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Černínský palác ze zahrady
Photo: Antonín Nádvorník (©MZV)
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70 years since the establishment of the Nuremberg Tribunal


On 8 July 2015 we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Nuremberg Tribunal, the first international tribunal established with the aim to prosecute crimes committed during the World War II also on the territory of the former Czechoslovakia.

On 8 July 1945 the Agreement for the Prosecution and Punishment of the Major War Criminals of the European Axis which served as a legal basis for the establishment of the of the International Military Tribunal was signed in London. Czechoslovakia acceded to this agreement on 26 September 1945. The International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg (ie. The Nuremberg Tribunal) was established for the trial of German war criminals. The Statute of the Nuremberg Tribunal defined the most serious crimes under international law and other principles relevant for their prosecution. The Nuremberg Tribunal introduced one of the fundamental principles of international criminal law, which is the individual criminal responsibility for crimes under international law. The Statute also established important principles for the prosecution of persons, according to which the official position, e. g. of the head of state, cannot be an exculpatory or mitigating circumstance; in addition, the orders of a superior or the Government does not relieve the accused of his individual responsibility. The activities of the Nuremberg Tribunal were followed in 1990s by the international criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda and since 2003 by the International Criminal Court.

A leading Czech expert in international criminal law, Dr. Bohuslav Ečer, was involved in the work of the Nuremberg Tribunal. Dr. Ečer chaired the Czech delegation at the Nuremberg Tribunal, and later became an ad hoc judge of the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The Nuremberg Tribunal punished also those responsible for committing war crimes on the territory of former Czechoslovakia. For the Czech Republic the support for international criminal justice is therefore a logical and natural choice and a permanent part of the Czech Foreign Policy.