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From Nuremberg to the Hague: A Contrasting Study of War Crimes Tribunals.

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Master's thesis,

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On May 25, 1993 the United Nations established a war crimes tribunal at The Hague for the former Yugoslavia - the first such institution since Nuremberg. As the Hague Tribunal gathers evidence and hears cases, every aspect of its establishment, structure, and mode of operation is being compared to the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal IMT. Many people expect that the principles used to convict the accused at Nuremberg will be just as successfully applied at the Hague Tribunal. However, the cases differ in two important ways. The first difference concerns the factors that drove the establishment of the two events. The motives behind the creation of the IMT tribunal were largely political, while in the former Yugoslavia, though a limited political agenda exists, legal considerations have been paramount The second difference concerns the framework of applicable law. Nuremberg defendants were prosecuted in an ex-post facto manner whereas at the Hague Tribunal, due to codification of war crimes laws since the IMT, the prosecution is required to produce definitive evidence in order to gain conviction. Despite such differences, the Hague Tribunal proceedings are building on the Nuremberg precedent. Just as Nuremberg formed a milestone in the fusing of international law with fundamental moral principles, the Hague Tribunal will likely take this process a step further with the establishment of a permanent international criminal court, thereby creating some measure of deterrence for war crimes in the future.

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  • Sociology and Law
  • Government and Political Science

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