnation should extend to the vessel herself, but opinions differed as to the determination of these cases. It was decided to fix upon a certain proportion between the contraband and the total cargo.
But the question divides itself: (1) What shall be the proportion? The solution adopted is the mean between those proposed, which ranged from a quarter to three quarters. (2) How shall this proportion be reckoned? Must the contraband form more than half the cargo in volume, weight, value, or freight? The adoption of a single fixed standard gives rise to theoretical objections, and also encourages practices intended to avoid condemnation of the vessel in spite of the importance of the cargo. If the standard of volume or weight is adopted, the master will ship innocent goods sufficiently bulky, or weighty in order that the volume or weight of the contraband may be less. A similar remark may be made as regards the value or the freight. The consequence is that it suffices, in order to justify condemnation, that the contraband should form more than half the cargo according to any one of the points of view mentioned. This may seem severe; but, on the one hand, proceeding in any other manner would make fraudulent calculations easy, and, on the other, it may be said that the condemnation of the vessel is justified when the carriage of contraband formed an important part of her venture, which is true in each of the cases specified. (International Law Topics, Naval War College, 1909, pp. 89, 91.)
Nature of the cargo.-In the situation under consideration the cargo consists of hay, canned meats, and flour. By Article 24 of the Declaration of London
The following articles and materials, susceptible of use in war as well as for purposes of peace, are, without notice, regarded as contraband of war, under the name of conditional contraband:
The entire cargo would, if destined for warlike use, be of the nature of conditional contraband.
Destination of cargo.-In accordance with Article 33 of the Declaration of London
Conditional contraband is liable to capture if it is shown that it is destined for the use of the armed forces or of a Government department of the enemy State, unless in this latter case the circumstances show that the articles can not in fact be used for the purposes of the war in progress. This latter exception does not apply to a consignment coming under article 24 (4). (International Law Topics, 1909, p. 79.)
Article 34 and the General Report bearing upon it attempts to define enemy destination. ARTICLE 34.—The destination referred to in Article 33 is presumed
to exist if the goods are consigned to enemy authorities or to a merchant, established in the enemy country, who, as a matter of common knowledge supplies articles and material of the kind to the enemy. A similar presumption arises if the goods are consigned to a fortified place of the enemy, or other place serving as a base for the armed forces of the enemy. No such presumption, however, arises in the case of a merchant vessel bound for one of these places if it is sought to prove that she herself is contraband. cases where the above presumptions do not arise, the destination is presumed to be innocent. The presumptions set up by this article may be rebutted.
Ordinarly contraband articles will not be directly addressed to the military or to the administrative authorities of the enemy State. The true destination will be more or less concealed. It
is for the captor to prove it in order to justify the capture. But it has been thought reasonable to set up presumptions based on the nature of the person to whom the articles are destined, or on the nature of the place for which the articles are destined. It may be an enemy authority or a trader established in an enemy country who, as a matter of common knowledge, supplies the enemy Government with articles of the kind in question. It may be a fortified place of the enemy or a place serving as a base, whether of operations or of supply, for the armed forces of the enemy.
This general presumption may not be applied to the merchant vessel herself which is bound for a fortified place, except on condition that her destination for the use of the armed forces or for the authorities of the enemy State is directly proved, though she may in herself be conditional contraband.
In the absence of the preceding presumptions, the destination is presumed to be innocent. This is the ordinary law, according to which the captor must prove the illicit character of the goods which he claims to capture.
Finally, all the presumptions thus established in the interest of the captor or against him admit proof to the contrary. The national tribunals, in the first place, and, in the second, the International Court, will exercise their judgment.
British view.—Mr. Norman Bentwich, summing up the British view of the effect of these articles relating to the condemnation, says:
According to existing English prize law, the ship carrying contraband is subject to condemnation if she has made forcible resistance to the captor, if she carries false or simulated papers, or if there are other circumstances amounting to fraud, or if she belongs to the owner of the contraband cargo. In other cases the ship is restored after condemnation of the cargo, but no compensation is paid for the loss of freight or time caused by the detention. (Cf. The Ringende Jacob, 1 C. Rob., 92.) Other countries, however, have condemned the vessel when the proportion between the noxious and innocent part of the cargo exceeded a certain fraction; in some cases when it was more than half, in others when more than two-thirds, in others, again, when more than three-fourths. The Declaration has established a uniform rule in place of this diversity of practice, according to which the vessel may be condemned whenever the contraband, reckoned either by value, or by weight, or by volume, or by freight, forms more than half the cargo. Further, when the vessel can not be condemned because the contraband is less than half the cargo by any of these measures, but there are circumstances which incrimi. pate her in the carriage, and suggest knowledge by the master of