Crimes against humanity are certain acts that are deliberately committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack or individual attack directed against any civilian or an identifiable part of a civilian population. The first prosecution for crimes against humanity took place at the Nuremberg trials. Crimes against humanity have since been prosecuted by other international courts (for example, the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and the International Criminal Court) as well as in domestic prosecutions. The law of crimes against humanity has primarily developed through the evolution of customary international law. Crimes against humanity are not codified in an international convention, although there is currently an international effort to establish such a treaty, led by the Crimes Against Humanity Initiative.
Unlike war crimes, crimes against humanity can be committed during peace or war. They are not isolated or sporadic events, but are part either of a government policy (although the perpetrators need not identify themselves with this policy) or of a wide practice of atrocities tolerated or condoned by a government or a de facto authority. War crimes, murder, massacres, dehumanization, genocide, ethnic cleansing, deportations, unethical human experimentation, extrajudicial punishments including summary executions, use of WMDs, state terrorism or state sponsoring of terrorism, death squads, kidnappings and forced disappearances, military use of children, unjust imprisonment, enslavement, cannibalism, torture, rape, political repression, racial discrimination, religious persecution and other human rights abuses may reach the threshold of crimes against humanity if they are part of a widespread or systematic practice.
The term "crimes against humanity" is potentially ambiguous because of the ambiguity of the word "humanity", which can mean humankind (all human beings collectively) or the value of humanness. The history of the term shows that the latter sense is intended.
There were several bilateral treaties in 1814 that foreshadowed the multilateral treaty of Final Act of the Congress of Vienna (1815) that used wording expressing condemnation of the slave trade using moral language. For example, the Treaty of Paris (1814) between Britain and France included the wording "principles of natural justice"; and the British and United States plenipotentiaries stated in the Treaty of Ghent (1814) that the slave trade violated the "principles of humanity and justice".
The multilateral Declaration of the Powers, on the Abolition of the Slave Trade, of 8 February 1815 (Which also formed Section XV of the Final Act of the Congress of Vienna of the same year) included in its first sentence the concept of the "principles of humanity and universal morality" as justification for ending a trade that was "odious in its continuance".
The term "crimes against humanity" was used by George Washington Williams in a pamphlet published in 1890 to describe the practices of Leopold II of Belgium's administration of the Congo Free State. In treaty law, the term originated in the Second Hague Convention of 1899 preamble and was expanded in the Fourth Hague Convention of 1907 preamble and their respective regulations, which were concerned with the codification of new rules of international humanitarian law. The preamble of the two Conventions referenced the “laws of humanity” as an expression of underlying inarticulated humanistic values. The term is part of what is known as the Martens Clause.
On May 24, 1915, the Allied Powers, Britain, France, and Russia, jointly issued a statement explicitly charging for the first time ever another government of committing "a crime against humanity". An excerpt from this joint statement reads:
In view of these new crimes of Ottoman Empire against humanity and civilization, the Allied Governments announce publicly to the Sublime Porte that they will hold personally responsible for these crimes all members of the Ottoman Government, as well as those of their agents who are implicated in such massacres.
At the conclusion of the war, an international war crimes commission recommended the creation of a tribunal to try "violations of the laws of humanity". However, the US representative objected to references to "law of humanity" as being imprecise and insufficiently developed at that time and the concept was not pursued.
After the Second World War, the London Charter of the International Military Tribunal set down the laws and procedures by which the Nuremberg trials were to be conducted. The drafters of this document were faced with the problem of how to respond to the Holocaust and the grave crimes committed by the Nazi regime. A traditional understanding of war crimes gave no provision for crimes committed by a power on its own citizens. Therefore, Article 6 of the Charter was drafted to include not only traditional war crimes and crimes against peace, but also crimes against humanity, defined as
Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated.
