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Old 04-18-2011, 04:21 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
Basically the Germans were tried for committing crimes that weren't defined as crimes when they were carried out. The victors write the history books...and apparently the laws.

Well the Germans merited punishment whether the things they were punished for were defined as crimes yet or not. Simply as a practical matter they needed hammering and hammering hard.
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Old 04-19-2011, 09:51 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishtom29 View Post
Well the Germans merited punishment whether the things they were punished for were defined as crimes yet or not. Simply as a practical matter they needed hammering and hammering hard.
I'm not disagreeing that the Nuremberg Trials weren't needed and the punishments weren't deserved. Merely pointing out that there was a lot of contention even among the people who were involved in the trial and leading legal minds of the day as to the validity of the actual proceedings and the precedents that were being set.

Afterall, the French, British, Americans and especially the Russians were guilty of many of the same crimes levied against the Germans. For instance, Keitel, Jodl and Ribbentrop were brought up on charges that included "conspiracy to commit aggression against Poland" in 1939. If memory serves, there was another nation that actively conspired and participated in the "aggression against Poland", yet they were not charged. Soviet atrocities during the war were almost on the same level to those the Germans were being found guilty of.

So, while I have no problem with Nuremberg as a form of "victor's justice" it is a far stretch to call it an actual legal proceeding. These are the four main indictments at Nuremberg:


Quote:
  1. Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of a crime against peace
  2. Planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression and other crimes against peace
  3. War crimes
  4. Crimes against humanity
All of the Allied nations were guilty in some aspects to the first three counts. The Soviets were certainly guilty of count 4 by anyones estimation.
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Old 04-19-2011, 07:05 PM
 
Location: un peu près de Chicago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
The Soviets were certainly guilty of count 4 by anyones estimation.
The Russians lost 20 million souls in WWII. The Germans got their due. "They that sow the wind, shall reap the whirlwind."
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Old 04-19-2011, 08:59 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
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Default "Victors' justice" - some more thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
I'm not disagreeing that the Nuremberg Trials weren't needed and the punishments weren't deserved. Merely pointing out that there was a lot of contention even among the people who were involved in the trial and leading legal minds of the day as to the validity of the actual proceedings and the precedents that were being set.

Afterall, the French, British, Americans and especially the Russians were guilty of many of the same crimes levied against the Germans. For instance, Keitel, Jodl and Ribbentrop were brought up on charges that included "conspiracy to commit aggression against Poland" in 1939. If memory serves, there was another nation that actively conspired and participated in the "aggression against Poland", yet they were not charged. Soviet atrocities during the war were almost on the same level to those the Germans were being found guilty of.

So, while I have no problem with Nuremberg as a form of "victor's justice" it is a far stretch to call it an actual legal proceeding.

All of the Allied nations were guilty in some aspects to the first three counts. The Soviets were certainly guilty of count 4 by anyones estimation.
Good perspective in the above post. I agree that "victors' justice", however imperfect, was better than no justice at all because the abuses were so egregious. Who can imagine simply doing nothing? Also, let's not forget that at Nuremberg several defendants were aquitted while others got various sentences from death on down to about 10 years in prison (if memory serves on the number of years - I'm not really sure there). Therefore, Nuremberg was not a kangaroo court, although the Russians would have been happy to turn it into one. Despite its problematic aspects (mostly in the creation of ex-post-facto law) I do view Nuremberg as an actual legal proceeding. The defendants had real (i.e., competent) counsel who cross-examined witnesses, made final arguments, etc.
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Old 04-20-2011, 08:58 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zea mays View Post
The Russians lost 20 million souls in WWII. The Germans got their due. "They that sow the wind, shall reap the whirlwind."
Losing 20 million people in a war still doesn't exonerate the Russians from the war crimes that they committed and the fact that they were instrumental in the early planning and execution of the war by agreeing to divide Poland with the Germans and unilaterally attacking Finland. Basically the same crimes the Germans were accused of were also committed by the Russians.

