Trial by Fire: Newspaper Coverage of the Nuremberg Proceedings
Jessica C. E. Gienow-Hecht
During the 1991 Gulf War, Western journalists and politicians rallied behind the idea of charging Iraqi President Saddam Hussein with international war crimes. German foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher noted the similarities between Iraqi atrocities and those of Nazi war criminals tried in Nuremberg after World War II. Amnesty International denounced Saddam's violation of international law and his annihilation of the Kurds, calling for an international tribunal to prevent further bloodshed. Even U.S. President Bush considered international legal action along the lines of Nuremberg. With this measure he hoped to condemn the Iraqi conflagration and prevent further mass murders. Half a decade later, the international community again invoked the Nuremberg proceedings when condemning crimes against humanity in the course of the Bosnian-Serbian conflict.
In both cases, the supporters of an international trial ignored the underlying purpose of the International Court in 1945/46. The Nuremberg trial formed part of a larger reeducation program that the Allies envisioned for the reconstruction of Germany in their effort to transform the defeated country into a member of modern Western civilization. Today, nobody considers the reeducation of the Iraqi, Bosnian or Serbian people in order to prevent further battles in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. None of the contemporary cases reflects the idealism on the part of the judges nor the clear-cut division between judges