NMT Indictment in the "Justice Case"

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NMT Indictment in the "Justice Case"

Post by David Thompson » 04 Nov 2004 08:20

Indictment, in Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10. Vol. 3: United States of America v. Josef Altstoettler, et al. (Case 3: 'Justice Case'). US Government Printing Office, District of Columbia: 1950. pp. 15-26.

Indictment

The United States of America, by the undersigned Telford Taylor, Chief of Counsel for War Crimes, duly appointed to repent said Government in the prosecution of war criminals, urges that the defendants herein participated in a common design or conspiracy to commit and did commit war crimes and crimes against humanity, as defined in Control Council Law No., duly enacted by the Allied Control Council on 20 December 1945. These crimes included murders, brutalities, cruelties, tortures, atrocities, plunder of private property, and other inhumane acts, as set forth in counts one, two, and three of this indictment. Certain defendants are further charged with membership in criminal organizations, as set forth in count four of this indictment.

The persons accused as guilty of these crimes and accordingly named as defendants in this case are:

Josef Altstoetter Chief (Ministerialdirektor) of the Civil and Procedure Division (Abteilung VI) of the Reich Ministry of Justice; and Oberfuehrer in the SS.

Wilhelm von Ammon Ministerial Counsellor (Ministerialrat) of the Criminal Legislation and Administration Division (Abteilung IV) of the Reich Ministry of Justice and coordinator of proceedings against foreigners for offenses against Reich occupational forces abroad.

Paul Barnickel Senior Public Prosecutor (Reichsanwalt) of the People's Court (Volksgerichtshof); Sturmfuehrer in the SA.

Hermann Cuhorst Chief Justice (Senatspraesident) of the Special Court (Sondergericht) in Stuttgart; Chief Justice of the First Criminal Senate of the District Court (Landgericht) in Stuttgart; member of the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party at Gau executive level; sponsoring member (Foerderndes Mitglied) of the SS.

Karl Engert Chief (Ministerialdirektor) of the Penal Administration Division (Abteilung V) and of the secret Prison Inmate Transfer Division (Abteilung XV) of the Reich Ministry of Justice; Oberfuehrer in the SS; Vice President of the People's (Volksgerichtshof); Ortsgruppenleiter in the NSDAP Leadership Corps.

Guenther Joel Legal Adviser (Referent) to the Reich Minister of Justice concerning criminal prosecutions; Chief Public Prosecutor (Generalstaatsanwalt) of Westphalia at Hamm; Obersturmbannfuehrer in-the SS; Untersturmbannfeuhrer [sic] in the SD.

Herbert Klemm State Secretary (Staatssekretaer) [A "Staatssekretaer" is approximately the equivalent of an under secretary in one of the executive departments of the United States Government. During the trial "Staatssekretaer" was translated synonomously as State Secretary or Under Secretary.] of the Reich Ministry of Justice; Director (Ministerialdirektor) of the Legal Education and Training Division (Abteilung II) in the Ministry of Justice; Deputy Director of the National Socialist Lawyers League (NS Rechtswahrerbund); Obergruppenfuehrer in the SA.

Ernst Lautz - Chief Public Prosecutor (Oberreichsanwalt) of the People's Court.

Wolfgang Mettgenberg - Representative of the Chief (Ministerialdirigent) of the Criminal Legislation and Administration Division (Abteilung IV) of the Reich Ministry of Justice, particularly supervising criminal offenses against German occupational forces in occupied territories.

Guenther Nebelung - Chief Justice of the Fourth Senate of the People's Court; Sturmfuehrer in the SA; Ortsgruppenleiter in the NSDAP Leadership Corps.

Rudolf Oeschey - Judge (Landgerichtsrat) of the Special Court in Nuernberg and successor to the defendant Rothaug as Chief Justice (Landgerichtsdirektor) of the same court; member of the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party at Gau executive level (Gauhauptstellenleiter); an executive (Kommissarischer Leiter) of the National Socialist Lawyers League.

Hans Petersen - Lay Judge of the First Senate of the People's Court; Lay Judge of the Special Senate (Besonderer Senat) of the People's Court; Obergruppenfuehrer in the SA.

