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Colonial Cases

Joris affair, 1906






On July 21, 1905, a bomb targeting the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire killed twenty-six people but missed the Sultan.  Among the people arrested for the explosion was Charles Edouard Joris, a Belgian citizen who confessed that he had prepared and placed the bomb.  Arguing that only Belgian consular courts could try Belgians in the Ottoman Empire, the Belgian government demanded that the Ottoman government surrender Joris.  The Ottoman government initially refused, and tried and sentenced Joris to death.  The Belgian government, however, rejected the Ottoman court's judgment as a violation  of Belgian extraterritoriality.  In a dramatic reversal, the Ottoman government subsequently yielded and released Joris.

[Legal Imperialism: Sovereignty and Extraterritoriality in Japan, the Ottoman Empire, and China; Turan Kayaoglu; Cambridge University Press.]

See also "The Joris Case and the Turkish Capitulations" (1907) 1 American Journal of International Law 485.




The Times, 25 January 1906



On Friday, July 21, as the Sultan was leaving the Mosque Hamidie at the conclusion of the weekly ceremony of Selamlik, an explosion took place among the crowd of spectators massed together in the space just below the mosque.  His Majesty was too far away to be injured; but 26 people were killed and 58 more or less seriously wounded.  The victims included men of various nationalities, Turks, Greeks, and Armenians, and of various ranks, palace officials, soldiers, cabdrivers, ands workman.  Two commissions which were appointed failed to find any clue to the crime; but a third, which was under the presidency of Nedjib Pasha Melhame, a Syrian Christian who had been Imperial Commissioner at Sofia and filled other posts in the diplomatic and civil services, was more successful. The commission immediately made a minute examination of the scene of the outrage and of the wreckage caused by the explosion.  Artillery experts had reported that the effects were such as would be produced by an infernal machine exploding at some distance above the ground, and a carriage spring was found bent in such a way as to show that it must have been situated immediately under the explosion.  There could, therefore be no doubt that the machine had been placed in a carriage, and a clue to the identity of the vehicle was soon found.  A fragment of metal buried in the hole made by the explosion was marked "Nesseldorfer, Wien, 11123," and the same mark was discovered on a piece of india rubber carriage tiring among the fragments of the 17 which had been wrecked.  This seemed to promise a speedy detection of the criminals, as carriages with indiarubber tires are rare in Constantinople; but the owners of all those known to the police were able to establish conclusive alibis. Inquiries made at the Custom-house showed that a victoria marked "Nesseldorfer, Wien, 11123" had been imported in May in the name of Silvio Ricci.  The Customs agents who had cleared it gave evidence, which, when followed up, proved this Silvio Ricci to be a suspicious character who had passed under several different names of various nationality, and who had disappeared the day before the outrage. It was afterwards proved that he was an Armenian named Mahan, who, three years ago, at Philippopolis, had stolen the passport and other papers of the Italian subject, Silvio Ricci. The firm of Nesseldorfer in Vienna stated that the carriage in question had been ordered from them in April by a woman called Marie Seitz, who had insisted on the driver's box being made considerably larger than usual, and had instructed them to send it as soon as possible to Silvio Ricci in Constantinople.  Owing to some misunderstand about his address, they had received a telegram, confirmed by a letter from him, and these they communicated to the commission.

These were all interesting facts, but they threw little light on the identity of the criminals.  The commission, in pursuing the investigation, interrogated the owners of all the livery stables in Constantinople, in the hope of finding out something more definite about the suspicious victoria.  Among others the proprietors of the livery stables Michel and Vaflades were questioned, and deposed that Mehemet Aga, one of their drivers, had been hired cowards the end of 1904 by a certain Lippa Ripps to give lessons in driving to his groom.  Mehemet Aga stated that he had seen this groom, and Armenian named Mirgirditch, driving a victoria with india-rubber tires a fortnight before the explosion.  Inquiries into the identity of Mirgirditch led to the discovery of his brother, who was able to inform the commission that the stable in which the victoria was kept was situated at Shishli, a suburb not far from Yildiz Kiosk.  The stable was soon located and inquiries were made among the neighbours.  The identity of one of the servants, an Armenian, Yervant Frangulian, was established; and it was proven that the carriage was last seen leaving the stable on the morning of the outrage.  Frangulian had disappeared the same day. Further evidence which was collected showed that this victoria was undoubtedly the "Nesseldorfer, Wien, 11123," in which the explosion took place.  From Mehemet Aga and others the commission learned that the Belgian Eduard Joris and his wife had been frequently seen in the company of Lippa Ripps, and he was at once arrested.  Examined in the presence of the dragoman of the Belgian Legation, Joris admitted his intimate relations with Ripps and his wife and their friends Samuel and Robina Fein, as well as with Ripps's secretary, a man called Carlo, who sometimes passed under the name of Silvio Ricci.

