The Continuing Evolution of the Nuremberg Principles in Light of the Contemporary Jurisprudence of International Criminal Courts
This year, the Nuremberg Academy´s Second Annual Forum commemorated the adoption of the seven Nuremberg Principles by the United Nations General Assembly by Resolution 95 (I) on 11 December 1946 on the initiative of the United States delegation. The seven principles, which were teased out of the Charter and Judgment of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg (IMT at Nuremberg), now form the bedrock of modern international criminal law and justice.
In the 70 years since the Nuremberg Principles were affirmed by the UNGA, the legislative, advocacy and adjudicative activity has occurred in multiple sites, in particular around tribunals established to prosecute perpetrators of international crimes. These processes have developed and enriched the Nuremberg Principles beyond their skeletal formulation in the Charter of the IMT and Tokyo. Indeed, part of the development of the law has been a response to trenchant critiques of both tribunals, which for instance had excluded a focus on sexual crimes. In addition to the groundbreaking jurisprudence generated by the ad hoc international tribunals in the 1990s, advocacy activity by civil society shone the light on this darker side of Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals.
This year's conference dealt with specific aspects in respect of each of the seven Nuremberg Principles. Indeed, while the contours of some of the Principles can be regarded as 'settled', controversy continues to rage on the interpretation or application of specific aspects of the Principles. The Forum offered a forum for leading academics and practitioners to analyse, debate, critique developments and to chart a trajectory for the future of each of the Principles.