Oswald Rothaug - Senior Public Prosecutor (Reichsanwalt) of the People's Court; formerly Chief Justice of the Special Court in Nuernberg; member of the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Part at Gau executive level.

Curt Rothenberger - State Secretary (Staatssekretaer) of the Reich Ministry of Justice; deputy president of the Academy of German Law (Akademie fuer deutsches Recht; Gaufuehrer of the National Socialist Lawyers League.

Franz Schlegelberger - State Secretary; Acting Reich Minister of Justice.

Carl Westphal - Ministerial Counsellor (Ministerialrat) of the Criminal Legislation and Administration Division (Abteilung IV) of the Reich Ministry of Justice, and officially responsible for questions of criminal procedure and penal execution within the Reich; Ministry coordinator for nullity pleas against adjudicated sentences.

The Common Design and Conspiracy

1. Between January 1933 and April 1945 all of the defendants herein acting pursuant to a common design, unlawfully, willfully, and knowingly did conspire and agree together and with each other and with diverse other persons, to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity, as defined in Control Council Law No. 10, Article II.

2. Throughout the period covered by this indictment all of the defendants herein, acting in concert with each other and with other, unlawfully, willfully, and knowingly were principals in, accessories to, ordered, abetted, took a consenting part in, and were connected with plans and enterprises involving, the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

3. All of the defendants herein, acting in concert with each other and with others, unlawfully, willfully, and knowingly participated as leaders, organizers, instigators, and accomplices in the formulation and execution of the said common design, conspiracy, plans, and enterprises to commit, and which involved the commission of, war crimes and crimes against humanity, and accordingly are individually responsible for their own acts and for all acts performed by any person or persons in execution of the said common design, conspiracy, plans, and enterprises.

4. The said common design, conspiracy, plans, and enterprises embraced the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity as set forth in counts two and three of this indictment, in that the defendants unlawfully, willfully, and knowingly encouraged aided, abetted, and participated in the commission of atrocities and offenses against persons and property, including plunder of private property, murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation unlawful imprisonment, torture, persecutions on political, racial, and religious grounds, and ill-treatment of, and other inhumane acts against, thousands of persons, including German civilians nationals of other countries, and prisoners of war.

5- It was a part of the said common design, conspiracy, plans, and enterprises to enact, issue, enforce, and give effect to certain purported statutes, decrees, and orders, which were criminal both in inception and execution, and to work with the Gestapo, SS, SD, SIPO, and RSHA for criminal purposes, in the course of which the defendants, by distortion and denial of judicial and penal process, committed the murders, brutalities, cruelties, tortures, atrocities, and other inhumane acts, more fully described in counts two and three of this indictment.

6. The said common design, conspiracy, plans, and enterprises embraced the assumption by the Reich Ministry of Justice of total control of the administration of justice, including preparation of legislation concerning all branches of law, and control of the courts and prisons. The supreme administration of justice in all German states was transferred to the Reich Ministry of Justice in 1934. Thereupon, certain extraordinary courts of a predominantly political nature, with wide and arbitrary criminal jurisdiction, were superimposed upon the existing ordinary court system. The People's Court (Volksgerichtshof) became the court of original and final jurisdiction in cases of "high treason" and "treason." This court itself had jurisdiction over the investigation and prosecution of all cases before it, and there was no appeal from its decision. The court's territorial jurisdiction was extended not only to all annexed countries of the Reich but also to the "Protectorate" (Bohemia and Moravia) in 1939. Beginning in 1933, Special Courts (Sondergerichte) also were superimposed upon the ordinary court system under the Reich Ministry of Justice. These Special Courts were of a character which had been outlawed until the NSDAP seizure of power. Jurisdiction of these Special Courts extended to all "political" cases, as well as to all acts deemed inimical to either the Party, the government, or continued prosecution of the war. At least one Special Court was attached to every court of appeal (Oberlandesgericht); public prosecutors could arbitrarily refer thereto any case from the local courts (Amtsgerichte) or from the criminal division of the district courts (Landgerichte). Despite guaranties in the Weimar Constitution and the German Judicature Act, that no one may be deprived of his competent judge, and prohibitions against irregular tribunals, these courts were imposed upon Germany, as well as upon the "Protectorate" and the occupied countries.

