Einsamer_Wolf wrote: Roberto wrote:
Einsamer_Wolf wrote:The Nuremberg trials were a farce, a Kangaroo court--victor's justice crudely dressed in the garb of justice. Two essential principals make this so:
1) Soviet judges sat on the bench. SOrt of like the pot calling the kettle black, don't you think.
Even a gangster can give another gangster a fair trial, if certain procedural rules are adhered to.
Not without suffering from umnbelievable hypocrisy:w hich is why I denounce the Nuremberg trials.
I have no problem with your denouncing the many shortcoming these trials had. I just don’t think it is appropriate to call them "kangaroo courts", a term conveying the idea that the respective tribunal didn’t strive to establish and weigh the evidence against and in favor of the defendants and that the trial was not conducted in accordance with procedural rules aimed at safeguarding the defendant’s rights. Whatever you may say against the moral legitimacy of the trials’ promoters, and however harshly you may criticize individual decisions, the notion that the Nuremberg trials were some kind of sham rather than a proper judicial procedure, however fraught with fallacies deserving severe criticism, is completely wrong. I don’t know what your definition of a "kangaroo court" is. I for my part refer to the words of this forum’s most senior legal expert, Mr. Walter Kaschner. In his post # 243 (9/22/01 1:20:20 am) on the thread "Any information on the Nurenberg trials?", which used to be available under the link http://pub3.ezboard.com/fskalmanforumfr ... 61&stop=80
Walter Kaschner wrote:It is all too easy to dismiss the Trials as “sham”, “fraudulent”, “kangaroo court” but to me that just demonstrates a poverty of analysis. Actually, I don’t really know just what a kangaroo court is. In my younger days I thought it meant a court held among convicts in a prison to judge one of their own. And then I read somewhere that it derives from the gold mining days in California, where informal courts were set up to adjudicate charges of “claim jumping”, hence the kangaroo aspect. But if the generally accepted meaning today is a court which has no authorized status or procedures, I don’t believe the Nuremberg Tribunals qualify. Clearly the four power London Charter and the Constitution of the IMT set out a basis and detailed procedures for the Tribunal’s operations, and those procedures were, as far as I am aware, pretty closely followed.
Einsamer_Wolf wrote: I would respect thte Nuremberg trials if they prosecuted Soviet war criminals for example. But they did not. Ergo--it is a kangaroo court.
Roberto wrote:By such standards every criminal court in the world is a kangaroo court, because there are always criminals who for one or the other reason cannot be brought to trial. Your reasoning would also imply that no criminal at all may be tried unless it is possible to try all criminals, which is never the case. So I hope you will recognize that your argument makes no sense.
Einsamer_Wolf wrote: In this case, teh Western allies ought to have at least attempted to recitify the excessos the Soviets--or at the very least prevent Soviet judges from sitting on the bench. In ohter words--I believe that, with moral fortitude, some of the Soviets could have been boruight to justice. Remeber, at this point the West had the bomb--Stalin did not.
Your considerations have my sympathy, but they don’t change the fact that the Nuremberg defendants were given a fair trial, one where procedural rules meant to safeguard the defendants’ rights were adhered to and the defendants, supported by qualified attorneys of their choice and speaking their language, were entitled to both contest the evidence brought against them by the prosecution and to present evidence in their favor. The latter was actually quite voluminous. Any attempt to condemn the trial against the major war criminals before the International Military Tribunal as a "kangaroo court", a "sham" or a "show trial" requires ignoring a number of essential facts, namely that
a) Some of the most distinguished judges and lawyers from the Allied countries participated either on the bench or as prosecutors (who presumably prostituted their talents and independence by pretending to hold a trial, if “Revisionists” are to be believed).
b) The defendants had their choice of defense attorneys, who included some of the most distinguished German attorneys.
c) The defendants could call witnesses.
d) The defendants were entitled to challenge the evidence produced by the prosecution, namely examine documents and cross-examine witnesses.
e) The proceedings took place over 403 sessions, all of which were open to the public and recorded for posterity.
f) 33 witnesses were called for the prosecution.
g) 19 defendants gave evidence.
h) 61 defense witnesses gave oral evidence.
i) 143 defense witnesses gave written evidence.
j) Several thousand documents were tendered by the prosecution and defense. With very few exceptions the authenticity of these documents was not questioned by the defense.