Under this definition, crimes against humanity could only be punished insofar as they could be connected somehow to war crimes or crimes against peace. The jurisdictional limitation was explained by the American chief representative to the London Conference, Robert H. Jackson, who pointed out that it "has been a general principle from time immemorial that the internal affairs of another government are not ordinarily our business". Thus, "it is justifiable that we interfere or attempt to bring retribution to individuals or to states only because the concentration camps and the deportations were in pursuance of a common plan or enterprise of making an unjust war". The judgement of the first Nuremberg trial found that "the policy of persecution, repression and murder of civilians" and persecution of Jews within Germany before the outbreak of war in 1939 were not crimes against humanity, because as "revolting and horrible as many of these crimes were, it has not been satisfactorily proved that they were done in execution of, or in connection with," war crimes or crimes against peace. The subsequent Nuremberg trials were conducted under Control Council Law No. 10 which included a revised definition of crimes against humanity with a wider scope.
The International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE), also known as the Tokyo Trial, was convened to try the leaders of the Empire of Japan for three types of crimes: "Class A" (crimes against peace), "Class B" (war crimes), and "Class C" (crimes against humanity), committed during the Second World War.
The legal basis for the trial was established by the Charter of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (CIMTFE) that was proclaimed on 19 January 1946. The tribunal convened on May 3, 1946, and was adjourned on November 12, 1948.
A panel of eleven judges presided over the IMTFE, one each from victorious Allied powers (United States, Republic of China, Soviet Union, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Provisional Government of the French Republic, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, British India, and the Philippines).
The different types of crimes which may constitute crimes against humanity differs between definitions both internationally and on the domestic level. Isolated inhumane acts of a certain nature committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack may instead constitute grave infringements of human rights, or – depending on the circumstances – war crimes, but are not classified as crimes against humanity.
The systematic persecution of one racial group by another, such as occurred during the South African apartheid government, was recognized as a crime against humanity by the United Nations General Assembly in 1976. The Charter of the United Nations (Article 13, 14, 15) makes actions of the General Assembly advisory to the Security Council. In regard to apartheid in particular, the UN General Assembly has not made any findings, nor have apartheid-related trials for crimes against humanity been conducted.
Neither the Nuremberg or Tokyo Charters contained an explicit provision recognizing sexual and gender-based crimes as war crimes or crimes against humanity, although Control Council Law No. 10 recognized rape as a crime against humanity. The statutes of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda both included rape as a crime against humanity. The ICC is the first international instrument expressly to include various forms of sexual and gender-based crimes – including rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilisation, and other forms of sexual violence – as both an underlying act of crimes against humanity and war crime committed in international and/or non-international armed conflicts. As an example, the events of Khojaly and Khatyn can be shown that the world strongly condemns. International institutions have asked for a ransom to avoid such incidents. There are hundreds of massacres, thousands of prisoners and wounded in these incidents.
In 2008, the U.N. Security Council adopted resolution 1820, which noted that "rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity or a constitutive act with respect to genocide".
Unlike genocide and war crimes, which have been widely recognized and prohibited in international criminal law since the establishment of the Nuremberg principles, there has never been a comprehensive convention on crimes against humanity, even though such crimes are continuously perpetrated worldwide in numerous conflicts and crises. There are eleven international texts defining crimes against humanity, but they all differ slightly as to their definition of that crime and its legal elements.
In 2008, the Crimes Against Humanity Initiative was launched by Professor Leila Nadya Sadat at the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute to address this gap in international law. The Initiative represents the first concerted effort to address the gap that exists in international criminal law by enumerating a comprehensive international convention on crimes against humanity.
On July 30, 2013, the United Nations International Law Commission voted to include the topic of crimes against humanity in its long-term program of work. In July 2014, the Commission moved this topic to its active programme of work based largely on a report submitted by Sean D. Murphy. Professor Sean D. Murphy, the United States’ Member on the United Nations’ International Law Commission, has been named the Special Rapporteur for Crimes Against Humanity. Sean D. Murphy attended the 2008 Experts' Meeting held by the Crimes Against Humanity Initiative prior to this appointment.
There is some debate on what the status of crimes against humanity under customary international law is. M. Cherif Bassiouni argues that crimes against humanity are part of jus cogens and as such constitute a non-derogable rule of international law.
