International Criminal Justice 60 Years After Nuremberg


“No trial provides a better basis for understanding the nature and causes of evil than do the Nuremberg trials from 1945 to 1949.  Those who come to the trials expecting to find sadistic monsters are generally disappointed.  What is shocking about Nuremberg is  the ordinariness of the defendants: men who may be good fathers, kind to animals, even unassuming–yet committed unspeakable crimes.” – Douglas O. Linder

This fascinating event organised by the School of Law will look at the Nuremberg trials as a watershed event in the history of International Law. The trials themselves made legal history, and will forever be associated with legally defining ‘crimes against humanity’ for the first time. When faced with responding adequately to the Holocaust and similar atrocities, the London Charter of the International Military Tribunal defined crimes against humanity thus: Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated.

Over the course of Innovative Learning Week (ILW), students and staff will watch films that centre on the atrocities of WWII and the trials that brought the perpetrators to justice. Roundtable discussions will be led by academics, and students are invited to share their thoughts about the Nuremberg trials, and their massive impact.

This initiative will be interdisciplinary in nature: academics from the fields of law and historical studies will participate in the events. The film presentations will deal with the judicial treatment of international crimes and the question of motives of perpetrators.

There will be three events linked to this theme during ILW.  Booking for this event (and all events organised by the School of Law) will open on February 4. Please see the School of Law’s ILW page for more information after this date. You can also check out events open to all students at the central ILW page.

The Nuremberg trials were documented on film for posterity. You can have a look at the footage here.


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