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Human Rights and Peace Law Docket

Ann Fagan Ginger • Editor
Jim Ginger • Associate Editor

Principle I

Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefor and liable to punishment.

Principle II

The fact that internal law does not impose a penalty for an act which constitutes a crime under international law does not relieve the person who committed the act from responsibility under international law.

Principle III

The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law acted as Head of State or responsible government official does not relieve him from responsibility under international law.

Principle IV

The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.

Principle V

Any person charged with a crime under international law has the right to a fair trial on the facts and law.

Principle VI

The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:

a. Crimes against peace: (i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances; (ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).

b. War crimes: Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.

c. Crimes against humanity: Atrocities and offenses, including but not limited to murder, extermination, deportation, imprisonment, torture, rape, or other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds whether or not in violation of the domestic laws of the country where perpetrated.\|[bull ]\|

Principle VII

Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principle VI is a crime under international law.

Sources: Charter of the International Military Tribunal, Aug. 8, 1945, 59 Stat. 546, 546-47. The U.N. General Assembly unanimously affirmed "the principles of international law recognized by the Charter of Nuremberg Tribunal & the judgment of the Tribunal." G.A. Res. 95(I), 188 U.N. Doc. A/64/Add.1 (1946); International Law Commission formulation. [1950] 2 Y.B. Int'l L. Comm'n 374-78. U.N. Doc. A/CN.4/SER.A/ 1950/Add 1. The Principles are set forth in Dep't of the U.S. Army, Field Manual FM2710, The Law of Land Warfare sec. 498511(1956).