The United Nations has been primarily responsible for the prosecution of crimes against humanity since it was chartered in 1948.
After Nuremberg, there was no international court with jurisdiction over crimes against humanity for almost 50 years. Work continued on developing the definition of crimes against humanity at the United Nations, however. In 1947, the International Law Commission was charged by the United Nations General Assembly with the formulation of the principles of international law recognized and reinforced in the Nuremberg Charter and judgment, and with drafting a ‘code of offenses against the peace and security of mankind’. Completed fifty years later in 1996, the Draft Code defined crimes against humanity as various inhumane acts, i.e., "murder, extermination, torture, enslavement, persecution on political, racial, religious or ethnic grounds, institutionalized discrimination, arbitrary deportation or forcible transfer of population, arbitrary imprisonment, rape, enforced prostitution and other inhuman acts committed in a systematic manner or on a large scale and instigated or directed by a Government or by any organization or group." This definition differs from the one used in Nuremberg, where the criminal acts were to have been committed “before or during the war”, thus establishing a nexus between crimes against humanity and armed conflict.
A report on the 2008–09 Gaza War by Richard Goldstone accused Palestinian and Israeli forces of possibly committing a crime against humanity. In 2011, Goldstone said that he no longer believed that Israeli forces had targeted civilians or committed a crime against humanity.
On 21 March 2013, at its 22nd session, the United Nations Human Rights Council established the Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The Commission is mandated to investigate the systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, with a view to ensuring full accountability, in particular for violations which may amount to crimes against humanity. The Commission dealt with matters relating to crimes against humanity on the basis of definitions set out by customary international criminal law and in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The 2014 Report by the commission found "the body of testimony and other information it received establishes that crimes against humanity have been committed in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, pursuant to policies established at the highest level of the State... These crimes against humanity entail extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation. The commission further finds that crimes against humanity are ongoing in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea because the policies, institutions and patterns of impunity that lie at their heart remain in place." Additionally, the commission found that crimes against humanity have been committed against starving populations, particularly during the 1990s, and are being committed against persons from other countries who were systematically abducted or denied repatriation, in order to gain labour and other skills for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
UN Security Council Resolution 1674, adopted by the United Nations Security Council on 28 April 2006, "reaffirms the provisions of paragraphs 138 and 139 of the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document regarding the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity". The resolution commits the Council to action to protect civilians in armed conflict.
In 2008 the U.N. Security Council adopted resolution 1820, which noted that “rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity or a constitutive act with respect to genocide”.
After the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials of 1945-1946, the next international tribunal with jurisdiction over crimes against humanity was not established for another five decades. In response to atrocities committed in the 1990s, multiple ad hoc tribunals were established with jurisdiction over crimes against humanity. The statutes of the International Criminal Court, the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugolavia and for Rwanda each contain different definitions of crimes against humanity.
In 1993, the UN Security Council established the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), with jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute three international crimes which had taken place in the former Yugoslavia: genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Article 5 of the ICTY Statute states that
The International Tribunal shall have the power to prosecute persons responsible for the following crimes when committed in armed conflict, whether international or internal in character, and directed against any civilian population:
- (a) murder;
- (b) extermination;
- (c) enslavement;
- (d) deportation;
- (e) imprisonment;
- (f) torture;
- (g) rape;
- (h) persecutions on political, racial and religious grounds;
- (i) other inhumane acts."
This definition of crimes against humanity revived the original ‘Nuremberg’ nexus with armed conflict, connecting crimes against humanity to both international and non-international armed conflict. It also expanded the list of criminal acts used in Nuremberg to include imprisonment, torture and rape. Cherif Bassiouni has argued that this definition was necessary as the conflict in the former Yugoslavia was considered to be a conflict of both an international and non-international nature. Therefore, this adjusted definition of crimes against humanity was necessary to afford the tribunal jurisdiction over this crime.
