By Martin Mendelsohn
Special To The Jewish Week
As a representative of the Sobibor survivors at the last trial of John Demjanjuk, convicted of Nazi war crimes before his death at 91 last March, I offer a perspective on the trial, which was fair and without bias. The notion of war crimes and the prosecution for the violation of the international norms of legal behavior is something that permeated 20th-century diplomatic and legal thinking. It was a logical extension that “war crimes” and crimes against humanity would be prosecuted after the First World War. The first war crimes trials in Germany were held in the 1920s by German courts. Virtually all of the defendants were acquitted and the effort was soon abandoned, but it gave us the seeds that produced the process and the International War Crimes Tribunal at Nuremberg in 1945.
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