Report of Robert H. Jackson: United States Representative to the International Conference on Military Trials, London, 1945

Report of Robert H. Jackson: United States Representative to the International Conference on Military Trials, London, 1945

Report of Robert H. Jackson: United States Representative to the International Conference on Military Trials, London, 1945

Report of Robert H. Jackson: United States Representative to the International Conference on Military Trials, London, 1945

Excerpt

The decision of the Department of State to publish the record of negotiations resulting in the London agreement of August 8, 1945, for the trial of major European war criminals and the accompanying charter of the International Military Tribunal makes appropriate some introductory information to help the reader integrate the separate documents and discussions into a general plan.

The United States, at the close of World War II, found itself in possession of high-ranking prisoners. Many of them had been publicly branded with personal blame for precipitating the war and for incitement or perpetration of acts of barbarism in connection with its preparation and conduct. This country, through President Franklin D. Roosevelt, had joined in rather definite commitments to bring such men to justice, but no treaty, precedent, or custom determined by what method justice should be done. The latter problem seems to have been given little consideration by any of the Allied governments until discussion of possible procedures was initiated early in 1945 at the Yalta Conference. Thereafter, as the documents set forth herein show, the United States proposal was expanded and refined into a draft of a proposed agreement which the United States submitted to the Foreign Ministers of France, Great Britain, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics at the San Francisco Conference. This American draft was again revised and on June 14 was resubmitted to the other governments. On June 26 representatives of the four nations met in London to chart a common course of action.

The four nations whose delegates sat down at London to reconcile their conflicting views represented the maximum divergence in legal concepts and traditions likely to be found among occidental nations. Great Britain and the United States, course, are known as common- law countries and, with some variations between their procedures, they together exemplify the system of law peculiar to English-speaking peoples. On the other hand, France and the Soviet Union both use variations of what generally may be called the Continental system. But between French and Soviet practice there are significant variations, occasioned perhaps by the different derivations of the two systems, the French having its roots in Roman law of the Westem Empire and the Russian having been influenced by Roman ideas chiefly from the Eastern Empire by way of Byzantium. It was to be ex-

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