The Ripps and Feins had left Constantinople in December, 1904; but all except Samuel Fein returned in June, 1905.  On the evening after the explosion they seemed in a state of great agitation and they left that night for Europe.  He denied knowing anything more about the outrage; but the commission, thinking that what he had already admitted gave grounds for considerable suspicion, kept him under arrest and made inquiries about him. It turned out that his great friend at Singer's sewing machine establishment, where he was employed, had been an Armenian named Kindirian, who, it was proved, had gone to Sofia with Joris's passport in December, 1904, and had there been killed together with a well-known Armenian revolutionary, Christopher Mikhailian, while experimenting with bombs.  Christopher Mikhailian turned out later to be identical with the Samuel Fein, with whom Joris had been on friendly terms in Constantinople.  Karl Betsch, a German employe at Singer's, gave evidence that Joris had given him a packet to keep for him three days before his arrest, that, feeling suspicious about it, he opened the packet a week later and found it to contain revolvers.  He then took it to the German Consulate-General.  This packet, on being examined, was seen to consist of three revolvers and 240 cartridges.  It was, moreover, discovered that the letter and telegram addressed to Nesseeldorfer's about the carriage and signed Silvio Ricci were in Joris's handwriting.

Confronted with these and similar facts, Joris decided to make a full confession.  An Anarchist by conviction, he had been won over to the Armenian revolutionary cause by Kindirian, who confided to him the secret of the plot and introduced him to the Ripps and the Feins and other members of the party who had come to Constantinople for the purpose of assassinating the Sultan.  It was originally intended to accomplish this object by throwing a bomb from the terrace reserved for foreigners recommended by their Missions.  Visits paid to the Selamlik with recommendations obtained from the Russian Embassy convinced them that the surveillance was not so strict as to make this impracticable.  However, Kindirian and Samuel Fein were killed at Sofia while experimenting with bombs, and the other conspirators determined to resort to the safer method of an infernal machine.  The carriage in which it was to be carried was ordered at Vienna by Ripps and his wife, who there gave her name as Marie Seitz.  The driver's box was made unusually large, as it was originally intended, though the intention was not carried out, to explode two machines at once, in the box and under the seat.  The manufacture the machine, 140 kilos of melinite were introduced into Constantinople by way of Athens and Varna in packets of one kilo e ach.  Only 80 kilos were used for this purpose; the rest it was intended to employ in blowing up various buildings as soon as the Sultan had been killed, in order to increase the terror of the outrage and force the Powers to interfere.

The plot was the work of the Armenian Committee at Geneva and in the Caucasus, working together with Bulgarian and Armenian committees at Sofia and Philippopolis.  The idea was originated at a meeting held at Sofia, in which representatives of all the different committees took part.  The conspirators in Constantinople corresponded with the others though the foreign post offices.  The whole affair cost the revolutionaries about 300,000f.  The explosion was effected by means of a clockwork apparatus which betook 2 min. 42 sec. to act, as it had been observed at 13 different visits to the Selamlik that the Sultan took exactly that time to pass from the door of the mosque to the place where the carriage would be stationed.  On July 21 Lippa Ripps and Robina Fein drove to the Selamlik, put the clockwork in motion, walked away to another carriage which was waiting for them, drove home, and left that night for Europe.  The Sultan was saved from what seemed certain destruction by the fact that he stopped on the steps of the mosque to speak to the Sheikh-ul-Islam.  The meeting of the plotters generally took place in Joris's rooms.  Both he and his wife, who left Constantinople before the explosion, were entirely in their confidence, encouraged by them in their design, and helped them as much as they could.

