"Peace through Justice - the Legacy of Thomas Buergenthal": At this year's Nuremberg "Stadtverführungen", the International Nuremberg Principles Academy showed the documentary about the moving life of Thomas Buergenthal and the pioneering role he played and continues to play in the criminal prosecution of human rights violations.
The screening was followed by a discussion between the Director of the Academy, Klaus Rackwitz and the two members of the German Social Democratic Party, Gabriela Heinrich and Dr. Anja Prölß-Kammerer. They linked the challenges of international criminal law at the global level to human rights work at the municipal level.
All agreed that human rights education needs to play a key role when trying to prevent human rights violations. "Human rights are something you have to work for non-stop at every level," was the consensus.
According to Gabriela Heinrich, it is often due to the commitment and pressure of civil society that governments put the issue on the agenda.. As an example, she cited the Supply Chain Act that passed just two months ago in the German parliament, which obliges German companies to ensure that their international suppliers also respect the human rights of their employees.
"A step in the right direction," the debaters said, and they expect that a similar regulation will be adopted in the European Union.. Nevertheless: "The example shows that there is no progress without pressure when it comes to human rights", said Klaus Rackwitz.
According to Gabriela Heinrich, it is therefore important to continue raising the issue and to call on governments to respect the human rights of their citizens. Human rights violations very often mark the beginning of an armed conflict and if they are not prosecuted and those responsible are not held accountable, there will be no reconciliation.
Thomas Buergenthal and the principle of individual responsibility
Based on this firm belief, Thomas Buergenthal has been campaigning for decades for the criminal prosection of human rights violations worldwide. As a Holocaust survivor and lawyer, Professor Buergenthal was and remains a tireless advocate of the principle that governments and individuals must be held accountable for human rights violations under international law.
The film shows the extraordinary life of Judge Buergenthal and his influence on global efforts to educate and empower a new generation of lawyers to seek justice for victims and survivors and accountability for perpetrators.
The documentary by Ilona Kalmbach and Sabine Jainski (competent filmproduktion) presents the life and legacy of Judge Thomas Buergenthal, Honorary President of the Advisory Council of the International Nuremberg Principles Academy.The documentary has been realized with the kind support of the Zukunftsstiftung der Sparkasse Nürnberg.