Charter of the International Military Tribunal
In pursuance of the Agreement signed on the 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.
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.
Neither the Tribunal, its members nor their alternates
can be challenged by the prosecution, or by the Defendants or their
Counsel. Each Signatory may replace its members 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 the trial, or as may 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 case the votes
are evenly divided, the 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.
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.
The Tribunal established by the Agreement referred
to m 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
(a) CRIMES AGAINST PEACE:
namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war 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 other 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 persecutions 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 the domestic law of the country where
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.
The official position of defendants, whether as Heads
of State or responsible officials in Government Departments, shall not
be considered as freeing them from responsibility or mitigating punishment.
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 determines
that justice so requires.
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 the 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.
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 individual 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.
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 of 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.
The Tribunal shall have the right to take proceedings
against a person charged 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.
The Tribunal shall draw up rules for its procedure.
These rules shall not be inconsistent with the provisions of this Charter.
Each Signatory shall appoint a Chief Prosecutor for
the investigation of the charges against and the prosecution of major
The Chief Prosecutors shall act as a committee for
the following purposes:
(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 accompany documents with the Tribunal,
(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 the 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.
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 of all Defendants,
(d) to act as prosecutor
at the Trial,
(e) to appoint representatives
to carry out such duties as may be assigned 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 the Signatory shall be taken out of the possession of that Signatory
without its assent.
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 reasonable time before the Trial.
(b) During any preliminary
examination or trial of a Defendant he will 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.
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
(c) to require the production
of documents and other evidentiary material,
(d) to administer oaths
(e) to appoint officers
for the carrying out of any task designated by the Tribunal including
the power to have evidence taken on commission.
The Tribunal shall
(a) confine the Trial strictly
to an expeditious hearing of the cases raised by the charges,
(b) take strict measures
to prevent any action which will cause reasonable 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.
The Tribunal shall not be bound by technical rules
of evidence. It shall adopt and apply to the greatest possible extent
expeditious and nontechnical procedure, and shall admit any evidence
which it deems to be of probative value.
The Tribunal may require to be informed of the nature
of any evidence before it is entered so that it may rule upon the relevance
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 the committees set
up in the various allied countries for the investigation of war crimes,
and of records and findings of military or other Tribunals of any of
the United Nations.
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 Nuremberg, and any subsequent
trials shall be held at such places as the Tribunal may decide.
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
The function of Counsel for a Defendant may be discharged
at the Defendant's 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.
The proceedings at the Trial shall take the following
(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 defense 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 crossexamine any witnesses and
any Defendant who gives testimony.
(h) The Defense shall address
(i) The Prosecution shall
address the court.
(j) Each Defendant may
make a statement to the Tribunal.
(k) The Tribunal shall
deliver judgment and pronounce sentence.
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 proceedings may also
be translated into the language of any country in which the Tribunal
is sitting, as the Tribunal is sitting, as the Tribunal considers desirable
in the interests of the justice and public opinion.
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 review.
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.
In addition to any punishment imposed by it, the Tribunal
shall have the right to deprive the convicted person of any stolen property
and order its delivery to the Control Council for Germany.
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 justice.
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 of Germany.