While this confession was being extracted from Joris the commission was pursuing its inquiries in other directions.  It had already established the identity of two or three of the plotters and got into touch with their acquaintances.  Working on these clues and on the indications given by Joris, it contrived to discover a great number, if not all, of those who were concerned in any way in the plot, as well as to lay hands on a quantity of melinite, bombs, revolvers, and other objects destined for the use of the conspirators. The chief finds were made at the Austrian Hospital and at the Maison Jones at Pera.  Bombs were also found at the Cercle d'Orient and the Hotel Kroecker; but these were old, and evidently dated from the last Armenian troubles.  The Austrian Hospital seems to have been chosen partly because, as a foreign institution, it was no easy for the police to get access to it, and partly because the porter was an enthusiastic revolutionary.

As a result of its labours the commission was able to charge 41 persons with being inculpated in the plot; but, of these, some of the most important were either dead or otherwise beyond the reach of the police.  The trial took place in open Court in presence of the dragoman of the Belgian Legation and many other foreigners.  It is the general opinion that the trial was a fair one, and that the findings were justified by the evidence.  In fact many of the prisoners avowed their guilt, and justified their conduct by the oppression which they and their countryman had suffered.

The court acquitted three of the accused and found that four, though they had assisted the conspirators, had acted in ignorance of their criminal intentions.  Three, all of whom are in the hands of the police, were sentence to 15 years' penal servitude for having concealed bombs and explosives for the revolutionary committee; ten, of whom three are in prison, to penal servitude for life, and 14, of whom all but four are dead or have escaped, to the extreme penalty of the law.  The four who are now in prison under sentence of death are the Belgian Eduard Joris and three Armenians, Manouk Oumidian, the porter of the Maison Jones, who seems to have been one of the most active members of the Constantinople committee; Nichau Ohanessian, a former waiter at the Hotel Kroecker, who concealed 15 bombs in that establishment; and Arakel Nahanetian, the porter of the Austrian Hospital, who concealed large quantities of dynamite and other explosives in the hospital and took part in the plot in other ways.

The condemnation of Joris has given rise to a conflict between the Porte and the Brussels Government; but the question at issue is too large to be discussed at the fag end of an article.



The Times, 26 January 1906.



The Belgian Government disputes the competence of the Turkish Court which found Eduard Joris guilty of taking part in the plot to assassinate the Sultan and condemned him to death.  He must, it claims, be handed over to the Belgian Minister to be sent to Belgium and tried there by a Court of his own nationality.  This pretension is based on Article 8 of the Treaty of Commerce of 1838; the passage in question, according to the translation of the Turkish text given in Noradiounghian's "Receuil d'Actes Internationaux de l'Empire Ottoman," runs as follows:-

Les belges vaquant honnêtement et paisiblement a leurs occupations ou a leur commerce ne pourront jamais être arrêts ou molestes par les autorités locales ; mais, au cas ou ils seraient convaincus de crime ou de délit, ils seront punis par l'entremise de leur Ministre, Charge d'Affaires, Consul ou Vice-consul, selon l'usage établi a l'égard des autres Francs.

This Turkish text differs in an important particular from the official French translation, or rather French test - for both instruments have the same value - in the archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Brussels.  In the latter the last sentence says:-

« En cas de crime ou de délit l'affaire sera remise a leur Ministre, Charge d'Affaires, Consul ou Vice-consul ; les accuses seront juges par lui et punis selon l'usage établi a l'égard des Francs. »

This, it will be noticed, is both clearer and more favorable to Belgium than the Turkish text, and the Belgian Government holds that it is the French version which is decisive in case of differences between the two texts.  It is not, however, solely, or even mainly, on account of this discrepancy that the Turks dispute the Belgian interpretation of the treaty.  They argue that the decisive words in the clause are: "selon l'usage etabli a l'egard des Francs." This phrase, they gold, makes it clear that it was not intended to give the Belgians any privilege in excess of those enjoyed by foreigners in general.  It is by no means certain what these privileges are; but no country, except Belgium and the United States, denies the right of the Ottoman Courts to try its subjects accused of offences against the Turkish State as Turkish subjects.  All that is demanded is that a dragoman should be present to see that the trial is properly conducted and to sign the sentence.  This privilege was offered to the Belgians, who availed themselves of it up to the moment when the sentence was to be considered.