One of the most glaring examples of this was the Katyn Forest massacre where thousands of Polish officers were slaughtered. The Russians at Nuremberg attempted to pin this on the Germans, but the other Allies wouldn't admit their evidence. It wasn't until 1990 that the Russians finally admitted that it was in fact Soviet units that slaughtered the Polish officers.

Again, I am not saying that the Germans didn't deserve justice for the Holocaust, but the trials went well beyond that charging various German commanders and officials with simply waging war. I think the best examples of that were Donitz and Raeder. Neither was indicted for crimes against humanity, but both were indicted on the other three charges and found guilty of all except the first in the case of Donitz as he had not been head of the Kriegsmarine when the war started. The war crimes they were found guilty of was the use of unrestricted submarine warfare. The issue there was that Admiral Nimitz himself stated that the United States engaged in unrestricted submarine warfare the moment it entered the war.
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Old 04-20-2011, 09:10 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
Good perspective in the above post. I agree that "victors' justice", however imperfect, was better than no justice at all because the abuses were so egregious. Who can imagine simply doing nothing? Also, let's not forget that at Nuremberg several defendants were aquitted while others got various sentences from death on down to about 10 years in prison (if memory serves on the number of years - I'm not really sure there). Therefore, Nuremberg was not a kangaroo court, although the Russians would have been happy to turn it into one. Despite its problematic aspects (mostly in the creation of ex-post-facto law) I do view Nuremberg as an actual legal proceeding. The defendants had real (i.e., competent) counsel who cross-examined witnesses, made final arguments, etc.
I don't know if I would go so far to say that it was NOT a kangaroo court. I think the Allies worked hard to give the appearance of legitimacy while working hard behind the scenes to suppress contrary evidence, ignore double standards (Allied use of forced slave labor was somehow better than German use of forced slave labor?) and keep the Soviets from being indicted.

Further, they did alter common legal rules of the time. First all defendants were denied the right to appeal. Additionally, they were not allowed to affect the selection of judges. Both were common legal practice in the Allied nations with the exception of the Soviets.

Also, the rules of evidence were created specifically for this trial and were much looser than what was used in any existing court of the time. The Tribunal had the authority to admit normally inadmissable evidence under Article 19 which stated:

Quote:
The Tribunal shall not be bound by technical rules of evidence and shall admit any evidence which it deems to have probative value.
Additionally, Article 21 went on to state:

Quote:
The Tribunal shall not require proof of facts of common knowledge but shall take judicial notice thereof. It shall also take judicial notice of official governmental documents and reports of the United Allied Nations, including acts and documents of the committees set up in the various allied countries for the investigation of war crimes, and the records and findings of military and other Tribunals of any of the United Allied Nations.
The final change was the elmination of the tu qoque or "You, too" defense. This prevented the Germans from claiming that many of the charges were groundless as the prosecuting side had also committed the same crimes the Germans were being accused of.
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Old 04-21-2011, 06:08 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
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Default Let's talk more about what "kangaroo court" means.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
I don't know if I would go so far to say that it was NOT a kangaroo court. I think the Allies worked hard to give the appearance of legitimacy while working hard behind the scenes to suppress contrary evidence, ignore double standards (Allied use of forced slave labor was somehow better than German use of forced slave labor?) and keep the Soviets from being indicted.

Further, they did alter common legal rules of the time. First all defendants were denied the right to appeal. Additionally, they were not allowed to affect the selection of judges. Both were common legal practice in the Allied nations with the exception of the Soviets.

Also, the rules of evidence were created specifically for this trial and were much looser than what was used in any existing court of the time. The Tribunal had the authority to admit normally inadmissable evidence under...
The final change was the elmination of the tu qoque or "You, too" defense. This prevented the Germans from claiming that many of the charges were groundless as the prosecuting side had also committed the same crimes the Germans were being accused of.
You and I are having a semantic argument. I agree that the specifics you are giving above constitute flaws from a legal point of view. Yes, the Nuremberg proceedings were flawed. But were the flaws serious enough to sustain the charge "kangaroo court"? I submit not. A kangaroo court implies that the result is foreordained, that a genuine attempt at justice has been abandoned, that one side or the other is denied a genuine hearing. Since several defendants were acquitted, and since the sentences meted out to the guilty varied considerably in severity, we must conclude that the judges "heard" the evidence and arguments presented in defense and that the results were not foreordained.

