An assessment of the historical place of any trials requires both a micro and
a macro analysis. This chapter describes the history of national and
international trials for 'war crimes' and considers the various
purposes of war crimes trials. It presents the comparative examination of
the establishment and functioning of the Nuremberg, Tokyo, Yugoslavian and
Rwandan tribunals respectively. Nuremberg has been described as 'the
most majestic forensic drama ever enacted on the stage of history'.
Article 6 of the charter provided for jurisdiction over three categories of
offence for which there was individual responsibility: crimes against peace,
war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The chapter highlights the
principal features of the permanent international criminal court. It
concludes with an assertion that that war crimes trials before international
tribunals have moved closer and closer towards satisfying purer norms of
legality and legitimacy.
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