With regard to the punishment of such criminals the case is a little more obscure.  It used to be the rule that the convict should be handed over to the consular authorities to be punished by then; but this gave rise to great abuses.  The classical example is that of two German coiners, who were convicted by a Turkish Court, sentenced to a term of imprisonment, handed over to their consul, and sent to Germany to serve it.  When they arrived, however, the German authorities decided that they could not legally detain men in prison on the judgment of a foreign Court.  The two convicts were therefore tried before a German Court, and, as no evidence was forthcoming against them, they were acquitted and released. To put a stop to this kind of thing, the Porte in 1877 induced the Austro-Hungarian Government to make a formal renunciation of this right.  It is worth while to quote part of the text of the Note announcing this renunciation:

Le Gouvernement austro-hongrois, appréciant équitablement les motifs qui déterminent le point de vue adopte par la Sublime Porte, consent a renoncer au droit par lui revendiquée, en base des traites et d'une pratique séculaire, de la remise a la justice austro-hongroise des sujets de cette nationalité frappes d'une condamnation peinable par les tribunaux ottomans.  Cette concession est subordonnée pourtant a la condition de l'acceptation formelle par la Sublime Porte des deux points suivantes : Les nationaux austro-hongrois condamnée a des peines de détention ne devraient les expier que dans la prison centrale de Stamboul ou dans les prisons centrales de chefs-lieux des provinces, et les Agents consulaires d'Autriche-Hongrie devraient être autorisée a s'assurer de temps en temps par l'inspection oculaire de la condition des prisons ou des sujets de leur nationalité se trouveraient détenus.

. . . . . . . . .

Il reste bien entendue, d'ailleurs, et on nous permettra d'observer, que le consentement de la part de l'Autriche-Hongrie a l'exécution locale des jugements rendus par les tribunaux ottomanes ne aurait ni être interprète dans le sens d'une altération quelconque de la compétence en matière juridictionnelle des Consulaires étrangers, telle qu'elle est établie par les traites et par la pratique actuellement en usage, ni entrainer nulle conséquence préjudiciable a l'exercice de cette juridiction.

Other countries have not made such formal renunciation of their rights; but in practice they have adopted the same attitude as the Austrians.  The privileges enjoyed by foreign criminals in Turkey - except when their crime is, so to speak, an internal affair of the foreign colony, in which case it falls within the competence of the Consular Courts - have thus been reduced to the right to have their trial and the execution of their sentence controlled by the presence of a dragoman.  This is the "usage etabli a l'egard des Francs," and more than this the Belgians have no right to claim.  The Turks further argue that the Belgian legation has tacitly admitted the justice of this point of view on several occasions.  More than once Belgian subjects, accused, it is true, of very trifling offences, have been tried by the Turkish Courts not only without a protest, but with the assistance of the dragoman.  No protest was made even in the case of Joris until the very end of the trial, and the dragoman was present at the preliminary examination and at the trial, only withdrawing when the judges retired to consider their verdict and sentence. Most important of all, when the new code of Criminal Procedure was promulgated in 1880, the Belgians took part on the long negotiations which arose out of the objections raised by the Foreign missions, without indicating in any way their belief that they enjoyed special privileges.  The Belgian Minister sent notes to the Porte discussing the role to be played by the dragomans during the trial of foreign subjects before the Ottoman Courts.  That, the Turks maintained, was in itself an admission that these Courts had and have the right to try Belgian subjects.