The UN Security Council established the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 1994 following the Rwandan Genocide. Under the ICTR Statute, the link between crimes against humanity and an armed conflict of any kind was dropped. Rather, the requirement was added that the inhumane acts must be part of a “systematic or widespread attack against any civilian population on national, political, ethnic, racial or religious grounds.” Unlike the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, the conflict in Rwanda was deemed to be non-international, so crimes against humanity would likely not have been applicable if the nexus to armed conflict had been maintained.
In 2002, the International Criminal Court (ICC) was established in The Hague (Netherlands) and the Rome Statute provides for the ICC to have jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The definition of what is a "crime against humanity" for ICC proceedings has significantly broadened from its original legal definition or that used by the UN. Essentially, the Rome Statute employs the same definition of crimes against humanity that the ICTR Statute does, minus the requirement that the attack was carried out ‘on national, political, ethnic, racial or religious grounds’. In addition, the Rome Statute definition offers the most expansive list of specific criminal acts that may constitute crimes against humanity to date.
Article 7 of the treaty stated that:
For the purpose of this Statute, "crime against humanity" means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:
- (a) Murder;
- (b) Extermination;
- (c) Enslavement;
- (d) Deportation or forcible transfer of population;
- (e) Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law;
- (f) Torture;
- (g) Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity;
- (h) Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court;
- (i) Enforced disappearance of persons;
- (j) The crime of apartheid;
- (k) Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health;
The Rome Statute Explanatory Memorandum states that crimes against humanity
are particularly odious offenses in that they constitute a serious attack on human dignity or grave humiliation or a degradation of one or more human beings. They are not isolated or sporadic events, but are part either of a government policy (although the perpetrators need not identify themselves with this policy) or of a wide practice of atrocities tolerated or condoned by a government or a de facto authority. However, murder, extermination, torture, rape, political, racial, or religious persecution and other inhumane acts reach the threshold of crimes against humanity only if they are part of a widespread or systematic practice. Isolated inhumane acts of this nature may constitute grave infringements of human rights, or depending on the circumstances, war crimes, but may fall short of meriting the stigma attaching to the category of crimes under discussion. On the other hand, an individual may be guilty of crimes against humanity even if he perpetrates one or two of the offences mentioned above, or engages in one such offense against only a few civilians, provided those offenses are part of a consistent pattern of misbehavior by a number of persons linked to that offender (for example, because they engage in armed action on the same side or because they are parties to a common plan or for any similar reason.) Consequently when one or more individuals are not accused of planning or carrying out a policy of inhumanity, but simply of perpetrating specific atrocities or vicious acts, in order to determine whether the necessary threshold is met one should use the following test: one ought to look at these atrocities or acts in their context and verify whether they may be regarded as part of an overall policy or a consistent pattern of an inhumanity, or whether they instead constitute isolated or sporadic acts of cruelty and wickedness.
To fall under the Rome Statute, a crime against humanity which is defined in Article 7.1 must be "part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population". Article 7.2.a states "For the purpose of paragraph 1: "Attack directed against any civilian population means a course of conduct involving the multiple commission of acts referred to in paragraph 1 against any civilian population, pursuant to or in furtherance of a State or organizational policy to commit such attack." This means that an individual crime on its own, or even a number of such crimes, would not fall under the Rome Statute unless they were the result of a State policy or an organizational policy. This was confirmed by Luis Moreno Ocampo in an open letter publishing his conclusions about allegations of crimes committed during the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 which might fall under the ICC. In a section entitled "Allegations concerning Genocide and Crimes against Humanity" he states that "the available information provided no reasonable indicator of the required elements for a crime against humanity," i.e. 'a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population'".
The ICC can only prosecute crimes against humanity in situations under which it has jurisdiction. The ICC only has jurisdiction over crimes contained in its statute - genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity - which have been committed on the territory of a State party to the Rome Statute, when a non-party State refers a situation within its country to the court or when the United Nation Security Council refers a case to the ICC. In 2005 the UN referred to the ICC the situation in Darfur. This referral resulted in an indictment of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in 2008. When the ICC President reported to the UN regarding its progress handling these crimes against humanity case, Judge Phillipe Kirsch said "The Court does not have the power to arrest these persons. That is the responsibility of States and other actors. Without arrests, there can be no trials.
