List of double standards and injustice of Nuremberg Trial

Discussions on the Holocaust and 20th Century War Crimes. Note that Holocaust denial is not allowed. Hosted by David Thompson.
Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 5297
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: List of double standards and injustice of Nuremberg Trial

Postby Sid Guttridge » 28 Jan 2015 12:08

Surely, the biggest injustice at Nuremberg was that so few of those culpable were ever prosecuted?

Sid.

User avatar
DukeOfPrussia
Member
Posts: 9
Joined: 27 Jan 2015 15:48
Location: Malaysia

Re: List of double standards and injustice of Nuremberg Trial

Postby DukeOfPrussia » 28 Jan 2015 18:09

Hi Sid,

I bring your attention to this piece by Sir William Blackstone, one of the foremost authorities on law.
"It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer", Commentaries on the Laws of England, published in the 1760s.

Many Nazis escaped as there just wasn't sufficient concrete evidence. However this mitigated by the fact that, to the best of my knowledge, there is no statute of limitation for war crimes https://www.icrc.org/customary-ihl/eng/docs/v1_rul_rule160.

The critics of the Nuremberg Trials expand beyond the usual apologists and Nazis; prominent judges and publications were scathing of the injustice and double standards of these Trials http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuremberg_trials#Criticism. The Chicago Tribune also weighs in on the injustice http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1994-06-05/entertainment/9406040211_1_german-law-nuremberg-trials-nazi-leaders
Regards,
Prav.

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 5297
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: List of double standards and injustice of Nuremberg Trial

Postby Sid Guttridge » 28 Jan 2015 18:25

Hi DoP,

Indeed, it may well be so that, "It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer", but it is difficult to see the application of this to Nuremberg, where only a limited number of senior Nazis were prosecuted and not all got the death penalty or even life imprisonment.

Why should there be a statute of limitation for war crimes (or, indeed, any crimes)? As most war criminals seem to get away free of punishment, it is very useful that they have to keep looking over their shoulders for the rest of their lives, because fear of apprehension is perhaps the only punishment they will ever get.

I am not sure who sees injustice in the Nuremberg Process, but I can quite see that some legal minds might question the legal process there. However, justice and legality are two, not necessarily compatible, things.

I would suggest that the problem with Nuremberg was that there wasn't enough justice dispensed, not that there was too much.

Would it have been to anyone's, except the perpetrators', advantage if what we now know as "conspiracy to commit aggression, the aggression itself, crimes in the conduct of war and crimes against humanity", involving the deaths of tens of millions of people, had gone unpunished at all on a legal technicality, however profound?

Fortunately international law has now caught up with events and "conspiracy to commit aggression, the aggression itself, crimes in the conduct of war and crimes against humanity" are now undoubtedly illegal, so similar "miscarriages of process" (though arguably not of justice) as at Nuremberg should not recur.

Forgive me for not shedding too many tears because international law may have got the cart before the horse at Nuremberg and a few dozen reprehensible individuals got punished for helping preside over millions of unnecessary deaths.

Cheers,

Sid

User avatar
wbell
Member
Posts: 111
Joined: 24 Oct 2017 16:53
Location: Halifax

Re: List of double standards and injustice of Nuremberg Trial

Postby wbell » 14 Nov 2017 16:46

The Nuremberg proceedings are a “sanctimonious fraud” and a “high-grade lynching party.” It's "a fraud" to Germans.
Harlan Stone (1872-1946), Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court at the time
Source: Mason, Alpheus T., Harlan Fiske Stone: Pillar of the Law, NY: Viking, 1956, p. 716 and History.com

The Allies “substituted power for principle” at Nuremberg.
William O. Douglas (1898-1980), then an associate U.S. Supreme Court Justice
Source: History.com

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 5297
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: List of double standards and injustice of Nuremberg Trial

Postby Sid Guttridge » 14 Nov 2017 18:07

Hi wbell,

And your/their point is?

A mystified Sid.

David Thompson
Forum Staff
Posts: 22809
Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
Location: USA

Re: List of double standards and injustice of Nuremberg Trial

Postby David Thompson » 14 Nov 2017 18:58

wbell -- The object of the thread is to list the claimed problems of the IMT proceedings resulting in injustice. Conclusory opinions, without the underlying reasoning or arguments, don't get us past the inevitable question: "so what?"

User avatar
wbell
Member
Posts: 111
Joined: 24 Oct 2017 16:53
Location: Halifax

Re: List of double standards and injustice of Nuremberg Trial

Postby wbell » 15 Nov 2017 17:19

Sid Guttridge wrote:Hi wbell,

And your/their point is?

A mystified Sid.


A Court of Justice deals with the rule of law. Judges are appointed that have a background in applying the legal principles of their jurisdiction. I would think that any national representative of the judiciary would apply jurisprudence (the study and theory of law) to his best ability.

In the case of Nuremberg, this was deemed not to be required. Subsequently, hearsay evidence that did not conform with the hearsay rules was admitted, full disclosure was not given to the accused until after the fact, etc..

The U.S. and British Judges did not apply the rules of evidence of their countries (I can't attest to those of the Soviets). The normal rights of an accused were not extended to those charged in this court (an ability to cross examine every witness, non-original statements submitted, continuity of evidence, etc.).

