The International Nuremberg Principles Academy has co-organized three side events as part of the accompanying program of the International Nuremberg Human Rights Award 2017. This year's Award honors "Group Caesar", the code name of a former Syrian military photographer who brought over 50,000 photographs out of the country, 28,000 of which show detainees in Syrian prisons killed by torture, outright execution, disease, malnutrition or other ill-treatment.
Lectures, discussions and documentation in the accompanying program highlighted the relevance and role of such digital evidence. The accompanying program provided information on the situation in Syria, the fight against torture and the possibilities of law enforcement.
The Academy's side events focused on three topics dealing with photos as evidence in international criminal proceedings, refugees in Nuremberg as potential witnesses of international crimes and possibilities of prosecuting war crimes in Syria by third countries.
Tuesday, 26 September:
More than words? Photos as evidence in international criminal proceedings
Speakers: Andreas Mix (Memorium Nuremberg Trials), Jens Dieckmann (Lawyer)
The trials against the "major war criminals" at the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg 1945/46 used photographs as evidence. The images of ghettoes, concentration camps, and executions were intended to authenticate and illustrate the crimes of the Nazi regime. The importance of photographs as evidence in international criminal proceedings has increased significantly since then. With digital cameras and smartphones, it is now much easier today to capture warfare and crime. The lectures highlighted the importance of photographs in historical and contemporary proceedings before international courts. The question of the impact that pictures have on the perception of violent conflicts was also discussed.
Thursday, 28 September:
Refugees in Nuremberg as potential witnesses of international crimes
Speakers: Farah Mahmood (International Nuremberg Principles Academy), Helmut Herz (City of Nuremberg)
How can refugees in Nuremberg help to secure evidence of international crimes? How can social welfare agencies and volunteers be supported in capturing important information and channeling it to the appropriate authorities? For this purpose, the International Nuremberg Principles Academy and the City of Nuremberg have jointly developed the "International Justice Guidelines for Refugee Agencies in Europe". This presentation discussed the results of the first practical phase of the guidelines, as well as their application and effectiveness.
For further information about the project and the Guidelines available for download, please click here.
Friday, 29 September:
Possibilities of prosecuting war crimes in Syria by third countries
Speaker: Wolfgang Kaleck (European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights)
International criminal justice currently has few opportunities to prosecute war crimes committed in Syria. An indictment before the International Criminal Court in The Hague is difficult given that Syria is not a State Party to the Rome Statute and that the veto powers Russia and China oppose a referral by the UN Security Council to the Court. The lecture explained how the judiciary of third countries can take action by invoking the principle of universal jurisdiction. In Germany, France and Sweden, inter alia, indictments have been submitted to national courts.
"Täter ohne Richter" – Documentary by Rüdiger Baumann on the occasion of the awarding of the Nuremberg Human Rights Award 2017, including an interview with the Nuremberg Academy's Director Klaus Rackwitz, broadcasted on Saturday, 23 September 2017, 8:15 pm (ARD-alpha), and on Sunday, 24 September 2017,10:15 am (BR Fernsehen)
In cases of human rights violations, perpetrators often go unpunished - whether in Syria, Colombia, Mexico or other countries. The documentary shows the implications of this impunity and draws connections to the Nuremberg Trials.