The Turkish interpretation of the words "selon l'usage etabli a l'egard des Frances" is not admitted by the Belgian Government.  It holds that they were only meant to explain why the privilege in question was accorded to the Belgians, not to limit its scope.  It denies that rights formally granted by treaty have become obsolete by renunciations made by other Governments.  It points out that the Notes sent during the negotiations over the Code of criminal Procedure were Identic Notes sent by the Belgian Legation as one of the Foreign Missions, and that the neglect to call attention at that time to the special tights of Belgian subjects, though perhaps regrettable, cannot be held to invalidate those rights.  The practice to-day, it maintains, is not invariably in conformity with the Turkish view; so late as 1890 a Russian subject, Badrikoff, after being sentenced to death by an Ottoman Court, was handed over to the Russian Government foe the execution of the penalty.  The one or two cases in which the Turkish Courts have been allowed, for the sake of convenience, to try Belgian subjects ought not to be regarded as precedents.

As for the argument that no protest was made in the present case until the last moment, the Belgian Minister expressly told the Foreign Minister in August, shortly after Joris's arrest, that hjis dragoman would attend the examination before the Special Commission in order to assist in throwing every possible light upon the crime and its authors, but that this action must not be taken as prejudicing the treaty rights of Belgium, which his Government reserved in their entirety.  With regard to the difference of text even the Turkish version gives the Belgian authorities the right to execute the penalty, so that, in any case, the criminal must be surrendered to them, though when surrendered he will not be hanged, but put on hjis trial in Belgium.

Another argument of a somewhat different kind raised by the Turks is that the treaty of 1838 does not apply to this case at all, which is completely sui generis.  The negotiators of that treaty had in view only ordinary crimes and offences.  They did not regard it as conceivable that a Belgian living in Turkey should take part in a plot to murder the Sultan.  If they had, they would have made special provision for such cases; in the absence of such provision the treaty cannot be held to regulate the procedure with regard to crimes of such a special nature.  Every State, it is argued, has a right to punish offences committed on its territory against its Sovereign, a right which Turkey had not expressly alienated, and which cannot be lost by any number of concessions regarding the method of trial and the punishment of other offences.  The Belgian reply to this is that the treaty speaks of crimes and offences in general, and must be held to apply to crimes and offences of every description, as none are excepted.

These are, in brief, the leading arguments on one side and the other.  Of course, if the Belgians really do possess the rights in question, they are, in virtue of the most-favoured-nation principle, the common property of most other foreigners in Turkey.  The Austro-Hungarian Note of 1877, quoted above, is sufficient to show that the Government which is most interested in the subject, on account of the number of its nationals living in Turkey, knew nothing of the rights of foreign subjects to be tried in all cases by their own Courts.  The negotiations of 1880 and the following years over the Code of Criminal Procedure show that all the other Governments concerned were equally ignorant.  This militates very strongly against the Belgian case, which, it must be admitted, is by no means so clear as one would imagine from the speeches of excited Socialists in Antwerp and Brussels.  Legal experts find no difficulty in supporting either the Belgian or the Turkish view.  There is much to be said on both sides; but, if anything, the balance of legal opinion here seems to be in favour of the Turks.

From a political standpoint it may be added that it would be altogether deplorable if the Belgians were to make good their claim.  There is no doubt that Joris is guilty; but there is every probability that, if tried in Brussels, he would have to be acquitted; for the evidence which was available here would not be available there.  Even if not acquitted, he would, on account of the leniency, not to say sympathy, with which such crimes are regarded in that country, almost certainly escape with a very light punishment, as did Sipido after his unsuccessful attempt to assassinate King Edward.  The intervention of the United States last summer in favour of the two Armenians who murdered a respectable Armenian merchant in Galata, for his refusal to subscribe to the revolutionary funds made a very painful impression in Turkish circles.  Most of the leading conspirators of whom Joris was an accomplice were foreign subjects; the money they used came from abroad; they corresponded through the foreign post-offices in Constantinople; and when the visited the Selamlik to make their observations they did so with recommendations from one of the Embassies.  In view of these facts, if Joris escapes with a nominal penalty or not penalty at all in consequence of the intervention of a foreign country, it can scarcely fail to arouse a bad feeling among the Turks.  Moreover, whatever is done now for Joris will have to be done in future for any other foreigners in a similar position, so that if the Porte yields in this case, every Anarchist in Europe will know that he can attack the Sultan with scarcely any risk to himself, even if, like Joris and his friends, he slaughters a score or more of innocent people in the attempt; and nothing could be less desirable than a repetition of the crime of July 21, which might easily have disastrous consequences.