7. The said common design, conspiracy, plans, and enterprises embraced the use of the judicial process as a powerful weapon for the persecution and extermination of all opponents of the Nazi regime regardless of nationality and for the persecution and extermination of "races." The special political tribunals mentioned above visited cruel punishment and death upon political opponents and members of certain "racial" and national groups. The People's Court was presided over by a minority of trusted Nazi lawyers, and a majority of equally trusted laymen appointed by Hitler from the Elite Guard and Party hierarchy. The People's Court in collaboration with the Gestapo became a terror court, notorious for severity of punishment, secrecy of proceedings, and denial to accused of all semblance of judicial process. Punishment was meted out by Special Courts to victims under a law which condemned all who offended the "healthy sentiment of the people." Independence of the judiciary was destroyed. Judges were removed from the bench for political and "racial" reasons. Periodic "letters" were sent by the Ministry of Justice to all Reich judges and public prosecutors, instructing them as to the results they must accomplish. Both the bench and bar were continually spied upon by the Gestapo and SD, and were directed to keep disposition of their cases politically acceptable. Judges, prosecutors and, in many cases, defense counsel were reduced in effect to an administrative arm of the Nazi Party.

Count Two: War Crimes

Between September 1939 and April 1945 all of the defendants herein unlawfully, willfully, and knowingly committed war crimes, as defined by Control Council Law No. 10, in that they were principals in, accessories to, ordered, abetted, took a consenting part in, and were connected with plans and enterprises involving the commission of atrocities and offenses against persons and property, including, but not limited to, plunder of private property, murder, torture, and illegal imprisonment of, and brutalities, atrocities, and other inhumane acts against thousands of persons. These crimes included, but were not limited to, the facts set out in paragraphs 9 to 19, inclusive, of this indictment, and were committed against civilians of occupied territories and members of the armed forces of nations then at war with the German Reich and who were in the custody of the German Reich in the exercise of belligerent control.

9. Extraordinary irregular courts, superimposed upon the regular court system, were used by all of the defendants for the purpose of and in fact creating a reign of terror to suppress political opposition to the Nazi regime. This was accomplished principally through the People's Court (Volksgerichtshof) and various Special Courts (Sondergerichte), which subjected civilians of the occupied countries to criminal abuse of judicial and penal process including repeated trials on the same charges, criminal abuse of discretion, unwarranted imposition of the death penalty, prearrangement of sentences between judges and prosecutors discriminatory trial processes, and other criminal practices, all of which resulted in murders, cruelties, tortures, atrocities, plunder of private property, and other inhumane acts.

10. Special Courts subjected Jews of all nationalities, Poles, Ukrainians, Russians, and other nationals of the Occupied Eastern Territories, indiscriminately classed as "gypsies", to discriminatory and special penal laws and trials, and denied them all semblance of judicial process. These persons who had been arbitrarily designated "asocial" by conspiracy and agreement between the Ministry of Justice and the SS were turned over by the Ministry of Justice, both during and after service of prison sentences, to the SS to be worked to death. Many such persons were given a summary travesty of trial before extraordinary courts, and after serving the sentences imposed upon them, were turned over to the Gestapo for "protective custody" in concentration camps. Jews discharged from prison were turned over to the Gestapo for final detention in Auschwitz, Lublin, and other concentration camps. The above-described proceedings resulted in the murder, torture and ill-treatment of thousands of such persons. The defendant von Ammon, Engert, Klemm, Schlegelberger, Mettgenberg, Rothenberger, and Westphal are charged with special responsibility for and participation in these crimes.

11. The German criminal laws, through a series of expansion and perversions by the Ministry of Justice, finally embraced passive defeatism, petty misdemeanors and trivial private utterance as treasonable for the purpose of exterminating Jews or other nationals of the occupied countries. Indictments, trials and convictions were transparent devices for a system of murderous extermination, and death became the routine penalty. Jurisdiction of the German criminal code was extended to the entire world, to cover acts of non-Germans as well as Germans living outside the Reich. Non-German nationals were convicted of and executed for "high treason" allegedly committed against the Reich. The above-described proceedings resulted in the murder, torture, unlawful imprisonment, and ill-treatment of thousands of persons. The defendants Barnickel, Cuhorst, Klemm, Lautz, Mettgenberg, Nebelung, Oeschey, Petersen, Rothaug, Rothenberger, Schlegelberger, and Westphal are charged with special responsibility for and participation in these crimes.

