The Nuremberg trials

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The Nuremberg trials

Il processo di Norimberga

After the fall of Nazism the Germany found itself with a big legal problem, moral and political. The Germany was ruled for twelve years from a dishonest regime and terrifying, which was denied any legitimacy. The international community did not consider it legally valid its political institutions; the crimes committed by the Nazi Government and, in particular, that of the mass extermination (genocide) were so grave and heinous that once discovered and reported they labeled the Third Reich as a conspiracy. The goals of the Nazi regime and the theoretical and ideological whole building was aberrant because based on racial superiority over other peoples.

In Nuremberg, given the gravity of the acts committed was set up a special International Court of Justice and were submitted to justice leading hierarchs of Nazism (senior officers, commanders,…). The place of the trial was chosen for specific reasons, in Nuremberg, in fact the most important party meetings were held and and had been enacted racial laws. The military tribunal, composed of the justices of the victorious powers came together to examine the roles of the leaders of the party.

Given the novelty in legal terms,with regard to the crimes the Court found herself having to judge the defendants firmly rooted in moral standards , but with much legal fragility (the question arises: How to judge people who have committed crimes that have never been tried in the past and did not fall clearly in legal codes?). The Court decided to give a penal character moral norms.

The three charges were as follows:

1. Crimes against peace (preparation and conducting of a war of aggression)

2. War crimes (violation of the laws of war)

3. Crimes against humanity ’ (genocide)

The Nuremberg trials lasted almost a year and between ’ autumn 1945 and l ’ autumn 1946 were found twenty-four top leaders of the Third Reich, While two others committed suicide before trial.

Ten leaders of the Third Reich were executed: Hermann Göring committed suicide in prison while another nine were hanged. Three others were acquitted. The others were sentenced to imprisonment of various kinds, that, in some cases, were forgiven after one year.

However the question of collective responsibility could not be resolved by judging only the main perpetrators of crimes as millions of people took part (Although in different ways) to Nazism. People criminalised were numerous and among the 1945 and the 1947 Allied forces undertook this enormous task. For the most part those responsible remained in their place,Some were arrested and prosecuted while others managed to escape and lose their tracks, as Adolf Eichmann, SS Colonel, and one of the many responsible for the extermination of the Jews. In 1961 was found in Argentina by Israeli secret service, judged and sentenced to death.

The Nuremberg trials made justice in a very small proportion when compared with the number of crimes and those responsible.

 

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