7 Jan. 46

"II. Treatment of offenses committed against inhabitants by members of the Armed Forces and its employees.

"l. With. regard to offenses committed against enemy civilians by members of the Wehrmacht and its employees prosecution is not obligatory, even where the deed is at the same time a military crime or offense.

"2. When judging such offenses, it must be borne in mind, whatever the circumstances, that the collapse of Germany in 1918, the subsequent sufferings of the German people, and the fight against National Socialism which cost the blood of innumerable supporters of the movement, were caused primarily by Bolshevistic influence and that no German has forgotten this fact.

"3. Therefore, the judicial authority will decide in such cases whether a disciplinary penalty is indicated, or whether legal proceedings are necessary. In the case of offenses against inhabitants it will order a court-martial only if maintenance of discipline or security of the forces call for such a measure. This applies, for instance, to serious offenses originating in lark of self-control in sexual matters or in a criminal disposition and to those which indicate that the troops are threatening to get out of hand. Offenses which have resulted in senseless destruction of billets or stores or other captured material, to the disadvantage of our forces, should as a rule be judged no less severely.

"The order to institute proceedings requires in every single case the signature of the judicial authority. "

4. Extreme caution is indicated in assessing the credibility of statements made by enemy civilians.

"III. Responsibility of military commanders of the troops. Within their sphere of competence military commanders are personally responsible for seeing that:

"1. Every commissioned officer of the units under their command is instructed promptly and in the most emphatic manner on principles set out under I, above.

"2. Their legal advisers are notified promptly of these instructions and of verbal information in which the political intentions of the High Command were explained to the commanders-in-chief.

"3. Only those court sentences are confirmed which are in accordance with the political intentions of the High Command.
"IV. Security. Once the camouflage is lifted, this decree will be treated as 'most secret.' "