12. The Justice Ministry aided and implemented the unlawful annexation and occupation of Czechoslovakia, Poland, and France. Special Courts were created to facilitate the extermination of Poles and Jews and the suppression of political opposition generally by the employment of summary procedures and the enforcement of Draconic penal laws. Sentences were limited to death or transfer to the SS for extermination. The People's Court and Special Courts were projected into these countries, irregular prejudicial regulations and procedures were invoked without notice (even in violation of the Reich Criminal Code as unlawfully extended to other occupied territories), sentences were prearranged, and trial and execution followed service of the indictment in a few hours. The above-described proceedings resulted in the murder, ill-treatment, and unlawful imprisonment of thousands of persons. The defendants Klemm, Lautz, Mettgenberg, Shlegelberger, and Westphal are charged with special responsibility for and participation in these crimes.

13. The Ministry of Justice participated with the OKW and the Gestapo in the execution of Hitler's decree of "Night and Fog" (Nacht and Nebel) whereby civilians of occupied territories who been accused of crimes of resistance against occupying forces were spirited away for secret trial by certain Special Courts of the Justice Ministry within the Reich, in the course of which the victims' whereabouts, trial, and subsequent disposition were kept completely secret, thus serving the dual purpose of terrorizing the victims' relatives and associates and barring recourse to any evidence, witnesses, or counsel for defense. The accused was not informed of the disposition of his case, and in almost every instance those who were acquitted or who had served their sentences were handed over by the Justice Ministry to the Gestapo for "protective custody" for the duration of the war. In the course of the above-described proceedings, thousands of persons were murdered, tortured, ill-treated, and illegally imprisoned. The defendant Altstoetter, von Ammon, Engert, Joel, Klemm, Mettgenberg, and Schlegelberger are charged with special responsibility for and participation in these crimes.

14. Hundreds of non-German nationals imprisoned in penal institutions operated by the Reich Ministry of Justice were unlawfully executed and murdered. Death sentences were executed in absence of the necessary official orders, and while clemency pleas were pending. Many who were not sentenced to death were executed. In the face of Allied military advances so-called "inferior" or "asocial" prison inmates were, by Ministry order, executed regardless of sentences under which they served. In many instances these penal institutions were operated in a manner indistinguishable from concentration camps. The defendants Engert, Joel, Klemm, Lautz, Mettgenberg, Rothenberger, and Westphal are charged with special responsibility for and participation in these crimes.

15. The Ministry of Justice participated in the Nazi program of racial purity pursuant to which sterilization and castration laws were perverted for the extermination of Jews, "asocials", and certain nationals of the occupied territories. In the course of the program thousands of Jews were sterilized. Insane, aged and sick nationals of occupied territories, the so-called "useless eaters," were systematically murdered. In the course of the above-described proceedings thousands of persons were murdered and ill-treated. The defendants Lautz, Schlegelberger, and Westphal are charged with special responsibility for and participation in these crimes.

16. The Ministry of Justice granted immunity to and amnesty following prosecutions and convictions of Nazi Party members for major crimes committed against civilians of occupied territories. Pardons were granted to members of the Party who had been sentenced for proved offenses. On the other hand, discriminatory measures against Jews, Poles, "gypsies," and other designated "asocials" resulted in harsh penal measures and death sentences, deprivation of rights to file private suits and rights of appeal, denial of right to receive amnesty and to file clemency pleas, denial of right of counsel, imposition of special criminal laws permitting the death penalty for all crimes and misdemeanors, and finally, in the transfer to the Gestapo for "special treatment" of all cases in which Jews were involved. The defendants von Ammon, Joel, Klemm, Rothenberger, and Schlegelberger are charged with special responsibility for and participation in these crimes.

