|People's Commission of Kanjor|
La Commission populaire Kanjorien
|Architect of the People's Commission|
|Date||February 2894 - December 2894|
|High Profile Victims|
| 583 executed|
Est. 140,000 blacklisted
La Commission populaire Kanjorien (The People's Commission of Kanjor) was a quasi-independent legal body established in February 2894 by the Parti Révolutionnaire des Travailleurs-led government of Kanjor. It was created to redress grievances made by the working class people of Kanjor against their treatment during the 44 year of Monarchist rule, however the extreme judicial power the Commission amassed was fiercely critised by liberals and Royalists. It was closed down in December 2894, having arrested over three thousand people, and executed nearly six hundred, including high-profile politicians and members of the Royal family.
Establishment of the CommissionEdit
Calls for a Commission stemmed principally from a grassroots movement of trade unionists and worker's collectives based in the Communist heartland of Martois, who demanded the Communist government overturn the various cases of exploitation the working classes had allegedly endured under the Monarchy.
Several influential trade union leaders from across Kanjor, including Marcel Rocquefort of Association de Travail de Silliers (Silliers Labour Association) and Elliot Dupont of Collective générale d'Industrie (General Industry Collective), expressed support for the growing Martoisien movement. However it was Marion Menard, controversial General Secretary of L'Union des Femmes et des Travailleurs de Martois (Martois Womens' and Labourers' Union), who campaigned most vigourously for a Commission, and fast became the figurehead of the overall movement.
Under Menard's direction, the movement swelled to massive membership, and regular protests on the streets of Martois' main cities raised the profile of the campaign. Several Royalist figures were targets of a smear campaign by the movement, calling for justice for the workers.
Following the execution of First Lord François Gualladet, former advisor to the Queen, Menard called directly on the national government to meet the demands of the movement and establish a Commission. The strength of Menard's campaign had become increasingly difficult to ignore, and Martois-based Justice Minister, Marcus Vastain, became the first member of the Cabinet to lend his support to calls for a Commission. With Vastain's help, ans some assistance from Vastain's close ally Internal Affairs Minister Elodie Majorie, a Commission was proposed and approved by the Communist Party's politburo.
Establishment and moderate beginnings Edit
In February 2894 the Commission was officially announced, with the Communist government claiming it to be an investigative inquiry aimed at redressing the grievances of the working class people. Marion Menard was appointed Principle Chairman of the People's Commission, who hand-selected her 12-person panel, and with the ear of Marcus Vastain, the Commission was given virtually unrestricted judicial powers in its inquiry. The Commission was able to subpoena any Kanjorien who was thought to have contributed to the 'exploitation of the working classes' during the period of 2850 to 2894. The Commission was able to unrestrictedly arrest, imprison, and even execute, individuals who they found guilty of "gross exploitations which cause grievous or irreparable harm" against the working classes.
Although the Commission won great plaudits from its target base in deprived working class communities, and amongst trade unions, it was harshly criticised by liberals and Royalists fearful of the immense power the Commission, and in particular Menard, had. Politician, Jean Bacquar, raised the loudest voice in opposition to the Commission, calling it a "sham organisation aimed at curbing opposition".
"The Reign of Terror" Edit
Although in the first few months the Commission refrained from some of the harsher punishments associated with the latter months of its existence, disagreements amongst the panel about the severity of the punishments forced Menard to sack six members of the panel, including fellow trade unionist Elliott Dupont, who refused to take more hardline positions. Following the reduction of the panel membership, punishments became increasingly harsh, and arrests more than doubled. During the final months before the Commission's disestablishment, retrospectively referred to as "The Reign of Terror", executions increased in frequency and became a common-day occurrence. With growing calls for the suspension of the Commission, and declining opinion poll ratings for the Communists as a result, Menard was accused of streamlining the inquisition process, turning the Commission into what became dubbed a 'death panel'. Around this time, 89% of those who sat before the Commission were sentenced to death, and 38% of those who had previously been sentenced to inprisonment had their sentences changed to the death penalty. The "Reign of Terror" reached its climax when Elliott Dupont, who had previously sat on the Commission's panel, was arrested and executed on the Commission's orders.
In December 2894, reactionary protests on the streets of Atyr campaigning against the Commission broke out. Although the protests were harshly suppressed, Président Théo-Narcisse Souvellent promised to call an early election to seek legitimacy for the continuation of the People's Commission. The decision was a catastrophic blow for the Communists, with Souvellent narrowly losing his re-election, and the Communists losing control of the government.
The new Royalist Premier Ministre, Diane Richlieu, swiftly closed down the Commission and arrested Marion Menard, Marcus Vastain and Elodie Majorie for their involvement in the Commission's actions.
