Stanislaus Krofan v Public Prosecutor

CourtFederal Court (Singapore)
Judgment Date05 October 1966
Docket NumberCriminal Appeal No Y4 of 1966
Date05 October 1966

[1966] SGFC 11

Federal Court

Wee Chong Jin CJ


Tan Ah Tah FJ


J W D Ambrose J

Criminal Appeal No Y4 of 1966

Krofan Stanislaus and another
Public Prosecutor

G Murugaiyan for the appellants

Francis Seow (Senior State Counsel) for the respondent.

Saboteurs' Case (ex parte Quirin), The317 US 1 (1940) (folld)

Courts of Judicature Act1964 (Act 7 of 1964) (M'sia) s 60

Geneva Conventions Act1957 (c 52) (UK) s 8

Geneva Conventions Act1962 (Act 5 of 1962) (Malaya)

Internal Security Act1960 (Act 18 of 1960) (Malaya)s 57 (1)

Malaysia Act 1963 (Act 26 of 1963) (Malaya)ss 73 (2),74

International Law–War and armed conflict–Geneva Conventions–Members of Indonesian armed forces carrying explosives in Singapore while wearing civilian clothing–Whether Geneva Convention part of domestic law in Singapore–Whether prisoners of war within meaning of Geneva Convention–Articles 4 and 4A Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War 1949–Articles 3 to 20, 29, 30 and 31 Regulations Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land

The appellants were members of the Indonesian armed forces. They came to Singapore wearing civilian clothing and carrying explosives for the purpose of exploding them in Singapore at a time when there was a state of armed conflict between Indonesia and Malaysia, of which Singapore was then a part. They were convicted of carrying explosives, an offence under s 57 of the Internal Security Act 1960 (Act 18 of 1960) (Malaya). The questions raised in this appeal were whether the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War 1949 (“the Convention”) was part of Singapore's domestic law at the date of the offence, and whether the appellants were prisoners of war within the meaning of the Convention.

Held, dismissing the appeals:

(1) The question of whether the Convention was part of Singapore's domestic law was raised at a very late stage of the proceedings. The court thus declined to decide the issue and dealt with the appeal on the assumption that the Convention was applicable to Singapore at all material times: at [13].

(2) A regular combatant who chose to divest himself of his most distinctive characteristic, his uniform, for the purpose of spying or of sabotage thereby forfeited his right on capture to be treated as a prisoner of war. If such a spy or saboteur was tried under the domestic legislation of the detaining power, such trial could take place in camera. Further, no notification was required to any Protecting Power and no rights of communication existed. However, he must be treated with humanity and afforded a fair and regular trial: at [24].

(3) In the present case, the appellants were not entitled to the status of prisoners of war. They had been treated with humanity and granted a fair and regular trial. Further, there was no substantial miscarriage of justice. Accordingly, the appeals were dismissed: at [26] and [27].

Wee Chong Jin CJ

(delivering the judgment of the court):

1 The appellants were tried, convicted and sentenced by the High Court in Singapore on the following charge:

That you (1) Stanislaus Krofan (2) Andres Andea, on or about 14 April 1965 at about 9.20pm at Tanjong Rhu, Singapore, which is a security area, did carry without lawful authority 43 lbs of explosives, and thereby committed an offence under s 57 (1) (b) and punishable under s 57 (1) of the Internal Security Act, 1960.

2 We propose to set out only those facts which are material for determining the questions raised in this appeal. The appellants on the evening of 14 April 1965 came into Singapore from one of the nearby Indonesian islands in a boat which carried no lights. They came ashore carrying with them explosives which they claimed they had been ordered by their superiors to explode in Singapore. They claimed they were members of the armed forces of Indonesia though at the time of their entry into Singapore they were wearing civilian clothing. They were apprehended without offering any resistance immediately after they set foot on Singapore soil with the explosives in their physical possession. At the material date there was a state of “confrontation” between Indonesia and Malaysia, of which Singapore was a member State. For the purposes of this appeal it is not disputed that as a result of this state of confrontation, Indonesia and Malaysia were in “armed conflict” within the meaning of that expression in the 1949 Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War (hereinafter referred to...

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1 cases
  • Osman and Another v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • Federal Court (Singapore)
    • 5 Octubre 1966
    ...J Braga (AJ Braga & Co) for the appellants Francis Seow (Attorney-General's Chambers) for the respondent. Krofan Stanislaus v PP [1965-1967] SLR (R) 411 (folld) Yap Sow Keong v PP [1947] MULR 49 (folld) Criminal Procedure and Sentencing–Statements–Admissibility–Statements given within s......

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