17. By decrees signed by the Reich Minister of Justice and others, the citizenship of all Jews in Bohemia and Moravia was forfeited upon their change of residence by deportation or otherwise; and upon their loss of citizenship their properties were automatically confiscated by the Reich. There were discriminatory changes in the family and inheritance laws by which Jewish property was forfeited at death to the Reich with no compensation to the Jewish heirs. The defendants Altstoetter and Schlegelberger are charged with special responsibility for and participation in these crimes.

18. The Ministry of Justice through suspension and quashing of criminal process, participated in Hitler's program of inciting the German civilian population to murder Allied airmen forced down within the Reich. The defendants Klemm and Lautz are charged with special responsibility for and participation in these crimes.

19. The said war crimes constitute violations of international conventions, particularly of Articles 7, 23, 43, 45, 46, and 50 of the Hague Regulations, 1907, and of articles 2, 3, and 4 of the Prisoner of War Convention (Geneva, 1929), the laws and customs of war, the general principles of criminal law as derived from the criminal laws of all civilized nations, the internal penal laws of the countries in which such crimes were committed, and Article II of Control Council Law No. 10.

Count Three: Crimes Against Humanity

20. Between September 1939 and April 1945 all of the defendants herein unlawfully, willfully, and knowingly committed crimes against humanity as defined by Control Council Law No. 10, in that they were principals in, accessories to, ordered, abetted, took a consenting part in, and were connected with plans and enterprises involving the commission of atrocities and offenses, including but not limited to murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, illegal imprisonment, torture, persecution on political, racial and religious grounds, and ill-treatment of and other inhumane acts against German civilians and nationals of occupied countries.

21. Extraordinary irregular courts were used by all of the defendants in creating a reign of terror to suppress political opposition to the German Reich, in the course of which German civilians and nationals of occupied countries were subjected to criminal abuses of judicial and penal process, resulting in murder, brutalities, cruelties, tortures, atrocities, plunder of private property and other inhumane acts. These crimes are further particularized in paragraph 9 of this indictment, which is incorporated herein by reference.

22. Special Courts subjected certain German civilians, and nationals of occupied countries to discriminatory and special penal laws and trials, and denied them all semblance of judicial process. Convicted German civilians and nationals of other countries who were deemed to be political prisoners and criminals designated as "asocial," were turned over to the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA) for extermination in concentration camps. These crimes are further particularized in paragraph 10 of this indictment, which is incorporated herein by reference. The defendants von Ammon, Engert, Joel, Klemm, Lautz, Mettgenberg, and Rothenberger are charged with special responsibility for and participation in these crimes

23. The German criminal laws, through a series of additions, expansions and perversions by the defendants became a powerful 'weapon for the subjugation of the German people and for the extermination of certain nationals of the occupied countries. This program resulted in the murder, torture, illegal imprisonment, and ill-treatment of thousands of Germans and nationals of occupied countries. These crimes are further particularized in paragraph 11 of this indictment, which is incorporated herein by reference. The defendants Barnickel, Cuhorst, Klemm, Lautz, Mettgenberg, Nebelung, Oeschey, Petersen, Rothaug, Rothenberger, Schlegelberger, and Westphal are charged with Special responsibility for and participation in these crimes.

24. The Ministry of Justice, through the People's Court and certain Special Courts, aided and implemented the unlawful annexation and occupation of Czechoslovakia, Poland, and France These crimes are further particularized in paragraph 12 of this indictment, which is incorporated herein by reference. The defendants Klemm, Lautz, Mettgenberg, Schlegelberger, and Westphal are charged with special responsibility for and participation in these crimes.

25. The Ministry of Justice participated in the decree of "Night and Fog" whereby certain persons who committed offenses against the Reich or the German forces in occupied territories were taken secretly by the Gestapo to Germany and handed over to the Special Courts for trial and punishment. This program resulted in the murder, torture, illegal imprisonment, and ill-treatment of thousands of persons. These crimes are further particularized in paragraph 13 of this indictment, which is incorporated herein by reference. The defendants Altstoetter, von Ammon, Engert, Joel, Klemm, Mettgenberg, and Schlegelberger are charged with special responsibility for and participation in these crimes.