It is natural enough, especially in view of the violent agitation raised by the Anarchists and Socialists, that the Belgian Government should seek to defend what it regards as its treaty rights.  But the foregoing considerations are thought to render it unlikely that any of the Powers will support a claim of doubtful legality and of more than doubtful expediency, and endeavour to secure for a Belgian criminal privileges which they do not demand for their own subjects.

The Times, 18 September 1905



Immediately after the attempt on the Sultan, now nearly two months ago, a special commission was formed at Yildiz to investigate all the circumstances connected with it, and with other plots which were assumed to have been made by Armenian and other revolutionary committees.  This commission went to work in the true bureaucratic spirit.  Hundreds of innocent men were arrested and flung into prison, in the hope of discovering the guilty; and the life of Turkish citizens in Constantinople and neighbourhood was made a greater burden than ever.  And not only of Turkish subjects; for the commission and its agents showed a contempt for the capitulatory rights of foreign subjects which was bound sooner or later to lead to conflicts with the Powers.

Among those arrested were several foreigners, most of whom were released after a short stay in prison, when the suspicions against them were found to be unjustified.  But one of them, a Belgian, Joris by name, is still in confinement.  In flagrant violation of treaty rights, he was arrested not only without any warrant from his Consulate, but without any information of the fact being given to the Belgian authorities.  They were only allowed to see him four days after his arrest, and after his examination had been begun and written depositions had been extorted from him.

The Belgian Minister was exceedingly indignant, but could do little without the support of the Ambassadors of the Great Powers; and this support could not be had, as, for various reasons, the European Governments have fallen into the way of tolerating infractions of the capitulations except where some important interest is at stake. After the first few days the Belgian officials were able to communicate more or less freely with the prisoner; but this is not a very great concession, as, in virtue of a special treaty, Belgium claims the right - not often exercised, it is true - of actually trying Belgian subjects accused of criminal offences in Turkey.  It is possible that the last has not been heard of this case; but for the present the Belgian Government has made no protest.


The Times, 7 November 1905



The Commission which was formed under the presidency of Nedjib Pasha Melhame to discover the authors of the attempt made to assassinate the Sultan on July 21 has competed its inquiry, and is now drawing up its report to his Majesty.  This report will afterwards be translated into French and will be communicated to the heads of the foreign missions in Constantinople.  The evidence collected goes to show that the crime was the work of an Armenian revolutionary committee which had large sums of money at its disposition, as well as a number of devoted and desperate agents.  The idea was to bring about a state of chaos in Constantinople which would compel the European Powers to send their forces to restore order and protect the lives and property of their subjects. It was hoped that the madder of the Sultan would be followed by a general massacre of Armenians at the hands of the infuriated soldiery; but the committee, in order to make this hope a certainty, had, it would appear, made preparations for a series of dynamite outrages to be committed in various parts of the capital and some of the provincial towns as soon as the attempt at Yildiz had proved successful.

The leading conspirators seem to have been a Russian Armenian known under the pseudonym Lippa Ripps, a young Armenian woman from Berlin who assumed the name of Robina Fein, and a Belgian, Eduard Joris, the only one of the plotters of any importance who did not succeed in escaping.

The evidence which the Commission brought to light was yesterday submitted to the Chambre des Mises en Accusation, which, there is not doubt, will order the trial of all those implicated, between 20 and 25 persons in all.  With the exception of Joris the Commission has only been able to lay its hands on a few Armenian door-keepers, servants, &c., who are supposed to have been concerned in the plot. Those of the accused who have fled the country will be given a period within which to return, and will be condemned in default if they fail to do so.  Contrary to what is customary here in political cases, it is intended that the trial should be public.  As Ramazan has only just begun and little serious work can be done during the month of fasting, it will probably be some six or seven weeks before the trial begins.  As an exposure of one of the greatest and most sensational political conspiracies of modern times it will deserve to be followed with the closest attention. [Comments in behaviour of Turkish police.]


