Exploration 4B: Extension Activities

History, Literature, Current Events

After reading “The Nuremberg Principles,” use examples taken from history, literature or current events to illustrate and clarify the meaning of Nuremberg Principles I-V.

A Critical Response to Nuremberg or a More Recent Tribunal

Write an essay or a research paper in response to one of the following questions:
  • Does the fact that victorious Allies sat in judgment over a defeated enemies undermine the credibility of the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals?
  • Does the fact that the ad hoc international criminal tribunals were established by the United Nations (UN) Security Council cast doubt on their independence?

A Victim's Story

(Creative writing or dramatization)

Write the story of someone (real or imaginary) who was the victim of a war crime.

Cast your story as a first-person narrative. Describe the war crime (who was involved, who suffered, who else was affected, and so on). Give the victim’s reasons for wanting a particular type of court to prosecute those who were responsible.

Present the character’s story in writing or as an oral monologue.

Use information from the student resources of this exploration; draw on the news media and the Internet, if possible.

More Roles for National Courts

Read “How can national courts help ad hoc international criminal tribunals?”, and respond to the questions at the end in one of the following ways:
  • Write down your ideas;
  • Discuss the questions with a fellow student or in a small group.


Write an essay in response to one of the following statements, which express some of the aspirations and the limits of the International Criminal Court.

The governments that have made this enlightened move clearly understand that the permanent International Criminal Court represents no threat to States with an organized criminal justice system. On the contrary, it is designed only to protect those most vulnerable people who own government, if they have one, is unable or unwilling to prosecute those who violate their most fundamental human rights.

- Kofi Annan, then UN Secretary-General

I believe the Court not only can dissuade potential executioners but also can have extraordinary educational virtues…

- William Bourdon, lawyer and Secretary-General of the International Federation of Human Rights

An international court (…) can judge no more than 50 accused persons a year. A permanent court concerning all the countries will have the same problem and should thus select those it will pursue according to their high level of responsibility. It is thus impossible to imagine that the struggle against impunity can rely only on international justice. it is necessary that in the medium term the national courts get involved and work actively toward a solution.

- Louis Joinet, magistrate and UN Special Rapporteur on impunity