The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1996/05/03

                         Chapter II
       Charter Of The International Military Tribunal

Article 1. In pursuance of the Agreement signed on 8th day
of August 1945 by the Government of the United States of
America, the Provisional Government of the French Republic,
the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Northern Ireland and the Government of the Union of Soviet
Socialist Republics, there shall be established an
International Military Tribunal (hereinafter called "the
Tribunal") for the just and prompt trial and punishment of
the major war criminals of the European Axis.

Article 2. The Tribunal shall consist of four members each
with an alternate. One member and one alternate shall be
appointed by each of the Signatories. The alternates shall,
so far as they are able, be present at all sessions of the
Tribunal. In case of illness of any member of the Tribunal
or his incapacity for some other reason to fulfill his
functions, his alternate shall take his place.

Article 3. Neither the Tribunal, its members nor their
alternates can be challenges by the prosecution, or by the
defendants or their Counsel. Each Signatory may replace its
member of the Tribunal or his alternate for reasons of
health or for other good reasons, except that
no replacement may take place during a Trial, other than by
an alternate.

(a) The presence of all four members of the Tribunal or the
alternate for any absent member shall be necessary to
constitute the quorum.

(b) The members of the Tribunal shall, before any trial
begins, agree among themselves upon the selection from their
number of a President, and the President shall hold office
during that trial, or as otherwise be agreed by a vote of
not less than three members. The principle of
rotation of presidency for successive trials is agreed. If,
however, a session of the Tribunal takes place on the
territory of one of the four Signatories, the representative
of that Signatory on the Tribunal shall preside.

(c) Save as aforesaid the Tribunal shall take decisions by a
majority vote and in the case the votes are evenly divided,

                                                    [Page 5]
vote of the President shall be decisive: provided always
that convictions and sentences shall only be imposed by
affirmative votes of at least three members of the Tribunal.

Article 5. In case of need and depending on the number of
the matters to be tried, other Tribunals may be set up; and
the establishment, functions, and procedure of each Tribunal
shall be identical, and shall be governed by this Charter.


Article 6. The Tribunal establishment by the Agreement
referred to in Article 1 hereof for the trial and punishment
of the major war criminals of the European Axis countries
shall have the power to try and punish persons who, acting
in the interests of the European Axis countries, whether as
individuals or as members of organizations, committed any of
the following crimes.

The following acts, or any of them, are crimes coming within
the jurisdiction of the Tribunal for which there shall be
individual responsibility:

     (a) CRIMES AGAINST PEACE: namely, planning,
     preparation, initiation, or waging of wars of
     aggression, or a war in violation of international
     treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in
     a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of
     any of the foregoing;
     (b) WAR CRIMES: namely, violations of the laws or
     customs of war. Such violations shall include, but not
     be limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to
     slave labor or for any purpose of civilian population
     of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of
     prisoners of
     war or persons on the seas, killing of hostages,
     plunder of public or private property, wanton
     destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or
     devastation not justified by military necessity;
     (c) CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY: namely, murder,
     extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other
     inhumane acts committed against any civilian
     population, before or during the war; or persecution on
     political, racial or religious grounds in execution of
     or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction
     of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of
     domestic law of the country where perpetrated.
Leaders, organizers, instigators and accomplices
participating in the formulation or execution of a common
plan or conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing crimes are
responsible for all acts performed by any persons in
execution of such plan.

                                                    [Page 6]

Article 7. The official position of the defendants, whether
as Heads of State or responsible officials in Government
Departments, shall not be considered as freeing them from
responsibility or mitigating punishment.

Article 8. The fact that the Defendant acted pursuant to
order of his government or of a superior shall not free him
from responsibility, but may be considered in mitigation of
punishment if the Tribunal determine that justice so

Article 9. At the trial of any individual member of any
group or organization the Tribunal may declare (in
connection with any act of which the individual may be
convicted) that the group or organization of which the
individual was a member was a criminal organization.

After receipt of the Indictment the Tribunal shall give such
notice as it thinks fit that the prosecution intends to ask
the Tribunal to make such declaration and any member of the
organization will be entitled to apply to the Tribunal for
leave to be heard by the Tribunal upon the question of the
criminal character of the organization. The Tribunal shall
have power to allow or reject the application. If the
application is allowed, the Tribunal may direct in what
manner the applicants shall be represented and heard.

Article 10. In cases where a group or organization is
declared criminal by the Tribunal, the competent national
authority of any Signatory shall have the right to bring
individuals to trial for membership therein before national,
military or occupation courts. In any such case the criminal
nature of the group or organization is considered proved and
shall not be questioned.

Article 11. Any person convicted by the Tribunal may be
charged before a national, military or occupation court,
referred to in Article 10 of this Charter, with a crime
other than membership in a criminal group or organization
and such court may, after convicting him, impose upon him
punishment independent of and additional to the punishment
imposed by the Tribunal for participation in the criminal
activities of such group or organization.

