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Making Good on Nuremberg

June 14, 2010

Michael Abramowitz in The Atlantic:

On the margins of the Review Conference for the International Criminal Court — a two-week convocation at Lake Victoria, outside the Ugandan capital — delegates and non-governmental officials from more than 100 countries have attended screenings of a newly restored version of “Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today,” a 1948 documentary on the trial of key members of the Nazi hierarchy. The film concludes with a powerful summation by the chief U.S. prosecutor for the trials, Robert H. Jackson: “Nuremberg stands as a warning to all those who plan and wage aggressive war.” It’s a message echoed by former Nuremberg prosecutor Benjamin B. Ferencz and others here this week, who hope to spur conference delegates to approve a new statute for prosecuting the crime of aggression.

Whether or not delegates succeed in codifying such a crime before the conference closes on Friday, Nuremberg’s unfinished business has been one of its major themes. And it’s a major conference: the most significant convocation of international law experts since the gathering in Rome 12 years ago that gave birth to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Nearly 65 years after the Nuremberg judgment of 1946, the world has yet to achieve a reliable system for assuring that perpetrators of society’s worst offenses — genocide and crimes against humanity — are held to account. [More]

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