The Nuremberg Trials: A Bibliographic Survey (2016-2021)


This is a short survey of the works published on the Nuremberg Trials, over the last five years, in the form of an in-depth, annotated list in which attention is drawn to the most significant works available in the Peace Palace Library. This is followed by a short introduction of the PPL Research Guide on this topic, the Nuremberg Trial Archives at the International Court of Justice, and a list of recent blogs on the internet.

The Nuremberg Trials mark an important moment in the history of international law. Individual war criminals, prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of Nazi-Germany, were held responsible and indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity and brought to justice before an international tribunal. The Nuremberg Trials provided a legal framework on which thereafter prosecution of international crimes was built and thus laid the foundation for international criminal law to emerge as a modern discipline.


The Nuremberg principle of individual criminal responsibility has played a foundational role in international criminal law. Post-Second World War treaties on criminal liability have all embodied this principle. Based on this principle, the post-Second World War trials began a trend where individuals have been held accountable through prosecution for violating established norms of international law. The prosecution of individuals responsible for international crimes has also been conducted in domestic courts of the country in which the crimes occurred, in international tribunals or in the domestic courts of other countries through the exercise of universal jurisdiction. Thus, international criminal law has historically been premised on the principle of individual criminal responsibility.

The practice in post-conflict states of Africa has also adopted the principle of individual criminal liability, albeit with different theoretical approaches. The ad hoc tribunals in Rwanda and the hybrid court of Sierra Leone have particularly pursued individual criminal liability for crimes committed in the respective state. There have also been several efforts to enforce the principle of individual criminal responsibility for international crimes in the national courts of some post-conflict states. These have been faced with numerous challenges alongside a few successful instances. Traditional African approaches to justice in some post-conflict states have also embraced individual accountability for past crimes, even though some practices also have elements of collective responsibility. It is the Protocol on Amendments to the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights (hereinafter the Malabo Protocol) that has sought to expand the principle of criminal liability for international crimes to expressly provide for corporate criminal liability for international crimes. The Malabo Protocol is the first international treaty to expressly incorporate the doctrine of corporate criminal liability. This is a significant step towards narrowing down the gap of impunity for international and transnational crimes committed by corporations. This chapter argues that although the principle of individual criminal responsibility is essential in fighting impunity in Africa, expanding it to include corporate criminal liability significantly seals the impunity gap for international crimes committed on the African continent. The study undertaken in this chapter is convinced by the argument that most of the conflicts in Africa are resource-based and that these are fuelled by multinational corporations (MNCs) that commit heinous crimes in the process of extracting and exporting the resources, often with impunity.

The objective of this work, resulting from the colloquium of September 30, 2016 in the Grand Chamber of the Court of Cassation, seventy years to the day after the pronouncement of the verdict of the Nuremberg Tribunal, is to move from a historical perspective to the lessons for international criminal justice.

The concept of crime against humanity retains all its specificity and relevance. From the founding act that constitutes the Nuremberg judgment, the foundations and constitutive elements of this crime are explored as well as its place with regard to the principles of sovereignty and penal legality.

The comparison of French law with international law makes it possible to reflect on the appropriate level of competence for the judgment of crimes against humanity, the borders of which with certain acts of terrorism tend to be blurred.

The experience of the various international criminal jurisdictions leads to the search for the most relevant procedural model, by laying the foundations for a universal figure of the trial. The reflection on the method of appointment of judges, with regard to the expected qualities and ethical obligations forging a common identity beyond national borders, gives rise to an international judicial power.

From the 'show' trials of the 1920s and 1930s to the London Conference, this book examines the Soviet role in the Nuremberg IMT trial through the prism of the ideas and practices of earlier Soviet legal history, detailing the evolution of Stalin's ideas about the trail of Nazi war criminals.

Stalin believed that an international trial for Nazi war criminals was the best way to show the world the sacrifices his country had made to defeat Hitler, and he, together with his legal mouthpiece Andrei Vyshinsky, maintained tight control over Soviet representatives during talks leading up to the creation of the Nuremberg IMT trial in 1945, and the trial itself. But Soviet prosecutors at Nuremberg were unable to deal comfortably with the complexities of an open, western-style legal proceeding, which undercut their effectiveness throughout the trial. However, they were able to present a significant body of evidence that underscored the brutal nature of Hitler's racial war in Russia from 1941-45, a theme which became central to Stalin's efforts to redefine international criminal law after the war.