k) The judgment (parts of which the Soviet judge dissented from) carefully examined the guilt of the defendants in respect of each charge. For each charge the evidence in favor and against was described, the arguments of the prosecution and defense considered and a considered judgment reached.
l) There were 74 charges (divided into 4 general categories) brought against 22 defendants 52 of these charges were found to be proven, 22 were dismissed. Three defendants were entirely acquitted. A number of defendants had their culpability in respect of proven charges reduced or eliminated because of extenuating circumstances.
m) As to the burden of proof, that is upon the defendant in a show trial. "Revisionists" (I'm not saying you are one, you seem to be smarter than that) like to make believe that this was so at Nuremberg as well. This is nonsense, as a reading of the Charter and Rules for Procedure make clear. The onus was on the prosecution to establish the guilt of the defendant on each charge beyond a reasonable doubt.
Some quotes from the judgment will illustrate how the judges approached their task (I have bolded some of the particularly interesting passages): HESS:
There is evidence showing the participation of the Party Chancellery, under Hess, in the distribution of orders connected with the commission of war crimes; that Hess may have had knowledge of even if he did not participate in the crimes that were being committed in the East, and proposed laws discriminating against Jews and Poles; and that he signed decrees forcing certain groups of Poles to accept German citizenship. The Tribunal, however, does not find that the evidence sufficiently connects Hess with these crimes to sustain a finding of guilt.
The Anschluss, although it was an aggressive act, is not charged as an aggressive war, and the evidence against Kaltenbrunner under Count One does not in the opinion of the Tribunal , show his direct participation in any plan to wage such a war.
The evidence has not satisfied the Tribunal that Frank was sufficiently connected with the common plan to wage aggressive war to allow the Tribunal to convict him on count one.
Streicher was a staunch Nazi and supporter of Hitler's main policies. There is no evidence to show that he was ever within Hitler's inner circle advisers; nor during his career was he closely connected with the formulation of the policies which led to war. He was never present, for example, at any of the important conferences when Hitler explained his decisions to his leaders. Although he was a Gauleiter there is no evidence to prove that he had knowledge of those policies. In the opinion of the Tribunal, the evidence fails to establish his connection with the conspiracy or common plan to wage aggressive war as that conspiracy has been elsewhere defined in this Judgment.
It is clear that Schacht was a central figure in Germany's rearmament programme, and the steps which he took, particularly in the early days of the Nazi regime, were responsible for Nazi Germany's rapid rise as a military power, But rearmament of itself is not criminal under the Charter. To be a crime against peace under Article 6 of the Charter it must be shown that Schacht carried out this rearmament as part of the Nazi plans to wage aggressive wars.....On this all important question evidence has been given for the prosecution, and a considerable volume of evidence for the defense. The Tribunal has considered the whole of this evidence with great care, and comes to the conclusion that this necessary inference has not been established beyond a reasonable doubt.
In the view of the Tribunal, the evidence shows that Doenitz was active in waging aggressive war.
It is also asserted that the German U-boat arm not only did not carry out the warning and rescue provisions of the Protocol but that Doenitz deliberately ordered the killing of survivors of shipwrecked vessels, whether enemy or neutral. The prosecution has introduced much evidence surrounding two orders of Doenitz, War Order No. 154, issued in 1939, and the so-called " Laconia " Order of 1942. The defense argues that these orders and the evidence supporting them do not show such a policy and introduced much evidence to the contrary. The Tribunal is of the opinion that the evidence does not establish with the certainty required that Doenitz deliberately ordered the killing of shipwrecked survivors.
Despite the warlike nature of the activities of the Hitler Jugend, however, it does not appear that von Schirach was involved in the development of Hitler's plan for territorial expansion by means of aggressive war, or that he participated in the planning or preparation of any of the wars of aggression.
The evidence has not satisfied the Tribunal that Sauckel was sufficiently connected with the common plan to wage aggressive war or sufficiently involved in the planning or waging of the aggressive wars to allow the Tribunal to convict him on Counts One and Two.
The evidence shows that Sauckel was in charge of a programme which involved deportation for slave labour of more than 5,000,000 human beings, many of them under terrible conditions of cruelty and suffering.
