Contributions of the IMT at Nuremberg and the IMTFE to the modern law of International Criminal Law Undoubtedly, major development in international law has occurred in recent years through the establishment of several tribunals and their statutes. There have been several criticisms concerning the decisions delivered by those tribunals mainly arguing that they were biased and illegitimate for numerous reasons. They were accused of being unfair and merely institutions for “victor’s justice”.
Also they criticized the fact that Germany did not form part of the IMT Charter. Although it was not perfect justice, those tribunals acted like international platform where accused persons were held responsible of their acts under international law for the crimes they committed. However, it cannot be denied that their creation was necessary answer to the mass atrocities committed by the Nazi regime and by Japan. Indeed, those tribunals laid the foundation for modern international criminal law.
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Contribution of the IMT for Nuremberg The Nuremberg trials were important for various reasons. They not only enlightened details about Nazi atrocities, but had a great impact on the development of international criminal law. The first 40 years after the Nuremberg trial were period of slow progress in the development of international criminal law. From the perspective of global politics, they influenced the development of national criminal law into human rights and humanitarian fields.
Therefore, they marked a turning point in the national jurisprudence focusing on individual responsibility of leaders, organizers, instigators as well as accomplices for serious mass atrocities. The concept of ‘crimes against humanity’ found formal expression and codification through the IMT for Nuremberg. The Nuremberg principles that is the principles applied at Nuremberg helped in the publishing of several statutes such as the Genocide Convention. Subject to several criticisms, the trial s created circumstances in which international law might be used to challenge, rather than uphold, state sovereignty.
Contribution of the IMTFE The statutes of the IMT and the IMTFE contributed to the development of international law by providing new legal norms and standards of responsibility The Tokyo trials proved that Nuremberg principles allowed a margin of operation for other cases. They were the first stage of progress from Nuremberg, which would lead to the universalization of Crimes against Humanity and its relevant derivations. The main contribution of the IMTFE was the introduction of the command responsibility sometimes referred to as the Yamashita standard or the Medina standard and also known as superior responsibility.
It is the doctrine of hierarchical accountability in cases of war crimes that is the one who gives orders takes the responsibility. The “Yamashita standard” is based upon the precedent set by the United States Supreme Court in the case of Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita who was prosecuted in 1945, in a still controversial trial, for atrocities committed by troops under his command in the Philippines. Yamashita was charged with “unlawfully disregarding and failing to discharge his duty as a commander to control the acts of members of his command by permitting them to commit war crimes.
Conclusion Through the principles of law applied by those tribunals, many other international instruments were developed. Numerous Conventions were issued and they also led to the establishment of ad hoc tribunals in the former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda to deal with acts of genocide and other serious violations of the human rights. These in turn brought several developments in international criminal law leading to the setting up of a permanent International Criminal Court in 2002 at The Hague, Netherlands for a more just and more humane world.