Victory for Justice or Victor’s Justice?: Due Process and the Legacy of the Nuremberg Trials Open Access
The Nuremberg Trials are one of the most well-known legal exercises today. Taking place over the greater part of a year between 1945 and 1946, Allied forces conducted trials to bring various high-profile Nazi officials to justice. Ultimately, twelve Nazis were sentenced to death (in addition to another who was sentenced to death in absentia) and six more were given jail time. This research investigates whether criticisms of the Nuremberg Trials are legitimate, including if and how the Trials impacted the future of international law. Primary sources and first-hand accounts of the Trials will be key to my research as they will provide critical information as to how the Trials were conducted, the methods and reasoning behind these decisions, and the impact that they had on both the defendants and the larger body of international law itself. The results of the research suggest that, despite justifiable criticisms and cases of moderate to severe deviation from the norms, the Nuremberg Trials followed proper due process procedures, establishing a legal framework in which future international criminal cases could adhere. This is not to say that critiques of the Trials are not legitimate; however, the research and synthesis of primary sources, as well as legal scholarship devoted to the topic of analyzing the Nuremberg Trials, suggest that the Trials abided by strict norms and influenced how other courts operated, given the insurmountable task of holding those who committed crimes against humanity accountable.
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