The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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                           of the
               International Military Tribunal
                           For The
             Trial of German Major War Criminals

               His Majesty's Stationery Office
                                                    [Page 1]
       Nuremberg, 30th September and 1st October, 1946
THE PRESIDENT: The judgment of the International Military
Tribunal will now be read. I shall not read the titles and
the formal parts.


On 8th August, 1945, the Government of the United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Government of the
United States of America, the Provisional Government of the
French Republic, and the Government of the Union of Soviet
Socialist Republics entered into an Agreement ["treaty
Series No. 27 (1946)" Cmd. 6903.] establishing this Tribunal
for the Trial of War Criminals whose offenses have no
particular geographical location. In accordance with Article
5, the following Governments of the United Nations have
expressed their adherence to the Agreement:

Greece, Denmark, Yugoslavia, the Netherlands,
Czechoslovakia, Poland, Belgium, Ethiopia, Australia,
Honduras, Norway, Panama, Luxembourg, Haiti, New Zealand,
India, Venezuela, Uruguay, and Paraguay.

By the Charter annexed to the Agreement, the constitution,
jurisdiction, and functions of the Tribunal were defined.

The Tribunal was invested with power to try and punish
persons who had committed Crimes against Peace, War crimes,
and Crimes against humanity as defined in the Charter.

The Charter also provided that at the Trial of any
individual member of any group or organisation the Tribunal
may declare (in connection with any act of which the
individual may be convicted) that the group or organisation
of which the individual was a member was a criminal

In Berlin, on 18th October, 1945, in accordance with Article
14 of the Charter, an Indictment was lodged against the
defendants named in the caption above, who had been
designated by the Committee of the Chief Prosecutors of the
signatory Powers as major war criminals.

A copy of the Indictment in the German language was served
upon each defendant in custody, at least 30 days before the
Trial opened.

This Indictment charges the defendants with Crimes against
Peace by the planning, preparation, initiation, and waging
of wars of aggression, which were also wars in violation of
international treaties, agreements, and assurances; with War
crimes; and with Crimes against Humanity. The defendants are
also charged with participating in the formulation or
execution of a common plan or conspiracy to commit all these
crimes. The Tribunal was further asked by the Prosecution to
declare all the named groups or organisations to be criminal
within the meaning of the Charter.

                                                    [Page 2]
The Defendant Robert Ley committed suicide in prison on 25th
October, 1945. On 15th November, 1945 the Tribunal decided
that the Defendant Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach could
not then be tried because of his physical and mental
condition, but that the charges against him in the
Indictment should be retained for trial thereafter, if the
physical and mental condition of the defendant should
permit. On 17th November, 1945 the Tribunal decided to try
the Defendant Bormann in his absence under the provisions of
Article 12 of the Charter. After argument, and consideration
of full medical reports, and a statement from the defendant
himself, the Tribunal decided on 1st December, 1945 that no
grounds existed for a postponement of the Trial against the
Defendant Hess because of his mental condition. A similar
decision was made in the case of the Defendant Streicher.

In accordance with Articles 16 and 23 of the Charter,
Counsel were either chosen by the defendants in custody
themselves, or at their request were appointed by the
Tribunal. In his absence the Tribunal appointed Counsel for
the Defendant Bormann, and also assigned Counsel to
represent the named groups or organisations.

The Trial, which was conducted in four languages  English,
Russian, French, and German  began on 20th November, 1945,
and pleas of "Not Guilty" were made by all the defendants
except Bormann.

The hearing of evidence and the speeches of Counsel
concluded on 31st August, 1946.

Four hundred and three open sessions of the Tribunal have
been held. Thirty-three witnesses gave evidence orally for
the Prosecution against the individual defendants and 61
witnesses, in addition to 19 of the defendants, gave
evidence for the Defense.

A further 143 witnesses gave evidence for the Defense by
means of written answers to interrogatories.

