Nuremberg Charter

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The Charter of the International Military Tribunal – Annex to the Agreement for the prosecution and punishment of the major war criminals of the European Axis (usually referred to as the Nuremberg Charter or London Charter) was the decree issued on 8 August 1945 that set down the laws and procedures by which the Nuremberg trials were to be conducted.

The charter stipulated that crimes of the European Axis Powers could be tried. Three categories of crimes were defined: crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Article 8 of the charter also stated that holding an official position was no defense to war crimes. Obedience to orders could only be considered in mitigation of punishment if the Tribunal determined that justice so required.

The criminal procedure used by the Tribunal was closer to civil law than to common law, with a trial before a panel of judges rather than a jury trial and with wide allowance for hearsay evidence. Defendants who were found guilty could appeal the verdict to the Allied Control Council. In addition, they would be permitted to present evidence in their defense and to cross-examine witnesses.

The Charter was developed under the authority of the Moscow Declaration: Statement on Atrocities, which was agreed at the Moscow Conference (1943). It was drawn up in London, following the surrender of Germany on VE Day. It was drafted by Robert H. Jackson, Robert Falco, and Iona Nikitchenko of the European Advisory Commission, and issued on August 8, 1945.1

The Charter and its definition of crimes against peace was also the basis of the Finnish law, approved by the Finnish parliament on 11 September 1945, that enabled the war-responsibility trials in Finland.

The Agreement for the prosecution and punishment of the major war criminals of the European Axis and the annexed Charter were formally signed by France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States on 8 August 1945. The Agreement and Charter were subsequently ratified by 19 other Allied states.2

See also

References

  1. ^ Charter of the International Military Tribunal - Annex to the Agreement for the prosecution and punishment of the major war criminals of the European Axis. United Nations Refugee Agency
  2. ^ Ratifications.

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