1. Formulation of the Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nurnberg Tribunal and in the Judgment of the Tribunal- English
2. Created by the United Nations Sub-committee: International Law Commission.

Archive number: A/CN.4/W.12

Web URL:https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/DER/NL4/915/57/PDF/NL491557.pdf?OpenElement



Original photocopy of text recommended by the International Law Commission Sub-Committee of the United Nations on the Formulation of the Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nurnberg Tribunal and in the Judgement of the Tribunal to the first session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.


Unique Physical Characteristics of the document are as follows: Original document of the International Law Commission Sub-Committee of the United Nations 1949 recommendations of what would later come to be the accepted Nurnberg Principles by the United Nations General Assembly in 1950, written by typewriter, letterhead includes the notice RESTRICTED, Pen Markings on the left side of letterhead, partially illegible stamp marking directly below the right side of letterhead that reads “MASTER..”, inclusion of the United Nations Library card catalog within the photo-copied document.

5. DATE(S) OF DOCUMENT: May 31st, 1949
6. AUTHOR (OR CREATOR) OF THE DOCUMENT; POSITION (TITLE): International Law Commission Sub-Committee of the United Nations
7. FOR WHICH AUDIENCE WAS THE DOCUMENT WRITTEN? Intended solely for the members of the United Nations General Assembly’s first session.

a)     List three things the author said that you think are important.

1.     The inclusion of the word Formulation within the title of the document indicate the process of how the Nurnberg Principles would be eventually accepted by the General Assembly a year later. This process is developed through a Sub-Committee then proposed to the General Assembly

2.     The author’s unwillingness to extend the jurisdiction of International Law for the same crimes listed within the accused own nation. This is important because it shows the limitations of International Law.

3.     Allowing for the prosecution of not only the direct perpetrators but those deemed of being accomplices marks a monumental change in International Law by holding those indirectly involved or complicit for said crimes.

b)     Why do you think this document was written?

This document was created to both justify the authority of the international community for its prosecution of war crimes during the Nurnberg Tribunals and lay the basis for future international law.

c)     What evidence in the document helps you know why it was written? Quote from the document.

The document provides multiple examples of evidence on the purpose of its creation. The first of this evidence is in who the Author’s where and their word choice. The document was created by International Law Commission Sub-Committee of the United Nations, a committee tasked with the formulation of what would be the standard of international law for the international United Nations. The word choice made by the authors when creating this text such as “formulation”, “recognized”, and “recommended” indicate that the content of this document had been accepted in the prosecution of the Nurnberg Tribunals and is being recommended for future use. Lastly, the inclusion of legal precedents and procedures used during the Nurnberg Tribunals such as the prosecutions ability to hold responsible accomplices, and the accused right to a defense indicate that this document was intended to reaffirm the International Community’s authority to prosecute those convicted in the Tribunals.

d)     List two things the document tells you about life in the place and at the time it was written.

This document tells the reader of what both the Author’s and the members of the United Nation thought was the new place and authority international law would hold in the world post World War Two. Lastly, it shows the International Communities unwillingness to prosecute said crimes that a nation might commit against their own citizens thereby showing the fear that these principles might be used one day to prosecute the Allies for past transgressions and in the future.

e)     Write a question for audiences today that is left unanswered by the document.

Why do think the Author’s were unwilling to extend the jurisdiction of prosecution of international law to said crimes committed by towards a nation’s own citizens?

9. Sean Lindsey, University of Oklahoma, Feb 28th, 2019