26. In penal institutions operated by the Reich Ministry of Justice, hundreds of German civilians and nationals of other countries were subjected to murders, brutalities, cruelties, tortures, atrocities, and other inhumane acts. The particulars concerning these crimes are set forth in paragraph 14 of this indictment. The defendants Engert, Joel, Klemm, Lautz, Mettgenberg, Rothenberger, and Westphal are charged with special responsibility for and participation in these crimes.

27. Special health courts (Erbgesundheitgerichte) perverted eugenic and sterilization laws or policies regarding German civilins and nationals of other countries which resulted in the systematic murder and ill-treatment of thousands of persons. Thousands of German civilians and nationals of other countries committed to institutions for the insane, were systematically murdered. These crimes are further particularized in paragraph 15 of count two of this indictment, which is incorporated herein by reference. The defendants Lautz, Schlegelberger, and Westphal are charged with special responsibility for and participation in these crimes.

28. The Ministry of Justice granted immunity to and amnesty of prosecutions and convictions of Party members for major crimes committed against civilians of occupied territories. Pardons were granted to members of the Party who had been sentenced for proved offenses. On the other hand, discriminatory racial proceedings were imposed against so-called "asocial" German nationals and civilians of the occupied countries. These crimes are further particularized in paragraph 16 of count two of this indictment and are incorporated herein by reference. The defendants von Ammon, Joel, Klemm, Mettgenberg, Rothenberger, and Schlegelberger are charged with special responsibility for and participation in these crimes.

29. Discriminatory changes made in the German family and inheritance laws for the sole purpose of confiscating Jewish properties were enforced by the Justice Ministry. All Jewish properties were forfeited at death to the Reich. Jews and Poles, both in Germany and in the occupied countries, were deprived of their citizenship, their property was seized and confiscated, and they were deprived of means of earning a livelihood, by the State, by Party organizations, and by individual members of the Party. These crimes are further particularized in paragraph 17 of this indictment, which is incorporated herein by reference. The defendants Altstoetter and Schlegelberger are charged with special responsibility for and participation in these crimes.

30. The Ministry of Justice through suspension and quashing of criminal process, participated in Hitler's program of inciting the German civilian population to murder Allied airmen forced down within the Reich. This program resulted in the murder, torture, and ill-treatment of many persons. These crimes are further particularized in paragraph 18 of this indictment, which is incorporated herein by reference. The defendants Klemm and Lautz are charged with special responsibility for and participation in these crimes.

31. The said crimes against humanity constitute violations of international conventions, including article 46 of the Hague Regulations, 1907, the laws and customs of war, the general principles of criminal law as derived from the criminal laws of all civilized nations, the internal penal laws of the countries in which such crimes were committed, and of article II of Control Council Law No. 10.

Count Four: Membership In Criminal Organizations

32. The defendants Altstoetter, Cuhorst, Engert, and Joel are guilty of membership in an organization declared to be criminal by the International Military Tribunal in Case 1, in that each of the said defendants was a member of DIE SCHUTZSTAFFELN DER NATIONAL SOZIALISTISCHEN DEUTSCHEN ARBEITERPARTEI (commonly known as the "SS") after 1 September 1939.

33. The defendants Cuhorst, Oeschey, Nebelung, and Rothaug are guilty of membership in an organization declared to be criminal by the International Military Tribunal in Case 1, in that Cuhorst, Oeschey, and Rothaug were members of the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party at Gau level after 1 September 1939, and in that Nebelung was an Ortsgruppenleiter of the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party after 1 September 1939.

34. The defendant Joel is guilty of membership in an organization declared to be criminal by the International Military Tribunal in Case 1, in that the said defendant was a member of DEP SICHERHEITSDIENST DES REICHSFUEHRER SS (commonly known as the "SD") after 1 September 1939.

Such memberships are in violation of paragraph 1 (d), article II of Control Council Law No. 10.

Wherefore, this indictment is filed with the Secretary General of the Military Tribunals and the charges herein made against the above-named defendants are hereby presented to the Military Tribunals.

Acting on Behalf of the United States of America:
Telford Taylor,
Brigadier General,
US Army Chief of Counsel for War Crimes.
Nuernberg, 4 January 1947

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