Full text: Responsibility of states for damage caused in their territory to the person or property of foreigners

tion. On the other hand, the accidental and involuntary explosion of powder 
or ammunition in a building occupied by Government forces might destroy 
it, and just because the act was accidental it would not relieve the State from 
the obligation to indemnify for the damage. Basis of Discussion No. 21 
of the Preparatory Committee is also somewhat indefinite in certain respects: 
it affirms the obligation to “Make good damage caused to foreign- 
ers by acts of its armed forces or authorities where such acts mani- 
festly went beyond the requirements of the situation or where its armed 
forces or authorities behaved in a manner manifestly incompatible with 
the rules generally observed by civilized States.” It can easily be understood 
without much effort that a subsequent inquiry into the requirements of a 
particular situation during war operations might give rise to all possible 
sorts of conclusions. With such formulas the code would be subject to all 
kinds of varied and capricious applications. The purpose of codification is 
to establish definite and specific obligations. And there is a possibility of 
accomplishing this end within certain confinements. There are only three 
situations to consider: first, war damage; secondly, damage that has not 
been caused in battle, but which is incidental to the insurrection; and thirdly, 
acts that result in enrichment or profit to the State. The first, for the time 
being, is not entitled to reparation, although there is a tendency to improve 
the situation of the victims irrespective of their nationality. The second is 
subject to the general principles of responsibility for the acts of officers or 
agents of the State, although keeping in sight the inevitable disturbance 
caused by the cruel reality of civil war. The third comes under the com- 
mon law. All of the States assume responsibility for expropriations, occu- 
pations, requisitions, etc., either in time of peace or of war, to the detriment 
of nationals or foreigners. 
(f) Damages caused by mob violence, popular riots or disturbances, 
occupy an intermediate position between those caused by private persons 
and the ones incident to insurrection. These damages resulting from mob 
violence are the most frequent ones. They are caused, as a rule, by the 
outburst of racial, political or religious feelings. No special rule applicable 
to these cases has been established by practice. Quite often the States have 
accorded indemnity to the victims of mob violence without prejudice to their 
right to disclaim responsibility. The underlying principle is the same herein- 
before stated, subject to the duty of the State to exercise due diligence! In 
"The State is responsible, however, when it fails to use due diligence to prevent or 
suppress the riot, or when the circumstances indicate insufficiency of the measures of 
protection, or .connivance of the government officers or agents at the disturbance. 
Borchard, Diplomatic Protection, p. 224. It is maintained, therefore, that if due dili- 
gence is exercised to prevent or suppress sudden uprisings, and to punish those impli- 
cated, there is no obligation to make reparation ... Moore: “The Responsibility of 
Governments for Mob Violence” Columbia Law Times, V, 212. See Hyde. Inter-

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