Sunday, November 29

75 years of Nuremberg: “The best way to set limits to force is with the force of law”

Friday, 20 November 2020 – 20:56

“Without Nuremberg it would not have been possible to prosecute Serbian, Croatian or genocidal Rwandan criminals for their crimes. There is no hope that IS terrorists will one day pay for their murders,” the German president emphasizes.

The German President

El presidente alemn Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

  • Grandstand.

    75th anniversary of the Nuremberg trials

Four judges, one for each allied power, and one US chief prosecutor. That was the composition of the court that 75 years ago, processed in the city of Nuremberg the Nazi hierarchs who, like Adolf Hitler or Joseph Goebbels, did not commit suicide in the last days of the war to avoid the dishonor of the capitulation, be shot or hanged by enemies. But it was not revenge that France, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and the United States had in store for Nazi criminals, but justice, with light and stenographers.

“Without Nuremberg it would not have been possible to prosecute Serbian, Croatian, or Rwandan genocidal criminals for their crimes. There is no hope that the terrorists of the Islamic State will one day pay for their murders, torture and rapes,” said German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in a sober commemoration ceremony held in the same room where the hearings took place, number 600 of the labyrinthine Palace of Justice. There was no public due to the coronavirus, but the atmosphere was charged.

“Russia and the United States, two of the powers that made the Nuremberg process possible and opened the doors to universal jurisprudence, are not part of the International Criminal Court, and neither are India or China,” Steinmeier said. In his brief but dense speech, the president warned against the perversion of the law and its use against political enemies, one of the traits of the autocrat. “The best way to set limits on force is with the force of law”stressed Steimeier, who as head of the German state and as a citizen, undertook to propagate and defend the universal jurisprudence for crimes against humanity.

Then came the video messages from London, Paris, Moscow and Washington, in this case from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He did not mention at any time the International Criminal Court, agreed in 2002. He recalled the “heroic victory against Nazism” and denounced the crimes against humanity that are still being committed in the world and that the United States has committed to prosecute and punish. He cited as the only example the performance of the Chinese Communist Party in Shang Yang.

The idea of ​​putting those responsible for the crimes of World War II and their collaborators in the dock came, surprisingly, from Iosif Stalin, under whose regime up to 67 million people died in purges, seclusion, starvation and without trial, according to the Nobel Prize for Literature, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The Soviet leader had to exert himself to make Winston Churchill, for example, reject the idea of ​​crowning victory over the Third Reich by arresting as many Nazis as possible, putting them on trial to the highest degree, and shooting them all within six hours.

“The victory in the war should be accompanied by a political, legal and moral condemnation of Nazism and its deadly ideology. The USSR asked for it because it is just” the aspiration of the countries, the scene of war crimes, that the guilty were “publicly punished. “And because the Soviet people suffered the most during the Hitler aggression.

The origin of universal justice

The legal framework for the celebration of the mammoth Nuremberg trial was fixed in a treaty signed in London by the Allied Powers, a document that served as a precedent to the subsequent statute of the International Court of The Hague, laid the foundations of modern international law and allowed the development of concepts such as genocide or crimes against humanity. They are crimes that do not prescribe.

The Nuremberg Trials began on November 20, 1945 and ended on April 14, 1949. Twenty-four high-ranking barbarians were named still alive, including Marshal Hermann Gring and Joachim von Ribbentrop and Rudolf Hess, but ultimately , could only be processed 21. Nazi gyrfalcon Robert Ley committed suicide before it started; Martin Bormann, whose whereabouts is unknown, was tried and sentenced to death in absentia, and industrialist Gustav Krupp could not be tried for health reasons.

Throughout the 218 sessions held by the court, 236 witnesses testified, 200,000 affidavits and 5,230 documents were examined, including film material. The originals are in the custody of the Court in The Hague, but the Holocaust Museum in Washington made digitized copies available on a website Friday.

Twelve of the 21 defendants were sentenced to death, seven to prison terms, and three were acquitted. Gring, one of those sentenced to death, committed suicide in prison before being hanged. His body was cremated and the ashes thrown into the Isar River, where the bodies of those who were executed also went, including Ribbentrop.

Those sentenced to jail began to serve their sentences in Nuremberg, but in 1947 they were transferred to the Spandau prison near Berlin. His last intern was Hess. After taking his own life, in 1987, the prison was left empty and later demolished.

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