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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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Crimes Against Peace

Crimes Against Peace

(p.179) 8 Crimes Against Peace
The Nuremberg Military Tribunals and the Origins of International Criminal Law

Kevin Jon Heller

Oxford University Press

The tribunals generally followed the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg's approach to analyzing whether a defendant had committed crimes against peace. They began by determining whether the particular aggressive wars or invasions identified in the indictment did, in fact, qualify as such crimes. They then asked whether the defendants themselves were individually criminally responsible for them either directly or by participating in a common plan or conspiracy. That analytic framework structures this chapter. Section 1 focuses on the acts of aggression at issue in the trials, explaining why the tribunals extended crimes against peace to include invasions as well as wars. Section 2 discusses the elements of planning, preparing, initiating, and waging aggressive wars and invasions: the leadership requirement, the actus reus, and the mens rea. Finally, Section 3 explains why the tribunals uniformly rejected allegations that defendants had conspired to commit crimes against peace.

Keywords:   crimes against peace, war of aggression, invasion, common plan, conspiracy, leadership requirement, aggressive act

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