Article 12. The Tribunal shall have the right to take
proceedings against a person charges with crimes set out in
Article 6 of this Charter in his absence, if he has not been
found or if the Tribunal, for any reason, finds it
necessary, in the interests of justice, to conduct the
hearing in his absence.

                                                    [Page 7]

Article 13. The Tribunal shall draw up rules for its
procedure. These rules shall not be inconsistent with the
provisions of this Charter.

                   OF MAJOR WAR CRIMINALS

Article 14. Each Signatory shall appoint a Chief Prosecutor
for the investigation of the charges against and the
prosecution of major war criminals.

The Chief Prosecutors shall act as a committee for the

     (a) to agree upon a plan of the individual work of each
     of the Chief Prosecutors and his staff,
     b) to settle the final designation of major war
     criminals to be tried by the Tribunal,
     (c) to approve the Indictment and the documents to be
     submitted therewith,
     (d) to lodge the Indictment and the accompanying
     (e) to draw up and recommend to the Tribunal for its
     approval draft rules of procedure, contemplated by
     Article 13 of this Charter. The Tribunal shall have
     power to accept, with or without amendments, or to
     reject, the rules so recommended.

The Committee shall act in all the above matters by a
majority vote and shall appoint a Chairman as may be
convenient and in accordance with the principle of rotation:
provided that if there is an equal division of vote
concerning the designation of a Defendant to be tried by the
Tribunal, or the crimes with which he shall be charged, that
proposal will be adopted which was made by the party which
proposed that the particular Defendant be tried, or the
particular charges be preferred against him.

Article 15. The Chief Prosecutors shall individually, and
acting in collaboration with one another, also undertake the
following duties:

     (a) investigation, collection and production before or
     at the Trial of all necessary evidence,
     (b) the preparation of the Indictment for approval by
     the Committee in accordance with paragraph (c) of
     Article 14 hereof,
     (c) the preliminary examination of all necessary
     witnesses and the Defendants,
     (d) to act as prosecutor at the Trial,

                                                    [Page 8]

     (e) to appoint representatives to carry out such duties
     as may be assigned to them,
     (f) to undertake such other matters as may appear
     necessary to them for the purposes of the preparation
     for and conduct of the Trial.

It is understood that no witness or Defendant detained by
any Signatory shall be taken out of the possession of that
Signatory without its assent.


Article 16. In order to ensure fair trial for the
Defendants, the following procedure shall be followed:

     (a) The Indictment shall include full particulars
     specifying in detail the charges against the
     Defendants. A copy of the Indictment and of all the
     documents lodged with the Indictment, translated into a
     language which he understands, shall be furnished to
     the Defendant at a reasonable time before the Trial.
     (b) During any preliminary examination or trial of a
     Defendant he shall have the right to give any
     explanation relevant to the charges made against him.
     (c) A preliminary examination of a Defendant and his
     Trial shall be conducted in or translated into, a
     language which the Defendant understands.
     (d) A defendant shall have the right to conduct his own
     defense before the
     Tribunal or to have the assistance of Counsel.
     (e) A defendant shall have the right through himself or
     through his Counsel to present evidence at the Trial in
     support of his defense, and to cross-examine any
     witness called by the Prosecution.


Article 17. The Tribunal shall have the power

     (a) to summon witnesses to the Trial and to require
     their attendance
     and testimony and to put questions to them,
     (b) to interrogate any Defendant,
     (c) to require the production of document and other
     evidentiary material,
     (d) to administer oaths to witnesses,
     (e) to appoint officers for the carrying out of any
     task designated by the Tribunal including the power to
     have evidence taken on commission.
                                                    [Page 9]

Article 18. The Tribunal shall

     (a) confine the Trial strictly to an expeditious
     hearing of the issues raised by the charges,
     (b) take strict measures to prevent any action which
     will cause unreasonable delay, and rule out irrelevant
     issues and statements of any kind whatsoever,
     (c) deal summarily with any contumacy, imposing
     appropriate punishment, including exclusion of any
     Defendant or his Counsel from some or all further
     proceedings, but without prejudice to the determination
     of the charges.

Article 19. The Tribunal shall not be bound by technical
rules of evidence. It shall adopt and apply to the greatest
possible extent expeditious and non-technical procedure, and
shall admit any evidence which it deems to have probative

Article 20. The Tribunal may require to be informed of the
nature of any evidence before it is offered so that it may
rule upon the relevance thereof.

Article 21. The Tribunal shall not require proof of facts of
common knowledge but shall take judicial notice thereof. It
shall also take judicial notice of official governmental
documents and reports of the United Nations, including the
acts and documents of committees set up in the various
allied countries for the investigation of war crimes, and
the records and findings of military or other Tribunals of
any of the United Nations.

Article 22. The permanent seat of the Tribunal shall be in
Berlin. The first meetings of the members of the Tribunal
and of the Chief Prosecutors shall be held at Berlin in a
place to be designated by the Control Council for Germany.
The first trial shall be held at Nurnberg, and any
subsequent trials shall be held at such places as the
Tribunal may decide.