The evidence leaves no doubt that von Papen's primary purpose as Minister to Austria was to undermine the Schuschnigg regime and strengthen the Austrian Nazis for the purpose of bringing about Anschluss. To carry through this plan he engaged in both intrigue and bullying. But the Charter does not make criminal such offences against political morality, however bad these may be. Under the Charter von Papen can be held guilty only if he was a party to the planning of aggressive war. There is no showing that he was a party to the plans under which the occupation of Austria was a step in the direction of further aggressive action, or even that he participated in plans to occupy Austria by aggressive war if necessary. But it is not established beyond a reasonable doubt that this was the purpose of his activity, and therefore the Tribunal cannot hold that he was a party to the common plan charged in Count One or participated in the planning of the aggressive wars charged under Count Two.
It appears that Fritzsche sometimes made strong statements of a propagandistic nature in his broadcasts. But the Tribunal is not prepared to hold that they were intended to incite the German people to commit atrocities on conquered peoples, and he cannot be held to have been a participant in the crimes charged. His aim was rather to arouse popular sentiment in support of Hitler and the German war effort.
The evidence does not show that Bormann knew of Hitler's plans to prepare, initiate or wage aggressive wars. He attended none of the important conferences when Hitler revealed piece by piece these plans for aggression. Nor can knowledge be conclusively inferred from the positions he held. It was only when he became Head of the Party Chancellery in 1941, and later in 1943 secretary to the Fuehrer when he attended many of Hitler's conferences, that his positions gave him the necessary access. Under the view stated elsewhere which the Tribunal has taken of the conspiracy to wage aggressive war, there is not sufficient evidence to bring Bormann within the scope of Count One.
It is legitimate to debate the correctness of some of the individual verdicts, to question the moral legitimacy of the Soviet judges on the bench and to harshly criticize sorry episodes like the Soviet’s attempt, fortunately foiled by their colleagues on the bench, to blame their government's own massacre at Katyn on the defendants in order to rid the Soviet Union of that politically inconvenient burden. To claim that the whole process was a charade and a fraud, however, is a wholly unsustainable proposition.
Einsamer_Wolf wrote: 2) It prosecutes persons for thigns that were not a crime when they were committed. I can let this go pertaining to crimes against humanity with theories of natural law.
Roberto wrote:You don't have to go as far as natural law, for murder was outlawed in every civilized country at the time, and mass murder was what the charges "War Crimes" and "Crimes Against Humanity" basically amounted to.
Einsamer_Wolf wrote:But that charge of planning aggresive war, for example, is preposterous.
Roberto wrote:That may have been so until the signature of the Kellogg-Briand Pact (which was in 1928, if I remember correctly) and before war was officially pronounced to be an international crime by national and international entities in Geneva in the sequence of this pact. After that, the legitimacy of waging aggressive war was no longer arguable.
Einsamer_Wolf wrote:Well we studied Nurmeberg trials at length at my law school. Never learned about the Kellogg--Briand Pact.
Well, that’s very unfortunate and makes the completeness of your law school’s program in this respect seem questionable. They should have shown you and discussed with you the Kellogg-Briand Pact, one of the documents on which the Nuremberg charge of "war of aggression" resided and which is transcribed under http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/kbpact/kbpact.htm
as well as Justice Jackson’s assessment of the legal precedent for condemning war of aggression as a criminal offense in his letter to the US President of 7 June 1945, which reads as follows:
[…]Doubtless what appeals to men of good will and common sense as the crime which comprehends all lesser crimes, is the crime of making unjustifiable war. War necessarily is a calculated series of killings, of destructions of property, of oppressions. Such acts unquestionably would be criminal except that International Law throws a mantle of protection around acts which otherwise would be crimes, when committed in pursuit of legitimate warfare. In this they are distinguished from the same acts in the pursuit of piracy or brigandage which have been considered punishable wherever and by whomever the guilty are caught. But International Law as taught in the Nineteenth and the early part of the Twentieth Century generally declared that war-making was not illegal and is no crime at law. Summarized by a standard authority, its attitude was that "both parties to every war are regarded as being in an identical legal position, and consequently as being possessed of equal rights."
This, however, was a departure from the doctrine taught by Grotius, the father of International Law, that there is a distinction between the just and the unjust war, the war of defense and the war of aggression.