Most significantly, the German defendants at Nuremberg were being tried for several categories of offense that had no precedent whatever under international law. The major focuses of the prosecution were crimes against the peace, crimes against humanity, war crimes, organizations, and conspiracy. Of all these, only war crimes were a clearly recognized category under pre-existing international law.

War crimes jurisprudence was based on the Hague and Geneva conventions, that governed the treatment of foreign soldiers and noncombatants during wartime. Technically, the only war crimes committed by the Germans involved the treatment of Allied prisoners of war and of the populations of conquered countries. There was an additional legal wrinkle in that Germany had repudiated the Geneva and Hague conventions; but at least at one time it had been a party to them.

The crimes against peace counts of the indictment dealt with the German decision to "wage aggressive war." This was acknowledged by all at Nuremberg to be an "ex post facto" charge, meaning that the defendants were indicted for something that was not a crime until after they had committed it. Ex post facto criminal laws are completely impermissible under the U.S. Constitution, French Code Civil (Article 2) and the British judicial system, with the exception of an Act of Parliament (which wasn't the case).

Prosecution of the Germans for non-crimes undermines the legitimacy of the Nuremberg proceedings in my legal opinion. From my previously posted quotes, it seems that others shared this view...

I'm not saying that they Nazis shouldn't have been punished, on the contrary. More of them should have been brought to trial, along with those responsible for Allied war crimes as well.

David Thompson
Forum Staff
Posts: 22809
Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
Location: USA

Re: List of double standards and injustice of Nuremberg Trial

Postby David Thompson » 15 Nov 2017 18:35

wbell -- See the discussion at:

Ex post facto law and the Nuremberg trials
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=15033

Also see:

Crimes against humanity - an ex post facto law?
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=27987

and

Crimes Against Peace (Waging Aggressive War)
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=21755

User avatar
wbell
Member
Posts: 111
Joined: 24 Oct 2017 16:53
Location: Halifax

Re: List of double standards and injustice of Nuremberg Trial

Postby wbell » 15 Nov 2017 21:01

Thanks David.

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 5297
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: List of double standards and injustice of Nuremberg Trial

Postby Sid Guttridge » 16 Nov 2017 12:45

Hi wbell,

Thanks for a well presented explanation.

My starting point, as a layman, is whether a real injustice, rather than a technical, legalistic one, was done as a result of the Nuremberg process.

In my opinion, No. Justice was done, even if the international legal framework was not then formally in place to satisfy technical legal requirements.

Again in my opinion, the real problem is that during the whole Nuremberg Process nowhere near enough justice, real or technical, was done. At least 10 million people suffered culpable deaths outside the laws of war in WWII and it is likely that several hundred thousand people, at the least, bore some responsibility, yet only a few tens of thousands were prosecuted by all parties concerned.

Of course, we could have let off those ultimately responsible for the willful deaths of 6 million Jews, 3 million Soviet POWs and numerous others on legal technicalities due to the limitations of international law as it then existed.

But should we?

As I understand it, under Anglo-Saxon Common Law, precedent is important and has to be set somewhere. In this case virtually everyone is now agreed that "crimes against the peace, crimes against humanity, war crimes, organizations, and conspiracy" really do exist and Nuremberg is where the precedent for addressing them was set, however inadequately in strictly legalistic terms.

I do not recognize the formulation "non-crimes" in this case, except in the narrowest, legalistic, sense. International Law has moved on and legislated for precisely these "non-crimes" as crimes, albeit post facto as far as Nuremberg is concerned.

Retrospective legislation certainly does go against the Anglo-Saxon grain, but I would suggest that the pursuit of justice is a higher aim where existing laws are inadequate.

Law can never be absolutely dominant. For example, Nuremberg gave its name to a set of laws only a decade before the Nuremberg Process, the direct and indirect consequences of which we all here know. A lawyer might defend their imposition as legitimate on strictly legalistic grounds, but should humanity therefore look the other way despite their evident injustice?

Cheers,

Sid.

User avatar
wbell
Member
Posts: 111
Joined: 24 Oct 2017 16:53
Location: Halifax

Re: List of double standards and injustice of Nuremberg Trial

Postby wbell » 16 Nov 2017 18:45

Sid Guttridge wrote: ...Law can never be absolutely dominant.


Thanks Sid. I'm confident that the IMT could have prosecuted the responsible parties on charges that were on the books already. It was important at that time for the U.N. to demonstrate some sort of justice in this case.

Perhaps the accused could have been provided with an exercise period with a group of Jews, Gypsies, and Homosexuals. I would have had less difficulty with that than what transpired. A trial under the guise of law, where the law (as recognized by the majority of the Judges) wasn't adhered to.

There has been much debate on the role of international law in-light of the role of sovereign nations. Other discussions have hinged on the role of the individual in the international context. As you know, international law is based upon treaties between nations; of which the individual is not party to. If the individual is to be held responsible, individual rights should also be specified.

Generally speaking, Federal statutes outline the specific laws of the nation, specify statute of limitations and penalties, etc.. The interpretation of the law is held in-check by common law precedents (as you have mentioned) and a series of potential appeals to a higher court. These are checks in the system.

The appeal process is non-existent in international law and as such would often limit the normal nationally protected rights of the individual. There are many others areas that could be discussed. Suffice it to say, that it would be easy for me to drift off the topic, which in-turn would cause David to have to pull in the reins once again... :)


Return to “Holocaust & 20th Century War Crimes”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CommonCrawl [Bot], Naver [Bot]