The Nuremberg trials (German: Nürnberger Prozesse) were a series of military tribunals held following World War II by the Allied forces under international law and the laws of war. The trials were most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, judicial, and economic leadership of Nazi Germany, who planned, carried out, or otherwise participated in the Holocaust and other war crimes. The trials were held in Nuremberg, Germany, and their decisions marked a turning point between classical and contemporary international law.
|Court||International Military Tribunal|
|Decided||November 20, 1945 – October 1, 1946|
|Subsequent action(s)||See below; twelve German defendants sentenced to death|
|Judges sitting|| Geoffrey Lawrence (President)|
John J. Parker
Henri Donnedieu de Vabres
The first and best known of the trials was that of the major war criminals before the International Military Tribunal (IMT). It was described as "the greatest trial in history" by Sir Norman Birkett, one of the British judges present throughout. Held between 20 November 1945 and 1 October 1946, the Tribunal was given the task of trying 24 of the most important political and military leaders of the Third Reich. Primarily treated here is the first trial, conducted by the International Military Tribunal. Further trials of lesser war criminals were conducted under Control Council Law No. 10 at the U.S. Nuremberg Military Tribunal (NMT), which included the Doctors' trial and the Judges' Trial.
The categorization of the crimes and the constitution of the court represented a juridical advance that would be followed afterward by the United Nations for the development of an international jurisprudence in matters of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and wars of aggression, and led to the creation of the International Criminal Court. For the first time in international law, the Nuremberg indictments also mention genocide (count three, war crimes: "the extermination of racial and national groups, against the civilian populations of certain occupied territories to destroy particular races and classes of people and national, racial, or religious groups, particularly Jews, Poles, and Gypsies and others.")