“Nuremberg Principles”: Measure All Criminals by the Same Yardstick
When is the Next “Nuremberg Trial” Due?
Robert H. Jackson, US chief prosecutor in the Nuremberg trial of the main German war criminals in World War II said in his opening speech on 21 November 1945:
“…we must never forget that by the same standard by which we measure the accused today, we too will be measured by history tomorrow. To hand these defendants a poisoned cup is to bring it to our own lips.” (1)
On 24 October 1946, in an oral report to the People’s Assembly, the Secretary-General of the United Nations proposed that the principles applied in the total of 13 Nuremberg trials be made a permanent part of international law.
On 29 July 1950, the International Law Commission (ILC) formulated its seven-article version of the Nuremberg Principles. They pointed the way for the new international criminal law:
- Any person who commits a crime under international law is criminally liable for it.
- Even if national law does not impose a penalty for a crime under international law, the perpetrator is liable to prosecution under international law.
- Heads of state and members of government are also responsible for the crimes they commit under international law.
- Acting on superior orders does not exempt one from responsibility under international law, provided the perpetrator could have acted differently.
- Everyone charged with a crime under international law is entitled to due process.
- The following crimes are punishable as crimes under international law: a) crimes against peace b) war crimes c) crimes against humanity.
- Complicity in the commission of the above crimes shall also constitute a crime under international law.” (2)
When is the next “Nuremberg Trial” due?
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Dr. Rudolf Hänsel is a graduate psychologist and educationalist.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s).