Extraordinary Department for the Nampataland

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Extraordinary Department for the Nampataland
Flag of Praetonia.png
Nightwatch organisation overview
Formed2012
JurisdictionQuesters
HeadquartersJesselton
MottoProvidence Upholds
Employees1,150 (peak)
85 (today)

The Extraordinary Department for the Nampataland is a branch of the Political Service of the Estates-General under the direct authority of the Protector that was created in 2012 as an executive agency to investigate and punish crimes related to the Syndicalist uprising. It is not a court and acts only on the basis of judgements obtained from, generally, the Court of Maritime Settlement or the Haversham Metropolitan Court.

Remit

During the first 18 months of the war, orthodox forces were tending to lose territory, capture few prisoners, and did not have confidence in ultimate victory in the war. The Estates-General had no dedicated organisation dealing with Syndicalist crimes and presumptively held all prisoners as prisoners of war without considering their possible status as criminals. Under Common Law, murder can be punished with death, and joint enterprise is considered to taint all those who actively and without overwhelming and immediate duress involved themselves in supporting and enabling such a murder. This would include most or all Syndicalist soldiers and civil officials. In 2012, following the victories in the Malayland under Smyth and Abdul, and especially the Estates' landings in New Senland, the Estates began to see the need for a concerted plan for the peace.

Although it was advocated by some newspapers, the Estates-General never seriously considered mass executions of ordinary soldiers captured in the field or surrendered. As early as 2012, however, the Estates did begin to define categories of people against whom it would apply the full rigour of the Common Law. On the day after the landings, the Estates' proclaimed its first conditional amnesty, for "all persons within the declared New Senland battle zone who, having adhered to the Syndicalist Cause, now surrender to the forces of the Estates-General or its allies and co-belligerents, or, abandoning any arms, depart peacefully to their Lawful habitations, and never again bear arms in support of that Cause." This amnesty, however, excluded "Unconscionable Persons", whom the Estates' defined as "guilty of outrages demanding punishment in the sight of the world".

SCHEDULE OF UNCONSCIONABLE PERSONS
  • All officers of rank Colonel and above, and all civil officials of comparable or greater power in their respective spheres.
  • All those directly involved in the murder or gross ill-treatment of a member of the civil population of Questers, of a civilian under the protection of an ally or co-belligerent of the Estates-General, or of a civilian Contributor to the Estates-General, outside of a battle zone.
  • All those who have wrongfully touched the person or property of a bearer of the Passport of the Estates-General.
  • All those guilty of a crime of cruelty, who have grossly exceeded in their exercise of violence in war the necessities of war.
  • All those who claim, or have claimed, to be jurists in a court, that body in fact adhering to false Syndicalist principles.
  • All those employed in a profession principally concerned with the enforcement of Syndicalist 'law'.
  • All those who, having renounced the Syndicalist Cause upon guarantee from the Estates-General for their future immunity, once again adhere to that Cause.

When Estates' forces reoccupied New Senland they were quickly overwhelmed with applications for amnesty by captured and dispersed Syndicalists, and for vengeance from the overwhelmingly orthodox local population. The Estates' conventional forces quickly overran the area as Syndicalist troops retreated, however, and the Estates-General formed the Extraordinary Department in the second week after the landings. Its remit was to locate and execute unconscionable persons. Generally speaking, Estates' troops did not execute captured Syndicalist officers and men unless they fell into this category regardless of whether they accepted amnesty, but pursuit of unconscionable persons increased in intensity as Syndicalism collapsed. The Department focused with a special intensity on capturing and executing senior civil officials and Syndicalist court officials and often published news of such executions in the Haversham Gazette of the Associations.

Operation

Estates' investigators from the EDfN without special markings, Questers 2014.

The Extraordinary Department had two principal task: first, to locate "unconscionable persons", and second, to execute them. In some cases, the task was simply one of tracking down known figures, for instance publicly acknowledged high officials in the Syndicalist army and civil apparatus. In others, detailed investigation was required to determine whether or not a person was "unconscionable". In all cases, the Extraordinary Department had to assemble enough evidence to satisfy the regular Common Law burden of proof that the person in question was in fact guilty of murder, whether by joint enterprise or otherwise. This evidence was then usually submitted to a court for adjudication, although the Department had authority to forego this formality in the case of persons whose names appeared on a list of "notorious outlaws". In this case, a mere internal tribunal establishing their identity was required.

In total, the Extraordinary Department has executed 87,649 people. Although it remains in operation, mostly responding to requests for investigation from the public, the vast majority of these executions occurred in 2013 and 2014, during the reconquest of northern Questers and the subsequent pacification of the Nampataland. The dominant classes of criminal the Department has dealt with are, first, politically sensitive persons who were leading figures in the mutiny or subsequent operation of the Syndicalist society, and, second, people guilty of atrocities under colour of the Syndicalist law, especially against civilian property owners in the east of Questers. Although the remit of the Department does not exclude claims on the basis of race, claims submitted to it rather than to a comparable Questarian body are disproportionately from Praetonian ex-patriots, people descended from Praetannic families, and Sikhs who feel some affinity with Praetonia.

In popular culture

The Estates-General deliberately declined to draw attention to the Extraordinary Department, but it was eventually revealed to the public by a front page expose in the populist tabloid The Thunderer entitled The Return of the Witchfinder-General. The tone of the article was overwhelmingly positive, but gave the impression that the Extraordinary Department was executing far more people than in fact it was. When real figures began to emerge in more serious newspapers, a flood of letters of complaint arrived at the Estates-General, with many contributors demanding mass slaughter of captured Syndicalists being held in camps and much of the population of the Nampataland. Alarmed by this tendency, Marshal Smyth greatly relaxed security at most of the Questarian prisoner of war camps operated by the Estates-General on the subcontinent, and eventually issued orders permitting all prisoners of war at or below the rank of sergeant to simply walk home, without authority from the Estates.

A curiosity that became widely reported was that, in Common Law, an allegation of murder can only be pursued with an identifiable victim, regardless that it might be "obvious" that, for instance, an artillery officer has almost certainly personally killed at least one unidentified person. The victim chosen as the exemplar by the Extraordinary Department for the Nampataland became a minor celebrity, being chosen as an elderly Praetannic woman and Contributor to the Estates-General who was visiting relatives in Questers at the time of the war and was judicially executed according to Syndicalist law in New Senland for the crime of hiding her personal valuables from redistribution to the community. To date more than 60,000 people have been executed officially for her murder. The anecdote has been turned into a folk story asserting the ultimate vengeance of Providence against wrongdoers.