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 30 April 2002 issued a recommendation to the member states, on the protection of women against violence. In the section "Additional measures concerning violence in conflict and post-conflict situations", states in paragraph 69 that member states should: "penalize rape, sexual slavery, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity as an intolerable violation of human rights, as crimes against humanity and, when committed in the context of an armed conflict, as war crimes;"
In the Explanatory Memorandum on this recommendation when considering paragraph 69:
Reference should be made to the Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal adopted in Rome in July 1998. Article 7 of the Statute defines rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity, as crimes against humanity. Furthermore, Article 8 of the Statute defines rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization or any other form of sexual violence as a serious breach of the Geneva Conventions and as war crimes.
Sources say the 20th century can be considered the bloodiest period in global history. Millions of civilian infants, youngsters, adults, and elderly people died in warfare. One civilian perished for every combatant killed. Efforts of the International Committee of the Red Cross, humanitarian laws, and rules of warfare were not able to stop these crimes against humanity. These terminologies were invented since previous vocabulary was not enough to describe these offenses. War criminals did not fear prosecution, apprehension, or imprisonment before World War II. Britain’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill favored the outright execution of war criminals. The United States was more lenient and called for a just trial. The British Government was convinced to institute the Nuremberg Trial which left several legacies. These are worldwide jurisdiction for severe war crimes are, creation of international war crime tribunals, judicial procedures that documented history of colossal crimes effectively, and success of UN courts in holding impartial trials.
The UN pointed out the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) specifically Article 7 (Crimes against Humanity which defines large-scale acts of violence against a locality’s civilian populace. These acts consist of murder; annihilation; enslavement; bondage; forced removal of the population; imprisonment or deprivation of physical liberty that violates international laws; maltreatment; forced prostitution and rape; discrimination and tyranny against certain groups; apartheid (racial discrimination and segregation); and, other inhumane acts. A publication from Trial International mentioned that crimes against humanity have been collated starting in 1990. These were the 1993 Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (now called the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, 1994 Statute of the International Tribunal for Rwanda, and 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal. The latter contains the latest and most extensive list of detailed crimes against civilians.
Alfred Josef Ferdinand Jodl (listen ; 10 May 1890 – 16 October 1946) was a German general during World War II, who served as the Chief of the Operations Staff of the Armed Forces High Command (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht).
After the war, Jodl was indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit crimes against peace; planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression; war crimes; and crimes against humanity at the Allied-organised Nuremberg trials. The principal charges against him related to his signature of the criminal Commando and Commissar Orders. Found guilty on all charges, he was sentenced to death and executed in 1946.Charles Taylor (Liberian politician)
Charles McArthur Ghankay Taylor (born 28 January 1948) is a Liberian war criminal and former politician who served as the 22nd President of Liberia from 2 August 1997 until his resignation on 11 August 2003.Born in Arthington, Montserrado County, Liberia, Taylor earned a degree at Bentley College in the United States before returning to Liberia to work in the government of Samuel Doe. After being removed for embezzlement, he eventually arrived in Libya, where he was trained as a guerrilla fighter. He returned to Liberia in 1989 as the head of a Libyan-backed rebel group, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia, to overthrow the Doe government, initiating the First Liberian Civil War (1989–96). Following Doe's execution, Taylor gained control of a large portion of the country and became one of the most prominent warlords in Africa. Following a peace deal that ended the war, Taylor was elected president in the 1997 general election.During his term of office, Taylor was accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity as a result of his involvement in the Sierra Leone Civil War (1991–2002). Domestically, opposition to his government grew, culminating