Article 23. One or more of the Chief Prosecutors may take
part in the prosecution at each Trial. The function of any
Chief Prosecutor may be discharged by him personally, or by
any person or persons authorized by him.

The function of Counsel for a Defendant may be discharged at
the Defendants request by any Counsel professionally
qualified to conduct cases before the Courts of his own
country, or by any other person who may be specially
authorized thereto by the Tribunal.

                                                   [Page 10]
Article 24. The proceedings at the Trial shall take the
following course:

     (a) The Indictment shall be read in Court.
     (b) The Tribunal shall ask each Defendant whether he
     pleads "guilty" or "not guilty".
     (c) The prosecution shall make an opening statement.
     (d) The Tribunal shall ask the prosecution and the
     defence what evidence (if any) they wish to submit to
     the Tribunal, and the Tribunal shall rule upon the
     admissibility of any such evidence.
     (e) The witnesses for the Prosecution shall be examined
     and after that the witnesses for the Defense.
     Thereafter such rebutting evidence as may be held by
     the Tribunal to be admissible shall be called by either
     the Prosecution or the Defense.
     (f) The Tribunal may put any question to any witness
     and to any Defendant, at any time.
     (g) The Prosecution and the Defense shall interrogate
     and may cross-examine any witnesses and any Defendant
     who gives testimony.
     (h) The Defense shall address the court.
     (i) The Prosecution shall address the court.
     (j) Each Defendant may make a statement to the
     (k) The Tribunal shall deliver judgment and pronounce

Article 25. All official documents shall be produced, and
all court proceedings conducted in English, French, and
Russian, and in the language of the Defendant. So much of
the record and of the record and of the proceedings may also
be translated into the language of any country in which the
Tribunal is sitting, as the Tribunal considers desirable in
the interests of justice and public opinion.

                  VI. JUDGMENT AND SENTENCE

Article 26. The judgment of the Tribunal as to the guilt or
the innocence of any Defendant shall give the reasons on
which it is based, and shall be final and not subject to

Article 27. The Tribunal shall have the right to impose upon
a Defendant on conviction, death or such other punishment as
shall be determined by it to be just.

Article 28. In addition to any punishment imposed by it, the
Tribunal shall have the right to deprive the convicted
person of

                                                   [Page 11]
any stolen property and order its delivery to the Control
Council for Germany.

Article 29. In case of guilt, sentences shall be carried out
in accordance with the orders of the Control Council for
Germany, which may at any time reduce or otherwise alter the
sentences, but may not increase the severity thereof. If the
Control Council for Germany, after any Defendant has been
convicted and sentenced, discovers fresh evidence which, in
its opinion, would found a fresh charge against him, the
Council shall report accordingly to the Committee
established under Article 14 hereof, for such action as they
may consider proper, having regard to the interests of

                        VII. EXPENSES

Article 30. The expenses of the Tribunal and of the Trials,
shall be charged by the Signatories against the funds
allotted for maintenance of the Control Council for Germany.


Whereas an Agreement and Charter regarding the Prosecution
of War Criminals was signed in London on 8th August 1945 in
the English, French and Russian languages.

And whereas a discrepancy has been found to exist between
the originals of Article 6, paragraph (c), of the Charter in
the Russian language, on the one hand, and the originals in
the English and French languages, on the other, to wit, the
semi-colon in Article 6, paragraph (c), of the Charter
between the words "war" and or, as carried in the English
and French texts, is a comma in the Russian text.

And whereas it is desired to rectify this discrepancy:

NOW, THEREFORE, the undersigned, signatories of the said
agreement on behalf of their respective Governments, duly
authorized thereto, have agreed that Article 6, paragraph
(c), of the Charter in the Russian text is correct, and that
the meaning and intention of the Agreement
and Charter require that the said semicolon in the English
text should be changed to a comma, and French text should be
amended to read as follows

     (c) LES CRIMES CONTRE L'HUMANITE- c'est a dire
     l'assassinat, l'extermination, la reduction en esc
     avage, la deportation, et tout autre acte inhumain

                                                   [Page 12]
     commis contre toutes populations civile, avant ou
     pendant la guerre, ou bien les persecutions pour des
     motifs politiques, raciaux, ou religieux, lorsque ces
     aete ou persecution, qu'ils aient constitue ou non une
     violation du droit interne du pays ou ils ont ete
     perpetres, ont ete commi a la uite de tout crime
     rentrant dans la competence du Tribunal, ou en liaison
     avec ce crime.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF the Undersigned have signed the present

DONE in quadruplicate in Berlin this 6th day of October,
1945, each in English, French, and Russian, and each text to
have equal authenticity.

For the Government of the United States of America

                                       /s/ ROBERT H. JACKSON

For the Provisional Government of the French Republic

                                     /s/ FRANCOIS de MENTHON

For the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain
and Northern Ireland

                                       /s/ HARTLEY SHAWCROSS

For the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist


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