The Nuremberg Military Tribunals and the Origins of International Criminal Law

ISBN : 9780199668168

Kevin Jon Heller
536 ページ
178 x 234 mm

This book provides the first comprehensive legal analysis of the twelve war crimes trials held in the American zone of occupation between 1946 and 1949, collectively known as the Nuremberg Military Tribunals (NMTs). The judgments the NMTs produced have played a critical role in the development of international criminal law, particularly in terms of how courts currently understand war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression. The trials are also of tremendous historical importance, because they provide a far more comprehensive picture of Nazi atrocities than their more famous predecessor, the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg (IMT). The IMT focused exclusively on the 'major war criminals'-the Goerings, the Hesses, the Speers. The NMTs, by contrast, prosecuted doctors, lawyers, judges, industrialists, bankers-the private citizens and lower-level functionaries whose willingness to take part in the destruction of millions of innocents manifested what Hannah Arendt famously called 'the banality of evil'. The book is divided into five sections. The first section traces the evolution of the twelve NMT trials. The second section discusses the law, procedure, and rules of evidence applied by the tribunals, with a focus on the important differences between Law No. 10 and the Nuremberg Charter. The third section, the heart of the book, provides a systematic analysis of the tribunals' jurisprudence. It covers Law No. 10's core crimes-crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity-as well as the crimes of conspiracy and membership in a criminal organization. The fourth section then examines the modes of participation and defenses that the tribunals recognized. The final section deals with sentencing, the aftermath of the trials, and their historical legacy.


1. The Origins of the Zonal Trials
2. The OCC and the Tribunals
3. The Evolution of the Trial Program
4. The Trials
5. Jurisdiction and Legal Character of the Tribunals
6. Evidence
7. Procedure
8. Crimes Against Peace
9. War Crimes
10. Crimes Against Humanity
11. Modes of Participation
12. Conspiracy, Enterprise Liability, and Criminal Membership
13. Defenses
14. Sentencing
15. Aftermath
16. Legacy
Appendix A: Table of Defendants
Appendix B: Charter of the International Military Tribunal
Appendix C: Control Council Law No. 10
Appendix D: Ordinance No. 7
Appendix E: Uniform Rules of Procedure


Kevin Jon Heller is a Senior Lecturer at Melbourne Law School, where he teaches criminal law and international criminal law. He has a JD from Stanford Law School, an MA in literature from Duke University, and an MA and BA in social and political theory from the New School for Social Research, all with honors. His work has appeared in the European Journal of International Law, the American Journal of International Law, the Journal of International Criminal Justice, the Michigan Law Review, the Leiden Journal of International Law, and many others. On the practical side, Kevin has been involved in the International Criminal Court's negotiations over the crime of aggression, served as Human Rights Watch's external legal advisor on the trial of Saddam Hussein, and has consulted with the defense in a number of cases at the ICTY and ICTR. He is currently serving as one of Radovan Karadzic's formally appointed legal associates.