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Trials Involving Genocide Or Crimes Against Humanity

926 words - 4 pages

‘…it is often argued that trials involving genocide or crimes against humanity are less about judging the person than about establishing the truth of the events.’

‘In nearly all the criminal prosecutions concerned with crimes against humanity committed during or after World War II, some observers have doubted the ability of the criminal law to deal with the events precisely in view of their enormous moral, historical, or political significance.’

Show Trial v. The Need for Justice to be Done in the Public Realm
Hausner's intention was to not only demonstrate Eichmann's guilt but to present material about the entire Holocaust, thus producing a comprehensive record. In addition to ...view middle of the document...

Inherent tension between procedural requirements and didactic intentions
‘…what stood against a trial of the “real” Eichmann was the Israeli government’s intention to use the trial as a stage on which to display a politically usable past.’

‘…in 1961 it would have been possible to conduct a trial reflecting Eichmann’s crimes more accurately.’

“While the prosecution of Eichmann in Jerusalem in 1961, for example, was almost universally held to be necessary, few thought that the necessity lay in the need of punishing Eichmann, the person.”
‘Recording “the truth” and declaring it to the world through the criminal process has been held important for reasons that have little to do with the punishment of the individual. Instead, it has been thought necessary so as to enable the commencement of the healing process in the victim: only when the injustice to which a person has been subjected has been publicly recognised, the conditions for recovering from trauma are present and the dignity of the victim may be restored.’

But, arguably, this healing process had already been allowed to take place. Trials at Nuremberg, subsequent trials by the Allies, etc.

‘…if crimes against humanity really emerge from Kant labelled “radical evil”, an evil that exceeds the bounds of instrumental rationality, that seeks no objective beyond itself, then…’ the deterrent force of international criminal proceedings would be minimal.

‘…fitting crimes against humanity or other massive human rights violations into the deterrence frame requires some rather implausible psychological generalisations. Either the crimes are aspects of political normality – Arendt’s “banality of evil” – in which case there is no mens rea, or they take place in exceptional situations of massive destruction and personal danger when there is little liberty of action.’

‘…legal and historical...

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