The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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                                                            [Page 115]

M. MOUNIER: Mr. President, your Honours, Gentlemen of the High
Tribunal, we have the honour of appearing before your high
jurisdiction in order to submit the conclusions of the French
prosecution in connection with the responsibility individually
incurred by the defendants brought before this bar of justice. In
pursuance of the allotment of the various tasks incumbent on each of
the four nations resulting both from the Indictment presented in
compliance with the Charter of 8th August, 1945, and the agreements
reached between the four delegations, the French prosecution, in its
presentation, has particularly applied itself to the study of the War
Crimes under the Third Count of the Indictment, i.e., the crimes
committed by the defendants in France and in the countries of Western
Europe during hostilities and during the German occupation. It follows
quite naturally that, in the explanations about to be presented, the
case of some of the defendants will be set aside, although their
responsibility will already have been established by the other
delegations who are, if I may say so, more interested in the crimes
committed by the defendants: which correspond to the First, Second and
Fourth Counts of the Indictment. The French prosecution, nevertheless,
intends to join in the accusations raised by the other delegations
against those of the defendants who concern them directly, especially
against the defendants von Neurath and von Ribbentrop. The French
delegation associates itself with the statement presented against them
by Sir David Maxwell Fyfe. The same holds good as far as the
defendants Hess, Kaltenbrunner, Frank, Bormann, Funk, Schacht, von
Papen, Baldur von Schirach, Streicher, Raeder, Doenitz and Fritzsche
are concerned.

Moreover, Mr. President, your Honours, we should like, in this brief
presentation, slightly to deviate from the order of priority in which
the defendants appear, both in the Indictment and in the dock, in
order to clarify certain points. As a matter of fact, it would appear
desirable, when presenting some of the Chiefs of the National
Socialist conspiracy, as viewed from the angle of crimes committed in
the West, to show how they implemented their philosophical, political
economic and, finally, their military conceptions. Consequently, this
order will determine the order in which we shall present the case of
the defendants.

On the other hand the defendants, in pursuance of the rule governing
the proceedings which the Tribunal follows in this trial, have not yet
given their oral explanations before the Court, and the hearing of the
majority of the witnesses, or at least of the more important
witnesses, has not yet taken place.

That is why the French prosecution, with the permission of the
Tribunal, reserves the right of completing, at a later date, its
statement regarding the individual defendants on the one hand, and the
groups accused, according to the expression used by my eminent friend,
prosecutor Boissary, of "International Indignity," on the other hand.

Needless to say, the concluding phase of our presentation will be as
brief as possible, since the French Delegation is anxious to avoid any
unnecessary prolongation of the proceedings.

An imposing number of documents has been submitted to the Tribunal.
Their reading, presented in the first instance for the information of
the Tribunal, then for the information of the defence, and finally, be
it said, for that of universal public opinion, has already taken up a
very considerable time. That is why, with the permission of the
Tribunal, we shall abstain, as far as possible, from presenting the
Tribunal with still more copious documents. Sufficient written
evidence has already been furnished by the American, British and
French prosecutions, when added to those still to be submitted by the
prosecution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, to convince
the Tribunal of the defendants' guilt.

                                                            [Page 116]

We shall therefore content ourselves, in general, with quoting
documents already produced, in order to correlate the facts which we
shall bring forward with the evidence already supplied. I should like,
however, Mr. President, before approaching the case of the defendants,
whom I wish to accuse individually, to make a statement of a very
general nature. It would be idle to pretend that a certain part of
this public opinion -- and not the least enlightened part at that --
in the Old as well as in the New World, has not evinced surprise in
seeing that this Indictment, which is the basis of the present
proceedings, collectively denounces the criminal character of certain
organisations, i.e., the Reich Cabinet, the Leadership Corps of the
National Socialist Party, the S.S. including the S.D., the Gestapo,
the S.A., the General Staff, and the High Command.

In this connection the Tribunal has been good enough to invite the
various delegations to present written memoranda in order to establish
the validity of the allegations contained in the Indictment. But may I
be allowed, before a more complete memorandum is handed to you, to
present a few ideas which appear to me to be considered. It appears,
as a matter of fact, that this concept of a collective responsibility
of the various groups goes hand in hand with the concept of conspiracy
constituting the other governing idea of the Indictment. There is no
doubt, as far as this idea of a conspiracy is concerned, as defined in
the Indictment, that one finds, in the first instance, in the acts of
the defendants, that mystery which generally accompanies any
conspiracy, whatever its nature, and that the various documents
already supplied to the Tribunal are sufficient to confirm the
existence of all the elements which render it possible for me to state
that the defendants, their partners and their accomplices had, in
fact, conceived and realised the foul agreement which has to enable
them to commit crimes against the peace of the world by means contrary
to the laws of war, to International Law, and to international

There is no particle of doubt that the Nazi leaders had invested all
their meetings with a cloak of secrecy, whether these meetings were
regular and administrative, or whether they were of a casual or of an
informal kind. This secrecy, in itself, would be an abnormal thing if
it could be isolated from all the other elements in the case. But,
when added to them, it clearly shows the guilty intent of the
conspirators, for this secrecy alone made possible the employment of
criminal means, as we shall emphasise.

I shall, however, remind the Tribunal that very often, when orders
transmitted were concerned, certain paragraphs were erased so as to
leave no trace. The defendant Hermann Goering admitted this in the
course of the interrogations. Consequently this fact proves the intent
not only to act in the greatest secrecy, but also the intent of doing
away with every trace of whatever had happened.

If I may transpose an expression used during the war of 1914-18, an
expression applied to the sinking of certain ships of friendly or
Allied nations, I should say, where this particular paragraph is
concerned, that it was a case of "Spurlos Versenkt," i.e., sunk
without trace.

On the other hand, the proof of this foul agreement is evident from
the eminently and evidently criminal nature of the decisions taken in
these secret councils.

THE PRESIDENT: It is just 1 o'clock now. Would it be convenient for

counsel to break off at this time?

M. MOUNIER: I am at the disposal of the Court.


                         (A recess was taken.)

                                                            [Page 117]

THE PRESIDENT: M. Mounier, owing to technical difficulties we will not
be able to continue the sitting this afternoon, because these
difficulties, we are advised, cannot be remedied for some hours, and
under those circumstances, the Tribunal thinks it better to adjourn
now. But the Tribunal hopes that you will be able to conclude the case
on behalf of the French prosecution to-morrow, and that the case
against the defendant Hess will be presented on behalf of the British

M. MOUNIER: I understand, Mr. President, and I will get in touch with
the British prosecution and we will arrange to conclude that part of
the case to-morrow.

THE PRESIDENT: Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, do you wish to say anything?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: No, My Lord. We are ready to go on with the
presentation against the defendant Hess, and we think that it should
take two and a half hours, approximately.

 (Whereupon at 15.30 hours the Tribunal adjourned until 10.00 hours on
                         7th February, 1946.)

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