In other words, I am arguing that the quality of justice is not all or nothing, but rather on a continuum. The perfect end of the continuum might be said to be American jursiprudence at its ideal (as opposed to actual) level, while the lowest end might be said to be (just as an example) the Stalin show trials, in which the judges had no real independence but were required to render verdicts handed down from above. On this continuum, therefore, I would rate the Nuremberg proceedings as not too bad, considering the circumstances, and I maintain that calling them a kangaroo court constitutes hyperbole.

By the way (and this matters not a wit for your postition or mine) isn't the correct spelling "tu quoque"?
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Old 04-22-2011, 03:44 PM
 
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Nuremburg a Kangaroo Court? Please.

Two or three of the defendants were acquitted and walked out free men! Even Goering was found Not Guilty on some counts- the bombing of Rotterdamm being one.

The Soviets initially did not want a trial and wanted to summarilly execute them. More than a few of the British and French agreed. Yet 4 diverse nations created a special court and pulled it off. Even the German public, then and now, agreed with the results.
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Old 04-25-2011, 11:33 AM
 
14,781 posts, read 38,510,710 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
You and I are having a semantic argument. I agree that the specifics you are giving above constitute flaws from a legal point of view. Yes, the Nuremberg proceedings were flawed. But were the flaws serious enough to sustain the charge "kangaroo court"? I submit not. A kangaroo court implies that the result is foreordained, that a genuine attempt at justice has been abandoned, that one side or the other is denied a genuine hearing. Since several defendants were acquitted, and since the sentences meted out to the guilty varied considerably in severity, we must conclude that the judges "heard" the evidence and arguments presented in defense and that the results were not foreordained.

In other words, I am arguing that the quality of justice is not all or nothing, but rather on a continuum. The perfect end of the continuum might be said to be American jursiprudence at its ideal (as opposed to actual) level, while the lowest end might be said to be (just as an example) the Stalin show trials, in which the judges had no real independence but were required to render verdicts handed down from above. On this continuum, therefore, I would rate the Nuremberg proceedings as not too bad, considering the circumstances, and I maintain that calling them a kangaroo court constitutes hyperbole.

By the way (and this matters not a wit for your postition or mine) isn't the correct spelling "tu quoque"?
You are correct, "tu quoque".

I agree that we are arguing semantics, sorry for that. I don't think Nuremberg approaches the level of a "Kangaroo Court' where the verdicts were pre-ordained. I, also don't believe that it was a shining example of blind justice and was a flawed proceeding for the reasons outlined in previous posts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moth View Post
Nuremburg a Kangaroo Court? Please.

Two or three of the defendants were acquitted and walked out free men! Even Goering was found Not Guilty on some counts- the bombing of Rotterdamm being one.

The Soviets initially did not want a trial and wanted to summarilly execute them. More than a few of the British and French agreed. Yet 4 diverse nations created a special court and pulled it off. Even the German public, then and now, agreed with the results.
As was stated above, the use of the term "Kangaroo Court" implies something I did not mean to imply. However, I will standby the fact that they were flawed proceedings for the reasons outlined earlier. Flawed to the point that many of the convictions would have been overturned on appeal in a western court.

A trial had to happen. The Nazi's needed to be punished. Nuremberg accomplished that.
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Old 04-25-2011, 11:47 AM
 
Location: Miami, FL
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I recall reading the French judges were not proponents of the charge regarding waging aggressive war as waging war was seen as one of the rights of states.

Also, some of the defendents were not questionable regarding the place in the chain of decision making. I recall a junior Krupps man was charged because the senior when he might be considered responsible was too elderly to stand trial. I could find the exact citation, it has been a number of years since I read on the Nuremburg Trials.
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