On 27 March 2023, the conference “The Nuremberg Principles: The Contemporary Challenges” brought together leading experts to discuss the applicability and implementation of the Nuremberg Principles in promoting human rights and enforcing international criminal law in the context of today. The full-day event was held in Washington, D.C., and co-organised by the Catholic University of America and the International Nuremberg Principles Academy together with other partners. The conference allowed over 300 participants, both in-person and virtually, to engage with panellists from the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Ukraine.
Nuremberg Academy Director Professor Dr Christoph Safferling participated remotely in the panels “Judges’ Trial and Trial of the Doctors: Reflections on Medical Ethics & the Rule of Law” and “Ukraine’s Nuremberg: Review of Political/Military Situation and Legal Issues as of the Date of the Conference". He spoke about judicial ethics and what the Jurists‘ Trial tells us about legal education. On the war in Ukraine he emphasised the importance of upholding the crime of aggression as a consequence of the Nuremberg legacy and the relevance of e-evidence for modern war crime prosecution.
Deputy Director Dr Viviane Dittrich moderated the opening panel “The International Military Trials (I.M.T.) 1945-1946 at Nuremberg and Subsequent Nuremburg Military Trials (N.M.T.) 1946-1949”. In the panel, Professor Michael Bazyler, Professor Dr Hervé Ascensio, Dr Toby Simpson, Professor Dr Francine Hirsch and Professor Dr Stefanie Bock addressed the US, French, British, Soviet Union and German perspectives of the Nuremberg trials and the Nuremberg legacy more broadly.
Opening remarks were held, inter alia, by Professor Dr Herbert Reginbogin and State Secretary Dr Angelika Schlunk, Federal Ministry of Justice. In the closing panel, Beth van Schaack, Ambassador-at-large for Global Criminal Justice, spoke about the importance of prosecuting crimes and individual accountability for the crime of aggression. Moreover, she announced the US support of an internationalised tribunal rooted in Ukraine’s system.
In the reception following the conference and hosted by the Nuremberg Academy, Dr Dittrich presented the Nuremberg Academy, its work and main fields of activity: providing a forum for dialogue, conducting applied research and capacity building. She stressed the ties of the Academy to US institutional partners, including the American Society of International Law, the Jackson Centre and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, and with American experts over the years. In particular, she highlighted two individuals whose continuous engagement began already before the official founding of the Academy and who have played an important role for the Academy ever since: Ben Ferencz, who gave a video address at the conference, and Thomas Burgenthal, the Honorary President of the Academy's Advisory Council.
The Institute for Policy Research at The Catholic University of America hosted the conference in partnership with the German Federal Ministry of Justice, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Washington, D.C., the International Nuremberg Principles Academy, the International Research and Documentation Center for War Crimes Trials at Philipps-Universität Marburg and the Case Western Reserve University School of Law. The event was livestreamed.