Crimes against humanity are criminal acts of violence apart of a full scale attack on a civil population. This would include the nanking massacre, holocaust or even the enslavement of africans in the 15th century (PortCities). Those past situations set precedent for future ones but it is difficult to take legal action towards today’s conflicts such as the slave trade happening in libya.
You would think an issue so big will not happen again because we would learn from our mistakes and that we will set laws to prevent the future population from making the same mistakes but yet no one’s learning. In fact many modern crimes against humanity are starting to become as big of an issue such as the holocaust and Slavery. History looks back at these as examples of crimes against humanity but many modern crimes see a blend displacement, rape, and torture (Crimes against humanity,2016). These Modern crimes that are surfacing in today’s day and age is sad to hear about in the 21’st century as we have gone several years looking up to strong leaders and organizations like Martin luther King and the United Nations putting an end to such hateful crimes. Thesis: The word holocaust comes from the greek word “Holos” and “Kaustos”, which mean “whole” and “burn”, the term used to refer to a sacrificial offering that was laid on an alter and burned but since the 20th century the word has taken on a new and horrible meaning (History.com staff, 2009).
Now it refers to the systematic murder of six million european jews by the nazi party although it is hard to talk about the holocaust without referring to world war 1 they are not the same thing. The holocaust was one of the worst genocides the world has ever seen, fully ? of the jewish population was murdered not as part of the war effort but simply because of hate (Lehnardt, 2016). After world war one as the result of the treaty of versaille, germany was in a state of economic failure and depression with little hope of recovery. Hitler and the nazi party rose to power and it was partly because they found someone to blame for the countries difficulties, the jews. Anti- semitism had been present in europe and for hitler the jews became a target to direct all of his anger and frustration(History.com staff, 2009).
According to hitler it was necessary for germans to “occupy themselves not merely with the breeding of dogs, horses, and cats but also with care for the purity of their own blood” (Hitler,1995). This is referring to the nuremberg law which restricts germans of marrying jew so there blood would be “pure”. He also refers to the holocaust in which he says “must necessarily be a bloody process,” (Hitler,1995).
His discrimination began with limiting the jews freedoms and rights using the nuremberg laws. Which forbidden jews to get jobs and were no longer considered citizens(Hoyt,1988). The Nuremberg Laws is what started the nazi policy sharing their hatred of jews with the rest of germany and later on with their allies. The Nuremberg Laws lead to the Holocaust, which proved to people the extent germans can take measures, to purify their land (Hoyt,1988).
This showed when hitler decided to build up to 40,000 camps, 6 of them being death camps all located in poland(Lehnardt, 2016). These death camps can be distinguished from the concentration camps because their primary purpose was to exterminate jews, gypises, homosexulas as well as disabled people who were deemed unfit(Lehnardt, 2016). So why is the holocaust so important, well it proved that the old roman word “Homo Homini Lupus” which is “man is a wolf to man”(Chodoff, 1981). After the war, high ranking officials of the nazi party were held accountable for the crimes through the nuremberg trials.
The nuremberg trials was a series of international prosecutions that decided the fates of nazi war criminals (Taylor, 2013). Why hold theses trials in the city of nuremberg? Well for one, unlike a lot of german towns this one was relatively undamaged by the war; just as importantly the city had been the site of several nazi rallies. Prosecuting nazi leaders there brought a symbolic closure. The trials were administered by four principal nations of the allied powers: the united states, great britain, the soviet union, and france(Taylor, 2013). However, each of these countries had their own laws in the legal system, and had to settle on a common framework of justice. They couldn’t try each defendant four different ways. So, in august of 1945 they all sat down wrote out the london charter of the international military tribunal(King,1994). With the london charter, the allies agreed that the defendants would stand trials and be allowed to have their own defence attorneys(King,1994).
Instead of a single judge, there would be a tribunal, four judges one from each allied country. The london charter also defined the three major charges each criminal would face: crimes against peace like planning and starting a war, war crimes;such as killing Prisoners of War (POW) and crimes against humanity in other words killing civilians as the nazi did during the holocaust (Overy, 2011). The trials lasted in nuremberg from 1945 to 1949, but the highest profile cases were brought to court between 1945 and 1946 (History.com Staff, 2010). This period was known as the trial of major war criminals (History.com Staff, 2010).
Among the 22 nazis leaders on trial at nuremberg was hermann goring, deputy fuhrer Rudolf Hess, nazi foreign minister joachim Von Ribbentrop, and the german architect Albert Speer (Linder,1995). The horror and crimes of the nazis were put on display for all the world to see. In october of 1946, the court handed down its verdicts, 12 death sentences including those for Goring and Ribbentrop. 3 got life in prison, four got lengthy jail terms and three were acquitted (klein, 2016). While the trials had its strengths in which convicted war criminals it also had some weakness. The trial most focused on the nazi officials who had done the most heinous crimes, never being able to prosecute the average german officers who may have committed a violation as well (Gooley, 2012).
Nothing can undo the devastation of the war. Nothing can bring back the millions of lives lost in the holocaust and the millions more lost in battle, but the nuremberg trials were an important step towards rebuilding a international system of justice. They established important legal precedents for future international trials. Including those for japanese war criminals and for trials decades later in rwanda and the former yugoslavia.