The Tribunal appointed Commissioners to hear evidence
relating to the organisations, and 101 witnesses were heard
for the Defense before the Commissioners, and 1,809
affidavits from other witnesses were submitted. Six reports
were also submitted, summarizing the contents of a great
number of further affidavits.

Thirty-eight thousand affidavits, signed by 155,000 people,
were submitted on behalf of the Political Leaders, 136,213
on behalf of the SS, 10,000 on behalf of the SA, 7,000 on
behalf of the SD, 3,000 on behalf of the General Staff and
OKW, and 2,000 on behalf of the Gestapo.

The Tribunal itself heard 22 witnesses for the
organisations. The documents tendered in evidence for the
Prosecution of the individual defendants and the
organisations numbered several thousands. A complete
stenographic record of everything said in Court has been
made, as well as an electrical recording of all the

Copies of all the documents put in evidence by the
Prosecution have been supplied to the defense in the German
language. The applications made by the defendants for the
production of witnesses and documents raised serious
problems in some instances, on account of the unsettled
state of the Country. It was also necessary to limit the
number of witnesses to be called, in order to have an
expeditious hearing, in accordance with Article 18 (c) of
the Charter. The Tribunal, after examination, granted all
those applications which in its opinion were relevant to the
defense of any defendant or named group or organisation, and
were not cumulative. Facilities were provided for obtaining
those witnesses and documents granted through the office of
the General Secretary established by the Tribunal.

                                                    [Page 3]
Much of the evidence presented to the Tribunal on behalf of
the Prosecution was documentary evidence, captured by the
Allied armies in German army headquarters, Government
buildings, and elsewhere. Some of the documents were found
in salt mines, buried in the ground, hidden behind false
walls and in other places thought to be secure from
discovery. The case, therefore, against the defendants rests
in a large measure on documents of their own making, the
authenticity of which has not been challenged except in one
or two cases.

The Charter Provisions

The individual defendants are indicted under Article 6 of
the Charter, which is as follows:

     "Article 6. The Tribunal established by the
     Agreement referred to in Article 1 hereof for the
     trial and punishment of the major war criminals of
     the European Axis countries shall have the power
     to try and punish persons who, acting in the
     interests of the European Axis countries, whether
     as individuals or as members of organisations,
     committed any of the following crimes:
     "The following acts, or any of them, are crimes
     coming within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal for
     which there shall be individual responsibility:
     "(a) Crimes Against Peace: namely, planning,
     preparation, initiation or waging of a war of
     aggression, or a war in violation of international
     treaties, agreements or assurances, or
     participation in a common plan or conspiracy for
     the accomplishment of any of the foregoing:
     "(b) War crimes: namely, violations of the laws or
     customs of war. Such violations shall include, but
     not be limited to, murder, ill-treatment or
     deportation to slave labor or for any other
     purpose of civilian population of or in occupied
     territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of
     war or persons on the seas, killing of hostages,
     plunder of public or private property, wanton
     destruction of cities, towns or villages, or
     devastation not justified by military necessity:
     "(c) Crimes against humanity: namely, murder,
     extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other
     inhumane acts committed against any civilian
     population, before or during the war, or
     persecutions on political, racial, or religious
     grounds in execution of or in connection with any
     crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal,
     whether or not in violation of the domestic law of
     the country where perpetrated.
     "Leaders, organizers, instigators, and
     accomplices, participating in the formulation or
     execution of a common plan or conspiracy to commit
     any of the foregoing crimes are responsible for
     all acts performed by any persons in execution of
     such plan."

These provisions are binding upon the Tribunal as the law to
be applied to the case. The Tribunal will later discuss them
in more detail; but, before doing so, it is necessary to
review the facts. For the purpose of showing the background
of the aggressive war and war crimes charged in the
Indictment, the Tribunal will begin by reviewing some of the
events that followed the first World War, and in particular,
by tracing the growth of the Nazi Party under Hitler's
leadership to a position of supreme power from which it
controlled the destiny of the whole German People, and paved
the way for the alleged commission of all the crimes charged
against the defendants.

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