The Times, 19 December 1905



The criminal Court of Stamboul to-day delivered judgment in the case of the Belgian Joris and his alleged accomplices who were accused of being concerned in the attempt on the life of the Sultan.  Joris and three Armenians were condemned to death, and the same sentence was passed in contumaciam in ten other persons, including the wife of Joris.  With the exception of seven who were acquitted, the remaining accused were sentenced to penal servitude for life.


The Times, 21 December 1905




The Belgian Minister refuses to recognize the validity of the sentence on Joris, the Belgian who has been condemned to death for complicity in the plot against the Sultan.  He maintains that an Ottoman Court had no right to try a Belgian subject, even in the presence of the dragoman, and demands that Joris shall be handed over to the Belgian Government for trial and punishment.  Belgium hopes to secure the support of the Powers in vindicating what she regards as her treaty rights in this matter.  But the Ambassadors are not very anxious to interfere, as Joris admittedly took part in the attempt to kill the Sultan, which nearly succeeded and which cost the lives of nearly 30 innocent people, besides wounding over 50 others.  It is obvious that the intervention of the Powers in a case of this kind would make a very bad impression on Turkish public opinion, especially as the trial took place in open Court and was fully reported in all the local newspapers.  In some quarters it is argued that the Powers ought to prevent any violation of the Capitulatory rights enjoyed by foreign residents, but in others it is felt that the whole principle of the Capitulations would be discredited if they were used to save criminals of this sort from punishment for their crimes.

In any case it is not likely that Joris or any other of the conspirators will be executed.  The Sultan is almost certain to exercise his prerogative and commute the sentence to one of imprisonment for a number of years.


The Times, 22 December 1905



The case of M. Joris, of Antwerp, who is now under sentence of death at Constantinople for participation in the attempt on the Sultan's life last July, has aroused considerable feeling among his countrymen.  Various appeals have been made to the Belgian Government, both in Parliament and through private channels, to obtain permission from the Turkish authorities to try M. Joris in Belgium, a right which is claimed to exist by virtue of the extradition treaty of 1838 with the Porte.  As a similar treaty is in force with France, it is understood that the French Government is willing to support the Belgian view of the matter.


The Times, 23 December 1905


Constantinople, Dec. 21.

The Porte has addressed a Note to the Belgian Legation with regard to the demand that the Belgian subject Joris should be handed over to the Belgian authorities.  The Porte declares that it cannot consent to the demand because the stipulations of the treaty with Belgium have been annulled by subsequent arrangements and occurrences.


The Times, 26 December 1905



The Porte, in refusing the demand of the Belgian Minister that Joris should be handed over to the Belgian authorities to be tried in Brussels, disputes the Belgian interpretation of the treaty of 1838 and denies that Belgium has any special rights in excess of those enjoyed by other European States.  The controversy is similar to that between the Porte and the United States, which recently, in the case of the murder of Apik Effendi [see AFARIAN AND VARTANIAN] by Armenians claiming to be naturalized American citizens, disputed the right of the Turkish Courts to try the murderers.

The cases are not exactly alike, as Joris is a bona fide Belgian subject, while Vartanian and Aferian were considered by the Porte to have lost their assumed American nationality by returning to Turkey.

The conflict with the United States is not yet settled, though it has long ceased to be acute.  It is expected that the Joris affair will give rise to equally protracted negotiations, and it is hoped in both cases the result may be a revision of the treaties in question which will make clear exactly what exceptional rights, if any, are enjoyed by the United States and Belgium in matters of this kind.

In high Turkish circles it is stated that Joris will be hanged as soon as judgment has been confirmed by the Court of Cassation.  That would probably mean a rupture of diplomatic relations, and it is not thought likely that the Turkish Government will take such an extreme step.


The Times, 27 December 1905



Public feeling in Belgium continues to be deeply stirred by the impending fate of Joris, now under sentence of death in Constantinople for participation in the attempt on the life of the Sultan.

In the Senate to-day M. Wiener dwelt upon the responsibility of the Government and said the question must be examined later on whether everything had been done to enforce existing treaty rights.  He preferred to waive the question of procedure or the legality of the sentence, but he maintained that Joris, as a Belgian subject, should benefit by the unwritten law which had laid down that a death sentence in Belgium should never be carried into execution.

