Dominic McGoldrick
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War crimes trials before international tribunals
Legality and legitimacy

An assessment of the historical place of any trials requires both a micro and a macro analysis. This chapter describes the history of national and international trials for 'war crimes' and considers the various purposes of war crimes trials. It presents the comparative examination of the establishment and functioning of the Nuremberg, Tokyo, Yugoslavian and Rwandan tribunals respectively. Nuremberg has been described as 'the most majestic forensic drama ever enacted on the stage of history'. Article 6 of the charter provided for jurisdiction over three categories of offence for which there was individual responsibility: crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The chapter highlights the principal features of the permanent international criminal court. It concludes with an assertion that that war crimes trials before international tribunals have moved closer and closer towards satisfying purer norms of legality and legitimacy.

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Domestic and international trials, 1700–2000

The trial in history, volume II



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