Justice of Law Concerning War Criminals The clarity brought on by the past century’s globalization in both civil and military theatres has partially lifted the fog of war. Intra-state, Ethan-culturally centered ongoing conflicts have yielded many of the most prolific cases of human rights violations in history, and thus have presented the world with the enigma of trying and sentencing these criminals without violating the mandates (or norms) that they wish to enforce.
Faced with lack of precedent, many courts have seemingly cited laws for the first time only after they have been broken, risking the viability of both the court and distorting law internationally. Furthermore, the trials of the offenders are often little more than post-conflict authoritarian demonstrations of power, with little legal legitimacy. The Murderer Trials will be examined as evidence to the assertion that these trials are detrimental to the pre-existing legal system and to the advancement of war criminal law as a whole.
The Murderer criminals were officially charged on four counts; war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes against peace, and conspiracy to wage war. These charges are divisible into human and political law, with the first two cited being directed at human atrocities, and the latter duo falling under the political spectrum. All four charges are flawed on their own as well as common ground, starting with their derivatives. Directly contradicting the trial’s convictions against human rights and wartime law is the superior orders theory.
German doctrines have been proven to have directly interdicted the international standards of the Hogue Convention, allowing civilian abuse if it will further the war’s agenda. The German soldiers and officers were acting under the direct orders of their respective commanders, under penalty of exile or death. A logical course of thought would not lead a fighting man to believe that he will later be criminally convicted for a task delegated to him during aggressive war, but rather that he will be immediately reprimanded for the dissent of his military higher-up.
Following this theory, only the highest-ranking Germans can be held accountable for their atrocities, while their respective subordinates are no more than instruments. Robert Jackson’s criticism of the Murderer Trail specifically cites the logically fallacy of an ex post facto law in reference to the 2nd Count against Peace, meaning that the conviction is based on a law that was created after the crime was committed, often in response to said offense. Ex post facto laws are often imposed in response to a lack of applicable mandate where the tried clearly offends a general sense of moral Justice.
That being said, it does not move them further towards astigmatic. This type of legislation undermines the factors of deterrence and equality that many legal systems are centered on. So, while the imposition of such a law may Murderer Trial Justice By Nathaniel-Murphy court and of their correlative doctrines, whilst simultaneously allowing the court a disproportionate amount of power. The “Crimes Against Peace” charge at Murderer falls into this category in that a solider acting committing acts of war during a time of aggressive declared war would not logically assume that he was committing a war crime.
Jackson also states that the pre-existing laws banning state aggression are meant for nations and not to individuals, and that in stretching this to single persons contorts the law as ex post facto. This created a false legal system at Murderer, which did much more to impede the progress of international law than set a reasonable precedent. The Murderer tribunals did little, if anything, to alter the lives of those changed. Of the 22 tried, were sentenced to death (the others for life).
At it’s very core, the Murderer Trials were closer an exercise of power than an actual legal proceeding, which again hurt the development of a true international court. There was no question to the guilt of these men, no fair presentation of both contending sides, no jury of their countrymen, and certainly no expectation of their acquittal, creating a unanimous sentencing. The victorious Allied Nations used their total control of the criminals to demonstrate their authority, rather than to attempt an actual legal process. This is an exercise of complete power, rather than a restraint of it, as law is intended to be.
Furthermore, it sets the stage for similarly victorious states to feign gal exercise while actuality employing absolute power, which is a very dangerous thing. The Allied officials behind the Murderer trials failed to adequately differentiate between military and political situations. The realist interpretation of world politics explains the globe as a playing field, consisted of sovereign states wing for power. They may contend economically or geographically, and warfare is a simple extension of furthering political agenda. A nation cannot be legally indicted, because power is the true indicator of outcome.
At Murderer, we see a futile contention to these principals. First, some of the Nazis were tried for political crimes in engaging in and preparing for warfare. How is one nation to assert such a charge on another? One sovereign state cannot charge another with said crimes without heavy regulation and oversight, and in that, the supervised state is not a sovereign at all, and is being dominated by a superior power. Not only is such a charge ex post facto, but also it is logically flawed on the stage of international law because it cannot be applied to a victorious nation.
If the Allies can charge the Nazi Regime with preparing for warfare, then in a sound court the reciprocal could be charged citing the same law. Even further, who is to decide the extent of military development that is criminal as opposed to defensive? By these standards, the Japanese surely would have charged the Allies with numerous war crimes had they won the war following the nuclear attacks on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The problem does not lie in the outcome of the trials, but in their proceedings, charges and methodology that set false precedent going forward.
Globalization since the Second World War has increased the number of human rights atrocities and so the need for a Judicial system for the perpetrators has gone up as well. Murderer was an assertion of power yielded as legal weight, which consisted of many logically power at the trials. Therefore Murderer was in all actuality a negative precedent that leads one to believe that victor’s law is prioritize higher than legal legitimacy. Further, the flamboyancy and one-sidedness of the trials proved to be a political flaunt rather than true Justice.