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Bavarian Edict on "the Establishment of a Gendarmerie" (October 11, 1812)

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Art. 198. On the other hand, the gendarmerie, if it is requisitioned to carry out the orders of the judiciary and the police, or it is carrying out its regular duty, can employ force and make use of its weapons only if force is used against it, or if the opposition it encounters in performing its duty is such that it can be dispelled only by force of arms.

Art. 199. In cases where crowds gather, the gendarmerie can break the resistance with force of arms only if it is authorized to do so by an explicit requisitioning of the police authorities and is accompanied by an individual of the same, who first calls the rioters to obedience three times with a loud voice and orders them to disperse, and warns them to yield to force; if the resistance continues after this demand, the assembled rioters do not remove themselves peacefully, they are dispersed by force, and the gendarmerie is no longer responsible for the consequences, and it seizes all those it can lay its hands on to hand them over to the police.

Art. 200. The commanders of the gendarmerie, the leaders of the brigades, and the individual gendarmes who refuse to carry out the legal requisitioning of the civil authorities shall be, upon notification of the same, suspended on the spot, and given a punishment of incarceration that may not be less than 3 months, with no affect on those harsher penalties that the penal laws impose on the violation of public safety if such a violation were the result of the aid refused by the gendarmerie.

Art. 201. If, on the other hand, an officer, subaltern officer, or common troop of the gendarmerie should take the liberty to issue or carry out an arrest warrant against a person whose arrest is not permitted and ordered according to a current decree, in order to immediately hand this person over to the police authorities, the same will be put before the relevant military court and given the penalty for the abuse of official authority.

Art. 202. Subject to the same treatment are those gendarmes who detain persons they have arrested as a consequence of current decree or upon a legal requisition in prisons that were not explicitly and publicly intended for that purpose by the judicial and police authorities. [ . . . ]

Art. 205. Any force the gendarmerie employs during arrests in fulfillment of its duties without having been authorized to do so by the regulations of the current decree, will be severely punished by the penal laws as illegal, and the commanders as well as the civil authorities must see to it that the prisoners are not insulted either by mockery nor other acts, and that they suffer no force unless they make the same necessary through their resistance to the law.

Art. 206. As it is, the gendarmerie, in the internal and external performance of its duties, must behave with propriety and modesty, and treat everyone, though he be of the lowest estate, with the kind of respect to which he is entitled as a citizen of the state.

Source of German text: Königlich-Baierisches Regierungsblatt [Royal Bavarian Gazette] (1812), Col. 1737-43, 1746-52, 1757, 1762 f., 1766-73, 1777 f., 1781-84.

Reprinted in Walter Demel and Uwe Puschne, eds., Von der Französischen Revolution bis zum Wiener Kongreß 1789-1815 [From the French Revolution to the Congress of Vienna, 1789-1815], Deutsche Geschichte in Quellen und Darstellung, edited by Rainer A. Müller, Vol. 6. Stuttgart: P. Reclam, 1995, pp. 239-48.

Translation: Thomas Dunlap

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