On 23 November 2020, Deputy Director Dr. Viviane Dittrich participated in the high-level event ‘75 Years after the Nuremberg Trial: The Path to International Criminal Law’ organized by the German Federal Ministry of Justice (BMJV). Marking the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Nuremberg Trial, this event brought together high-profile representatives from the judiciary, human rights defenders and academics.
Parliamentary State Secretary Christian Lange opened the event, stepping in at short notice for Christine Lambrecht, Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection. He highlighted the historical significance of the Nuremberg Trials and the path of international criminal law in the past 70 years with a focus on present-day prosecutions of crimes committed in Syria. The event featured a talk with Anwar al-Bunni, Syrian lawyer and human rights activist.
The panel discussion included:
- Claudia Hoefer, Judge at the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (MICT)
- Professor Stefanie Bock, University Professor and Director of the International Research and Documentation Centre for War Crimes Trials, University Marburg
- Dr. Peter Frank, Federal Public Prosecutor General at the Federal Court of Justice
- Wolfgang Kaleck, Lawyer and Secretary General of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)
- Dr. Viviane Dittrich, Deputy Director of the International Nuremberg Principles Academy
The panellists focused on where international criminal law stands today and how international crimes are prosecuted before German and international courts. Main topics discussed include the domestic prosecutions of international crimes committed in Syria, the achievements of the ad hoc tribunals, the effectiveness of international justice, the lasting relevance of the Nuremberg Principles, sexual and gender-based violence, the intertwining of law and politics and current challenges of the International Criminal Court.
In her interventions, Dr. Viviane Dittrich stressed the relevance of the Nuremberg Principles, then and now, and the fundament of modern international criminal law. She also noted the ongoing cases of crimes committed in Syria now being prosecuted in Germany and the groundbreaking role of the Federal Public Prosecutor General in the present domestic prosecution of international crimes. Finally, she emphasized the interplay of law and politics, of political will and capacity, and of the past, the present and the future with regard to the principled commitment to the rule of law.
During the discussion, Professor Beate Rudolf, Director of the German Institute for Human Rights (GIHR), and Markus N. Beeko, Secretary General of the German section of Amnesty International, provided video inputs. Dr. Wulf Schmiese, ZDF (German public broadcaster), moderated the event which was conducted in German with English simultaneous interpretation.