International Law is more than a scholarly collection of abstract and immutable principles. It is an outgrowth of treaties or agreements between nations and of accepted customs. But every custom has its origin in some single act, and every agreement has to be initiated by the action of some state. Unless we are prepared to abandon every principle of growth for International Law, we cannot deny that our own day has its right to institute customs and to conclude agreements that will themselves become sources of a newer and strengthened International Law. International Law is not capable of development by legislation, for there is no continuously sitting international legislature. Innovations and revisions in International Law are brought about by the action of governments designed to meet a change in circumstances. It grows, as did the Common-law, through decisions reached from time to time in adapting settled principles to meet situations. Hence I am not disturbed by the lack of precedent for the inquiry we propose to conduct. After the shock to civilization of the last World War, however, a marked reversion to the earlier and sounder doctrines of International Law took place. By the time the Nazis came to power it was thoroughly established that launching an aggressive war or the institution of war by treachery was illegal and that the defense of legitimate warfare was no longer available to those who engaged in such an enterprise. It is high time that we act on the juridical principle that aggressive war-making is illegal and criminal.
The re-establishment of the principle of unjustifiable war is traceable in many steps. One of the most significant is the Briand-Kellogg Pact of 1928, by which Germany, Italy and Japan, in common with ourselves and practically all the nations of the world, renounced war as an instrument of national policy, bound themselves to seek the settlement of disputes only by pacific means, and condemned recourse to war for the solution of international controversies. Unless this Pact altered the legal status of wars of aggression, it has no meaning at all and comes close to being an act of deception. In 1932, Mr. Stimson, as Secretary of State, gave voice to the American concept of its effect. He said, "War between nations was renounced by the signatories of the Briand-Kellogg Treaty. This means that it has become illegal throughout practically the entire world. It is no longer to be the source and subject of rights. It is no longer to be the principle around which the duties, the conduct, and the rights of nations revolve. It is an illegal thing.... By that very act, we have made obsolete many legal precedents and have given the legal profession the task of reexamining many of its codes and treatises."
This Pact constitutes only one in a series of acts which have reversed the viewpoint that all war is legal and have brought International Law into harmony with the common sense of mankind, that unjustifiable war is a crime. Without attempting an exhaustive catalogue, we may mention the Geneva Protocol of 1924 for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, signed by the representatives of forty-eight governments, which declared that "a war of aggression constitutes . . . an international crime." The Eighth Assembly of the League of Nations in 1927, on unanimous resolution of the representatives of forty-eight member nations, including Germany, declared that a war of aggression constitutes an international crime. At the Sixth Pan-American Conference of 1928, the twenty-one American Republics unanimously adopted a resolution stating that "war of aggression constitutes an international crime against the human species."[…]
Source of quote: http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/imt/jack01.htm
The Nuremberg trials were not discussed in my law school at all, by the way. All I know about them is based on my own research in the course of discussions on this forum, and on that of fellow posters.
Einsamer_Wolf wrote: Even if waht you say is correct,
If you still have any doubts about this after reading the above quotes, please let me know.
Einsamer_Wolf wrote: I still do not want officers put in jail for doing their duty.
Depends on what that duty is. If it’s criminal violations of national or international law and they know it or have every reason to know, I wouldn’t let them hide behind the "doing their duty" excuse.
Einsamer_Wolf wrote: It puts them ina Catch 22 sitution: betray your country or, shoudl they lose, face war crimes trials.
Nor, as I explained, would I consider a failure to obey a criminal regime’s criminal orders betrayal of one’s country.
Einsamer_Wolf wrote: Under that standard--a standard that was not even known till Germany had been defeated--the only way a general could avoid a charge is to commit treason against his country.
Or refuse to follow criminal orders, whatever the consequences (which would not necessarily have been unbearable). Hitler and his minions knew very well what they were doing, and that they were breaking international law. For instance, one of the Fuehrer’s statements when briefing his generals on 22 August 1939, a week before the attack on Poland, was the following, recorded in Halder’s diary (my translation):
Unleashing: means make no difference. The victor is never asked if his reasons were justified. This is not about having right on our side, but exclusively about victory.
Unleashing: means make no difference. The victor is never asked if his reasons were justified. This is not about having right on our side, but exclusively about victory.
The generals were listening and nodding to this statement. How could they later in good faith claim they had not been aware of being in violation of international law?