Stalin's Soviet Justice provides a nuanced analysis of the Soviet justice system at a crucial turning point in European history and it will be vital reading for scholars and advanced students of the legal history of the Soviet Union, the history of war crimes and the aftermath of the Second World War.

It was a sensational find: after the Second World War, the lawyer Ben Ferencz discovered a folder with meticulously prepared SS incident reports - a chronicle of the mass murder. The resulting Einsatzgruppen trial in Nuremberg, in which Ben Ferencz appeared as chief prosecutor when he was just 27, is considered the largest murder trial in history. Later, too, he shaped important stages in contemporary history at the forefront, from the reparation policy of the FRG to the establishment of the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Philipp Gut had conversations with Ben Ferencz and uses the biography of this fascinating witness of the century to bring the history of the 20th century to life.

On December 9, 1946, in Nuremberg, the trial of German doctors began, preceded by that of Nazi dignitaries. The whole world is still in shock at the scale and gravity of the crimes perpetrated by the Nazis, and realizes the horror of the Shoah. The accusation highlights the particularly atrocious dimension of the medical experiments carried out on human beings in the concentration camps. What is at stake in this trial goes well beyond the criminal actions of a few rogue doctors. This is the very foundation of Nazism and its claim to erect a different code of behavior than that which men have finally favored, at least as a desirable horizon, in our societies of freedom and democracy.

The ethical questions raised by the medical experts of the prosecution and the answers they gave to the arguments of the defendants and their lawyers constitute a reflection which is at the origin of the Nuremberg Code. It will be continued and deepened a year later in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, then subsequently in the Declaration of Helsinki which sets out "ethical principles applicable to medical research on human subjects". The Nuremberg Code, whose historical significance is fundamental from a legal and medical point of view, defines the legitimacy of medical experiments and the status of people participating in an experiment.
iI thus announces the birth of modern bioethics.

This Special Edition commemorates the 70th Anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials and more than eighty years since the adoption of the Nuremberg Laws. To mark this Anniversary, Loyola Law School of Los Angeles held a symposium on November 20, 2015, the very day when the IMT trial began seventy years earlier. The symposium featured speakers from the United States and abroad and focused on the Nuremberg idea, its implementation seventy years ago, and its modern impact on law and society. The keynote presentation was delivered by Benjamin Ferencz, at age ninety-six, the last living Nuremberg prosecutor.

At 10.00 am on 20 November 1945, Sir Geoffrey Lawrence, the presiding judge at the first of the Nuremberg Trials, opened proceedings at what he described as a trial that was 'unique in the history of jurisprudence'.

What followed were 11 days of accusations and rebuttals that would determine the fate of 21 Nazi leaders and see the indictment of three others in their absence. The charges against them included war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes against peace and the conspiracy to commit those crimes. Judges, administrators and onlookers alike had to steel themselves as they listened to a catalogue of barbaric and sickening acts.

Compellingly, The Nuremberg Trials recalls the events of that first trial, the people involved - both accusers and accused - and explores the impact and consequences that it would have on subsequent trials at Nuremberg and in Tokyo (where Japanese leaders were also tried) and on the future of international law and tribunals.

A distinguished group of scholars from Germany, Israel and right across the United States are brought together in Nazi Law to investigate the ways in which Hitler and the Nazis used the law as a weapon, mainly against the Jews, to establish and progress their master plan for German society.

The book looks at how, after assuming power in 1933, the Nazi Party manipulated the legal system and the constitution in its crusade against Communists, Jews, homosexuals, as well as Jehovah's Witnesses and other religious and racial minorities, resulting in World War II and the Holocaust. It then goes on to analyse how the law was subsequently used by the opponents of Nazism in the wake of World War Two to punish them in the war crime trials at Nuremberg.

This is a valuable edited collection of interest to all scholars and students interested in Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.

At the end of World War II the victorious powers put the leaders of National Socialist Germany on the bench. Establishing themselves as a judge and part of the most terrible case ever brought, they were accused of conspiracy against peace, war of aggression, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The present work, carried out from the actual records of the trial, the interrogations and the witnesses who appeared in it, gives a voice to the judges and prosecutors, to defenders and the accused, to capture what happened in those days in Nuremberg without forgetting the background and the unique atmosphere in which this controversial and long-awaited trial took place.

