Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Nuremberg principles revisited plus the Nuremberg Trials Film


Democracy and  Class Struggle says we have traveled a long way since 1947 and most of it away from the Nuremberg principles usually under the guidance of the United States who despite its propaganda saw human rights as undermining its imperialist ambitions in the Post War World.

The United States by the beginning of the 21st Century had withdrawn from many of the United Nations human rights bodies.

Evo Morales  President of Bolivia pointed out that contradiction at the United Nations of a nation that uses human rights so much in it propaganda abandons the United Nations human rights vehicles established to carry out the Nuremberg principles.

The Nuremberg principles were a set of guidelines for determining what constitutes a war crime. 

The document was created by the International Law Commission of the United Nations to codify the legal principles underlying the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi party members following World War II. 

The principles 

Principle I  Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefor and liable to punishment. 

Principle II The fact that internal law does not impose a penalty for an act which constitutes a crime under international law does not relieve the person who committed the act from responsibility under international law. 

Principle III The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law, acted as Head of State or responsible government official, does not relieve him from responsibility under international law. 

Principle IV  Main article: Superior orders The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him. 

This principle could be paraphrased as follows: "It is not an acceptable excuse to say 'I was just following my superior's orders'". 

Previous to the time of the Nuremberg Trials, this excuse was known in common parlance as "superior orders".

After the prominent, high-profile event of the Nuremberg Trials, that excuse is now referred to by many as the "Nuremberg Defense". 

In recent times, a third term, "lawful orders" has become common parlance for some people.

All three terms are in use today, and they all have slightly different nuances of meaning, depending on the context in which they are used. 

Principle IV is legally supported by the jurisprudence found in certain articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which deal indirectly with conscientious objection.

It is also supported by the principles found in paragraph 171 of the Handbook on Procedures and Criteria for Determining Refugee Status which was issued by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 

Those principles deal with the conditions under which conscientious objectors can apply for refugee status in another country if they face persecution in their own country for refusing to participate in an illegal war. 

Principle V Any person charged with a crime under international law has the right to a fair trial on the facts and law. 

Principle VI The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law: (a) Crimes against peace:

 (i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;

 (ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i). 

(b) War crimes: Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory; murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the Seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.

 (c) Crimes against humanity: Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhumane acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime. 

Principle VII Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principle VI is a crime under international law.

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