Halder’s notes from which I translated this passage are transcribed under the linkhttp://www.ns-archiv.de/krieg/22-08-1939-halder.shtml
Einsamer_Wolf wrote: It is easy to stand here and now some sixty years after the fact and say they did not fear reprisal.
It’s easy indeed, given that no evidence to their having had to fear any reprisals has surfaced in all those sixty years.
Einsamer_Wolf wrote: But there is another matter. Often times to escape indictment one would have had to openyl defy orders in a way that would greatly hinder the war effort. Speer, for example: the only way he could produce munitions was through slave labor. There was no Rosie the Riveter. To delay things by protesting to an unsymapthetic Fuehrer would not only have been in vain, it would have jeoparidized the curucial porduction of vital war supplies. In other words, you are sasking him to betray his country, to betray the men on the frontline who depend on those munitions and other vital war supplies and materials.
No, I’m just asking him to say "no, I won’t do it if it calls for abuse of slave labor, let someone else do it". The argument about the men on the frontline who depended on munitions does not convince. After all, it was the Nazi regime’s own unprovoked aggressions which placed them and their armed forces in a situation where only brutally exploited forced labor could give them the tools they needed.
Einsamer_Wolf wrote:Again--I cannot in conscience demand sucha high standard that interferers with one's right and duty to serve their country.
Serving one’s country and serving a criminal regime may be the same for you, but they are not the same for me. Of course criminal prosecution would require awareness of the criminal nature of that regime and its ambitions, which lower-ranking German armament officials didn’t necessarily have. They may have believed the propaganda stance that there was no choice in a situation Germany’s enemies had brought upon the country. But someone of Speer’s standing could not claim ignorance of the true nature and precedents of the circumstances which required him to exploit forced labor for the armament industry.
Einsamer_Wolf wrote:As to the rest, i will merely say you are the first to assert Doenitz was not convicted for unrestricted submarine warfare.
I don’t think so. I’d say the first was M. de Vabres when he wrote down the judgement against Doenitz transcribed under http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/imt/proc/juddoeni.htm
Einsamer_Wolf wrote:As to Manstein--well I agree he was more of a mixed bag than I thought. Even so, how can the Allies talk about the treatment of Soviet PoWS when they themsleves treated German POWS almost as bad, or worse in the case of the Soviets.
You don’t seem to be too well-informed about what the treatment of Soviet prisoners of war, of whom hundreds of thousands were executed and millions deliberately allowed to starve, especially in the initial period of the war, was all about and how it differed even from the treatment that the Soviets meted out to their prisoners of war in that there was no systematic governmental murder plan behind the latter. A reading of the following threads should help you update your knowledge:
Timeline of Soviet POW Mortality (for Viriato) http://www.thirdreichforum.com/viewtopi ... e2970279ec
Annihilation of Soviet Prisoners of War in Belorussiahttp://www.thirdreichforum.com/viewtopi ... e2970279ec
"Stalin's War of Extermination", by Joachim Hoffma http://www.thirdreichforum.com/viewtopi ... e2970279ec
Of 120,000 soldiers from 6th army captured, only 5000 returnhttp://www.thirdreichforum.com/viewtopi ... e2970279ec
American & French (post) War Crimeshttp://www.thirdreichforum.com/viewtopi ... e2970279ec
Einsamer_Wolf wrote:Again--Nuremberg is Siegerjustiz—
Whatever that means. Certainly not an improper or insufficient legal procedure let alone a "kangaroo court", as explained.
Einsamer_Wolf wrote:nothing more. In this way I maintain, despite some of your interesting points, that it is a sham,
However strong criticism many aspects of the Nuremberg trials may have warranted, calling them a "sham" is emotional hyperbole at best and propagandistic distortion at worst, as explained.
Einsamer_Wolf wrote: and should certainly be looked upon with some skepticism.
Skepticism in regard to what aspects thereof? If it’s the promoters’ moral legitimacy and the fact that, unfortunately, the step in the right direction these trials constituted was not followed up until recently (regarding was crimes in Bosnia, Rwanda etc.), you have my sympathy. If it’s the findings of fact, they have been subject to the scrutiny of historical research and further criminal investigation throughout the last decades, which have in most cases confirmed them and in some even shown a picture of events more somber than that which emerged from the Nuremberg trials.