Baron de Favereau, Minister for Foreign Affairs, stated that the Government had done and was doing all in its power to assure treaty rights, but as active negotiations were in progress discretion on his part was necessary.

Count Gobiet d'Alviella endorsed M. Winer's remarks, and asked whether the difference in the interpretation of the extradition treaty of 1838 could not be submitted to the Hague Tribunal.

Baron de Favereau pointed out that the Porte was not among the Powers who signed that Convention.

As a result of a direct appeal sent by a recent public meeting, King Leopold has replied in terms similar to those of the Foreign Minister.


The Times, 10 January 1906



Efforts for the liberation of Joris, now under sentence of death in Constantinople for participating in an attempt on the life of the Sultan, continue to be made by his countrymen in various quarters.  The family of the accused have received a letter from M. Clemenceau couched in sympathetic terms and conveying the hope that M. Rouvier would intervene in his favour.  It is understood that the Belgian Government has already made a semi-official appeal to the Quai d'Orsay.  Private letters from Constantinople say that the Sultan is disposed to yield to the pressure of public opinion in Belgium.


The Times, 11 January 1906




The Belgian Legation to-day presented to the Porte a reply to the Note of December 21 in which the Porte refused to hand over the Belgian subject Joris to the Belgian authorities.  Belgium refutes the Porte's contention that the stipulations of the treaty with Belgium of 1838 have been annulled by subsequent arrangements and occurrences, and insists that Article VIII of the treaty is perfectlty explicit, definite, and applicable to the present case.  It is added that the reason why Belgium did not insist sooner upon the carrying out of the provisions of the treaty was that she did not desire in interfere with or hinder the judicial inquiry.  The Belgian reply concludes with a reiteration of the demand that Joris shall be tried by the Belgian Courts.


The Times, 30 January 1906



According to the newspapers, the Court of cassation has confirmed the sentence passed by the Stamboul Criminal Court on the Belgian Joris and the other persons convicted of complicity in the attempt on the life of the Sultan on July 21 last.


The Times, 24 February 1906




The Belgian Minister communicated to the Porte this afternoon a note maintaining the Belgian interpretation of the treaty of 1838 and formally proposing that the two Governments should submit the case of the Belgian subject Joris to the arbitration either of the Hague Court or some other tribunal chosen by common accord.  There is not much chance that this proposal will be accepted by the Turks, who, indeed, rejected it when it was made verbally a few days ago.  The question, they argue, affects their sovereign rights, and is therefore unsuitable for the arbitration either of the Hague or of any other Court.


The Times, 27 February 1906



A telegram from Constantinople says that the Sultan has declined the Belgian proposal to submit the case of Joris to arbitration and had s forbidden the Turkish Minister of Justice to reopen the question.


The Times, 26 April 1906



The Brussels Petit Bleu confirms the report that Joris, who until recently was under sentence of death in Constantinople for participation in the attempt on the life of the Sultan, will receive a free pardon and be allowed to return to Belgium under a promise not to set foot again on Turkish soil.


The Times, 7 May 1906



There is no truth in the report that Joris has been pardoned by the Sultan and that the Turco-Belgian conflict has come to an end.  On the contrary, the Porte is now engaged in preparing a reply to the last Belgian Note, in which the offer was made to refer the dispute to arbitration.  The Turkish Note will either refuse or ignore the offer and will maintain the position already defined in the previous Notes from the Porte.


The Times, 25 September 1906



The Belgian Minister in Constantinople has presented a Note to the Porte asking for the extradition of Joris, who was condemned to death for his attempt on the life of the Sultan on July 21, 1905.  The Note also asks that an arbitration Court shall be appointed to settle the disputed points as to the interpretation of the Turco-Belgian treaty.


The Times, 24 December 1907



The Belgian, Joris, who was sentenced to death in connexion with the attempt to assassinate the Sultan by means of a bomb on July 21, 1905, was released yesterday by an act of clemency on the part of the Sultan.  He leaves to-day for Belgium.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School