in the outbreak of the Second Liberian Civil War (1999–2003). By 2003, Taylor had lost control of much of the countryside and was formally indicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone. That year, he resigned, as a result of growing international pressure, and went into exile in Nigeria. In 2006, the newly elected President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, formally requested his extradition. He was detained by UN authorities in Sierra Leone and then at the Penitentiary Institution Haaglanden in The Hague, awaiting trial by the Special Court. He was found guilty in April 2012 of all eleven charges levied by the Special Court, including terror, murder and rape. In May 2012, Taylor was sentenced to 50 years in prison. Reading the sentencing statement, Presiding Judge Richard Lussick said: "The accused has been found responsible for aiding and abetting as well as planning some of the most heinous and brutal crimes in recorded human history."Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act
The Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act (CAHWCA) is a statute of the Parliament of Canada. The Act implements Canada's obligations under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. In passing the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act on 24 June 2000 and having royal assent given on 29 June 2000, Canada became the first country in the world to incorporate the obligations of the Rome Statute into its domestic laws. It replaced earlier 1987 legislation targeting Nazi war criminals passed in the immediate wake of the Deschênes Commission.Crimes against humanity under Communist regimes
Crimes against humanity have occurred under various Communist regimes. Actions such as forced deportation, terror, ethnic cleansing, and the deliberate starvation of people such as during the Holodomor and the Great Leap Forward have been described as crimes against humanity. In the 2008 Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism it was stated that crimes committed under communism were often crimes against humanity, according to the definition developed in the Nuremberg Trials, and that the crimes committed under Communism and National Socialism were comparable. Very few people have been tried for these crimes, although Cambodia has prosecuted members of the Khmer Rouge and Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have passed laws that have led to the prosecution of several perpetrators for crimes against the Baltic peoples. They were tried for crimes committed during the Occupation of the Baltic states in 1940 and 1941, and during the reoccupation after the war. There were also trials for attacks by the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD) on the Forest Brethren.Erich Naumann
Erich Naumann (29 April 1905 – 7 June 1951) was an SS-Brigadeführer, member of the SD. Naumann was responsible for genocide in eastern Europe as commander of Einsatzgruppe B and was a convicted war criminal.Ernst Kaltenbrunner
Ernst Kaltenbrunner (4 October 1903 – 16 October 1946) was an Austrian-born senior official of Nazi Germany during World War II. An Obergruppenführer (general) in the Schutzstaffel (SS), between January 1943 and May 1945 he held the offices of Chief of the Reich Main Security Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt; RSHA). He was the highest-ranking member of the SS to face trial at the first Nuremberg trials. He was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity and executed by hanging.Estonian International Commission for Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity
The Estonian International Commission for Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity (also known as the History Commission or Max Jakobson Commission) was the commission established by President of Estonia Lennart Meri in October 1998 to investigate crimes against humanity committed in Estonia or against its citizens during the Soviet and German occupation, such as Soviet deportations from Estonia and the Holocaust in Estonia. It held its first session in Tallinn in January 1999. Finnish diplomat Max Jakobson was appointed chairman of the commission. For purposes of independence (no conflict of interest), there were no Estonian citizens among its members.
Research of the Commission has been relied on by the European Court of Human Rights, for example in its decision to not grant certiorari to review a complaint by August Kolk and Pyotr Kislyy, who had been convicted of crimes against humanity due to their roles in the Soviet deportations from Estonia.The Commission was disbanded in 2007 and was succeeded by the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory.Forced pregnancy
Forced pregnancy is the practice of forcing a woman to become pregnant, often as part of a forced marriage, or as part of a programme of breeding slaves, or as part of a programme of genocide. When a forced pregnancy leads to reproduction, it is a form of reproductive coercion.Franz Hössler