High Profile VictimsEdit
The Commission was accused by Royalists of having a political motivation, due to its targeting of high-profile Royalists politicians and supporters of the Monarchy:
- François Gualladet, former First Lord and advisor, was arguably the first victim of the People's Commission. Although he did not sit before the Commission, his execution spurred on more vigourous campaigning for the establishment of a Commission.
- Somerville Therriault, cousin of the Queen and influential businessman, was arrested by the Commission and initially charged to 60 years in prison. However in November 2894 his sentence was altered and he was executed.
- Géraldine Pathé-Gualladet, wife of François Gualladet, was arrested in November 2894, and was one of the last victims of the Commission to be executed before its disestablishment.
- Axelle Gualladet, daughter of François Gualladet, was a primary school teacher in Martois and was reported to the Commission in March. She was arrested, and initially sentenced to prison. However, in November 2894, her sentence was altered and she was executed alongside her mother.
- Queen Sophie Irène was arrested by the Commission in early February and sentenced to one hundred years under house arrest.
- Adrien Daladier, Seigneur de Voubaix and son of former High Lord Camille Daladier, was arrested in August 2894. Adrien had been an avowed Monarchist, unlike his father, and his arrest caused much unease amongst the Communists. Despite appeals for leniency, Adrien was executed in October.
- Elliott Dupont, General Secretary of the General Industry Collective, was formerly a member of the panel of the People's Commission. His moderate and lenient approach, which aimed primarily at investigating grievances, was critised by Menard as counter-productive. He was sacked from the panel in August, and was arrested in October. He was accused of "anti-revolutionary behaviour" and attempting to sabotage the Commission. In November, amid intense controversy, Menard called for Dupont to be executed and sentenced him to death.
- Prince Charles, was brought before the Commission in January 2894, despite his rejection of his title and his staunch belief in Communism. In one of the longest inquiries held by the Commission, due to extreme lobbying for lenience by prominent Communist politicians, the Commission forced Charles to make a public confession that his Royal upbringing may have hampered the progress of the Communist mission, which he subsequently retracted.
- Jean Bacquar, Royalist politician and backbencher, was the most outspoken critic of the Commission from the opposition. He was targeted for a smear campaign, and had several attempts made on his life, before being brought before the Commission in April. He was acquitted with the assistance of Elliott Dupont, but after Dupont's dismissal from the panel in August, Bacquar was brought before the Commission again. He was sentenced to death, but was liberated from prison by a group of Royalist vigilantes. Bacquar refused to leave Kanjor, but went into hiding until the Commission was closed down. He was subsequently regarded as a hero of the Commission's resistance, and went on to become a leading figure in supporting global action to tackle genocide.
The three former Communist leaders responsible for the formation and activities surrounding the People's Commission (dubbed the PRTrois) were charged with crimes against the state. Elodie Majorie, Marion Menard, and Marcus Vastain were all charged with conspiracy, treason, obstruction of justice, and perverting the course of justice. However, both Majorie and Vastain each faced two additional counts of misconduct while in office for their involvement as leaders of the commission.
There was both Communist and Royalist protests on the streets during trial, which found Menard found guilty and she was given a 50 year sentence. Justice Secretary Marcus Vastain and former Internal Affairs Minister Elodie Majorie were also proven guilty. They both were given maximum sentences of life without parole for their involvement in the activities of the People's Commission, and the unlawful execution of First Lord François Gualladet, CC, SN.
PRT Chairman Théo-Narcisse Souvellent criticised the court arrangement, claiming the potential for bias against the communists was too great. In his press release he questioned the neutrality of the judiciary saying it was 'impossible' for them not to be biased.
Release of Menard and Majorie Edit
After being charged to 50 years in prison for her role as Chairman of the People's Commission, riots on the streets of most Kanjorien cities demanded justice for Menard. While still in prison, Menard was chosen as the PRT's candidate for the 4th District of Martois, her home constituency, despite laws preventing criminals to stand for public office. Menard won over 87% of the vote in her constituency, and after the Communists' successful re-election, Président Théo-Narcisse Souvellent issued her release and subsequent appointment as Premier Ministre. Elodie Majorie was also released and restored as Internal Affairs Minister, before eventually retiring from politics. However, Marcus Vastain remained in prison, due to a falling-out with the Souvellent Faction within the Community Party.
Menard went on to be elected Chairman of the PRT, and served two interrupted terms as Président, despite her controversial past. Vastain served 13 years of his life sentence before he was issued a pardon with Menard's election as Président, and was rewarded with the position of Finance Minister.