A work based on the summaries and transcripts of the proceedings from Nuremberg. A spectacular work of documentation.

Based on a careful reading of the minutes of the International Nuremberg Trial, the author shows in the light of the debates in the courtroom and around the trial (Kelsen, in particular) how the shock of the Second World War and the atrocity of the Nazi crimes forced the victorious nations (prey to the accusation of "victors' justice") to reshape the legal structure of international relations. To this negative movement of repression, it was necessary to add a positive moment of construction: how to legitimize human rights in their universalisable character in order to make them fundamental rights of the citizens of the world? Such a perspective forces us to reflect with Habermas - whose book presents the most current thinking on these questions and whose translations of the texts discussed appear in parallel - on the conditions for a constitutionalization of international law and the possibility of the transnationalization of democracy. At the heart of which arises the question of global solidarity.

At the end of World War II the Allies faced a threefold challenge: how to punish perpetrators of appalling crimes for which the categories of ‘genocide’ and ‘crimes against humanity’ had to be coined; how to explain that these had been committed by Germany, of all nations; and how to reform Germans. The answer to this triple conundrum was the application of historical reasoning to legal procedure. In the Nuremberg trials held between 1945 and 1949, a concerted effort was made to punish key perpetrators while at the same time analysing the Nazi state and recounting German history. Building on a long debate about Germany’s divergence from a presumed Western path of development, Allied prosecutors sketched out how Germany had betrayed the Western model. The prosecutors laid out how private enterprise, academic science, the military, and the civil service, which looked ostensibly similar to their opposite numbers in the Allied nations, had been corrupted in Germany even before Hitler’s rise to power. While the argument, depending on individual protagonists, subject matters, and contexts, met with uneven success in court, it offered a final twist against the backdrop of the Cold War: although Germany had lost its way, it could still be brought back into the Western fold. The first comprehensive study of the Nuremberg trials, The Betrayal explores this process and sheds light on how history underpins transitional trials as we encounter them in today’s courtrooms from Arusha to The Hague.

The Archives of the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal

The collection of the Library of the International Court of Justice also includes the archives of the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal, which were entrusted to the International Court of Justice by a decision of the Tribunal of 1 October 1946. The archives were transported to the Peace Palace, where representatives of the Tribunal and the staff of the Court took delivery of them on 14 March 1950 (see picture below).

The archives of the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal consist of film footage, written documents, metal disk recordings of the hearings and a number of exhibits. In order to facilitate the long-term conservation of the intellectual content, the paper and audio-visual components of the archives have been digitized. An information booklet, prepared by the Registry in 2018 to mark the final stage of the digitization project, provides an overview of the archives.

All questions regarding consultation of these archives should be addressed in writing to the Registrar of the Court. (Source: ICJ)

Research Guide

This PPL Research Guide is intended as a starting point for research on the Nuremberg Trials. It provides the basic legal materials available in the Library, both in print and electronic format. Handbooks, leading articles, bibliographies, periodicals, serial publications and documents of interest are presented in the Selective Bibliography section. Links to the PPL Catalogue are inserted. The Library's subject heading (keyword) International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg is instrumental for searching through the Catalogue. Special attention is given to our subscriptions on databases, e-journals, e-books and other electronic resources. Finally, this Research Guide features links to relevant websites and other online resources of particular interest.


Complete Nuremberg Trials recordings online for the first time

January 16, 2021 by Cnaan Liphshiz

Complete Nuremberg Trials recordings online for the first time | The Times of Israel


An Eyewitness Account of the Nuremberg Trials

November 20, 2020 by Patricia Vander Elst

An Eyewitness Account of the Nuremberg Trials - AIIC


Nazis on trial: Nuremberg 75 years ago

November 20, 2020 by Rob Perks

Nazis on trial: Nuremberg 75 years ago - Sound and vision blog


The Nuremberg Trials and Their Profound Impact on International Law

October 1, 2019 by Tara Kibler

The Nuremberg Trials and Their Profound Impact on International Law | HeinOnline Blog


International Criminal Law and Corporate Actors - Part 1: From Slave Trade Tribunals to Nuremberg

May 7, 2019 by Maisie Biggs

Doing Business Right Blog (


Nuremberg trials a betrayal to history?

February 20, 2017 by Kerry-Luise Prior, Marjana Papa

Nuremberg trials a betrayal to history? | Völkerrechtsblog (