Franz Hößler, also Franz Hössler (listen ; 4 February 1906 – 13 December 1945) was a Nazi German SS-Obersturmführer and Schutzhaftlagerführer at the Auschwitz-Birkenau, Dora-Mittelbau and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps during World War II. Captured by the Allies at the end of the war, Hößler was charged with crimes against humanity in the First Bergen-Belsen Trial, found guilty, and sentenced to death. He was executed by hanging at Hameln Prison in 1945.Hans Frank
Hans Michael Frank (23 May 1900 – 16 October 1946) was a German war criminal and lawyer who worked for the Nazi Party during the 1920s and 1930s, and later became Adolf Hitler's personal lawyer. After the invasion of Poland, Frank became Nazi Germany's chief jurist in the occupied Poland "General Government" territory. During his tenure throughout World War II (1939–45), he instituted a reign of terror against the civilian population and became directly involved in the mass murder of Jews. At the Nuremberg trials, he was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity and was executed.Josef Bühler
Josef Bühler (also referred to as Joseph Buehler) (16 February 1904 – 22 August 1948) was a state secretary and deputy governor to the Nazi Germany-controlled General Government in Kraków during World War II.Karl Brandt
Karl Brandt (8 January 1904 – 2 June 1948) was a German physician and Schutzstaffel (SS) officer in Nazi Germany. Trained in surgery, Brandt joined the Nazi Party in 1932 and became Adolf Hitler's escort doctor in August 1934. A member of Hitler's inner circle at the Berghof, he was selected by Philipp Bouhler, the head of Hitler's Chancellery, to administer the Aktion T4 euthanasia program. Brandt was later appointed the Reich Commissioner of Sanitation and Health (Bevollmächtigter für das Sanitäts- und Gesundheitswesen). Accused of involvement in human experimentation and other war crimes, Brandt was indicted in late 1946 and faced trial before a U.S. military tribunal along with 22 others in United States of America v. Karl Brandt, et al. He was convicted, sentenced to death, and later hanged on 2 June 1948.Karl Gebhardt
Karl Franz Gebhardt (23 November 1897 – 2 June 1948) was a German medical doctor and a war criminal during World War II. He served as Medical Superintendent of the Hohenlychen Sanatorium, Consulting Surgeon of the Waffen-SS, Chief Surgeon in the Staff of the Reich Physician SS and Police, and personal physician to Heinrich Himmler.Gebhardt was the main coordinator of a series of surgical experiments performed on inmates of the concentration camps at Ravensbrück and Auschwitz. These experiments were an attempt to defend his approach to the surgical management of grossly contaminated traumatic wounds, against the then-new innovations of antibiotic treatment of injuries acquired on the battlefield.During the Subsequent Nuremberg Trials, Gebhardt stood trial in the Doctors' trial (American Military Tribunal No. I). He was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity and sentenced to death on 20 August 1947. He was hanged on 2 June 1948, in Landsberg Prison in Bavaria.Ludwig Fischer
Ludwig Fischer (April 16, 1905 – March 8, 1947) was a German Nazi Party lawyer, politician and a convicted war criminal who was executed for war crimes.Maria Mandl
Maria Mandl (also spelled Mandel; 10 January 1912 – 24 January 1948) was an Austrian SS-Helferin infamous for her key role in the Holocaust as a top-ranking official at the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp where she is believed to have been directly complicit in the deaths of over 500,000 female prisoners. She was executed for war crimes.Maximilian Grabner
Maximilian Grabner (2 October 1905 – 28 January 1948) was an Austrian Gestapo chief in Auschwitz. At Auschwitz, the infamous torture chamber Block 11 was Grabner's own empire. He was executed for crimes against humanity.Wilhelm Frick
Wilhelm Frick (12 March 1877 – 16 October 1946) was a prominent German politician of the Nazi Party (NSDAP), who served as Reich Minister of the Interior in the Hitler Cabinet from 1933 to 1943 and as the last governor of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. After World War II, he was tried and convicted of war crimes at the Nuremberg Trials and executed by hanging.Wilhelm Keitel
Wilhelm Bodewin Johann Gustav Keitel (22 September 1882 – 16 October 1946) was a German field marshal who served as Chief of the Armed Forces High Command (German: Oberkommando der Wehrmacht or OKW) in Nazi Germany during World War II. According to David Stahel, Keitel was "well known and [...] reviled as Hitler’s dependable mouthpiece and habitual yes-man" among his military colleagues.Following the war, Keitel was charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. He was found guilty, sentenced to death and executed by hanging in 1946. He was the third highest-ranking German officer to be tried at Nuremberg.Wolfram Sievers
Wolfram Sievers (10 July 1905 – 2 June 1948) was Reichsgeschäftsführer, or managing director, of the Ahnenerbe from 1935 to 1945.