History can record few, if any, instances of a crime so comprehensive, so deliberate, and affecting so large a number of human beings; and no instance of one of such character occurring, and continuing for seventeen years, in a territory surrounded by special safeguards for the just treatment of its native races elaborated at a solemn Congress of civilised Governments.<br><br>The determining features of the System devised to carry out this policy have been these. The natural products of the country having commercial value on the world's markets have been claimed by the Belgian rulers of the Congo on the ground that the native tribes and communities have no rights in the land upon which these products grow, and the inhabitants of the country have been driven by compulsory labour to collect these products for their self-constituted alien owners.<br><br>The System has consisted, therefore, of three interdependent parts:<br><br>1. The claim to the negotiable wealth of the land.<br><br>2. The definition of all land bearing the articles forming this negotiable wealth as "Vacant," i.e., without lawful native owners.<br><br>3. Compulsory labour impressed upon the native inhabitants of the land.