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In early October 1945 the four powers victorious after the Second World War issued an indictment against 24 men and six organizations Fifty years ago the Prosecutions opening statement was read by Associate United States Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson Just eight months prior to that reading the very building in which the historical trial took place was an enemy fortress in the hands of German troops The Nuremberg Trials are historically significant because they represent the first time leaders of a defeated nation were prosecuted in the name of International law- the first time such leaders were actually given a chance to plead for their lives in a tribunal setting The Indictment The charges pertaining to the six organizations were designed around the problem of what to do with the hundreds of thousands of people who had been members of organizations such as the SS and the Gestapo To indict an organization raised an important legal question regarding the legitimacy of creating a system whereby one could be found guilty based solely on proof of his association with that organization The idea behind creating such a system was to find these organizations to have been criminal and then to later hold hearings to determine to what extent a member was guilty The indictment alleged four counts of wrongdoing Count One- Conspiracy to Wage Aggressive War Count Two- Waging Aggressive War or Crimes Against Peace Count Three- War Crimes and Count Four- Crimes Against Humanity Issues Conspiracy although we didnt talk about it in class was mentioned as a specific intent crime that is the intent to commit the crime cannot be inferred merely because of acts that were undertaken by the defendant Considering this in the context of the Nuremberg defendants to prove that each of the twenty-one men involved individually had the requisite intent to conspire to commit aggressive war would be difficult Solely demonstrating that they were all
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