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Edited by David Arnon Blumenthal and Timothy L.H. McCormack

In this new collection of essays the editors assess the legacy of the Nuremberg Trial asking whether the Trial really did have a civilising influence or if it constituted little more than institutionalised vengeance. Three essays focus particularly on the historical context and involve rich analysis of, for example, the atmospherics of the Trial itself and the attitudes of German society at the time to the conduct of the Trial.
The majority of the essays deal with the contemporary legacies of the Nuremberg Trial and attempt to assess the ongoing relevance of the Judgment itself and of the principles encapsulated in it. Some essays consider the importance of the principle of individual criminal responsibility under international law and argue that the international community has to some extent failed to fulfil the promise of Nuremberg in the decades since the Trial. Other essays focus on contemporary application of aspects of the substantive law of Nuremberg - particularly the international crime of aggression, the law of military occupation and the use of the crime of conspiracy as an alternative basis of criminal responsibility. The collection also includes essays analysing the nature and operation of a number of international criminal tribunals since Nuremberg including the permanent International Criminal Court. The final grouping of essays focus on the impact of the Nuremberg Trial on Australia examining, in particular, Australia’s post-World War Two war crimes trials of Japanese defendants, Australia’s extensive national case law on Article 1(F) of the Refugee Convention and Australia’s national implementing legislation for the Rome Statute.

Judging War Crimes and Torture

French Justice and International Criminal Tribunals and Commissions (1940-2005)

Yves Beigbeder

Even democracies commit war crimes. France, like other democracies, has not always kept up to the high standards expected from the „homeland of human rights”. Its colonial past shows that what it termed its “civilizing mission” was tainted with military, economic and religious abuses, denounced by a few courageous groups and individuals, and revealed in a few public trials. The Vichy government’s willing participation in Jewish persecution during the German occupation of France was ignored or denied until trials (Barbie, Touvier, Papon) brought to light these unpleasant facts in the 1990s.
France’s participation in the Nuremberg and Tokyo Tribunals was relatively minor but useful. However, its participation in later international tribunals (Ex-Yugoslavia, Rwanda) revealed a few conflicts between French politics and the work of these tribunals. France’s participation in the International Criminal Court is also reviewed.
These developments show that even democratic countries, like France but not France alone, can commit war crimes, crimes against humanity and even be accomplices in genocides. Reasons include pressures in exceptional periods of internal and/or external political/military tensions, nationalist policies, lack of judiciary independence, and lack of media exposure to abuses. However, past crimes must be recalled and exposed, particularly if they have been hidden, covered by amnesties, and not judicially punished. They must be visible as part of a country’s history in order to ensure that they are not repeated.

Yves Beigbeder

M.J. Falcón Y Tella and Falcón Y Tella

M.J. Falcón Y Tella and Falcón Y Tella