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The Nuremberg Military Tribunals and the Origins of International Criminal Law$
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Kevin Jon Heller

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199554317

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199554317.001.0001

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Jurisdiction and Legal Character of the Tribunals

Jurisdiction and Legal Character of the Tribunals

Chapter:
(p.107) 5 Jurisdiction and Legal Character of the Tribunals
Source:
The Nuremberg Military Tribunals and the Origins of International Criminal Law
Author(s):

Kevin Jon Heller

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199554317.003.0006

This chapter explores the jurisdiction and legal character of the Nuremberg Military Tribunals. Section 1 discusses the tribunals' subject-matter jurisdiction, with a particular emphasis on the ways in which Law No. 10 went beyond the substantive provisions of the London Charter. Section 2 examines the vexing issue of whether the tribunals were American courts, as the defendants insisted, or international courts, as the tribunals themselves insisted. It concludes that, in fact, they were neither — they were inter-allied special tribunals created by the Allied Control Council pursuant to its sovereign legislative authority in Germany. Section 3 explains why, even though they were not international courts, the tribunals nevertheless applied international law. Section 4 addresses the issue of whether the law applied by the tribunals violated the principle of non-retroactivity, particularly the provisions of Law No. 10 that went beyond the London Charter. Finally, Section 5 focuses on the personal jurisdiction of the tribunals, demonstrating that their ability to prosecute the defendants was based on an amalgam of passive-personality, protective, and universal jurisdiction.

Keywords:   Law No. 10, Ordinance No. 7, London Charter, Allied Control Council, debellatio, retroactivity, ex post facto, personal jurisdiction, international law

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