Final Report on the Nuernberg Trials under Control Council Law No. 10 (1949)


Primarily, this report undertakes to describe the creation, organization, and functioning of the Office, Chief of Counsel for War Crimes (OCCWC). The need for such an agency was envisaged by the Theater Judge Advocate (the late Brig. Gen. Edward C. Betts) and the Director of the Legal Division of OMGUS (then Mr. Charles Fahy) in October 1945. The OCCWC was officially established on 24 October 1946, shortly after rendition of the judgment in the first Nuernberg trial before the International Military Tribunal (IMT), and was formally deactivated on 20 June 1949. This report covers the entire period from October 1945to June 1949.

The basic policies which governed the operations of OCCWC were in part prescribed by higher authority-through OMGUS and the Department of the Army-and in part determined by me as Chief of Counsel for War Crimes. The evolution and execution of these policies are sketched herein. Throughout, principal attention has been devoted to the “executive” and “administrative” operations of the OCCWC, including such matters as the preparation of Military Government Ordinance No. 7 (under which the Nuernberg Military Tribunals were constituted), selection of defendants, methods of interrogation of witnesses and suspects, handling of linguistic problems, and cooperation with other governments in the field of war crimes.

These things may seem of minor importance and prove of little interest to those who are chiefly interested in the actual outcome of the trials, the legal reasoning of the judgments, the historical revelations of the documents and testimony, or the immediate and long-term significance of the trials in world affairs. I have touched on some of the legal and historical features of the trials toward the end of the report, and have dealt with them more fully in the April 1949 issue of International Conciliation (attached hereto as Appendix B). In any event, on such subjects there will be no lack of books and articles in the years to come; indeed the Nuernberg bibliography is already sufficiently impressive. Glamorless as this description of the Nuernberg “machinery” may be, it wants writing. There is more to a judicial process than the records and judgments in the decided cases. The Nuernberg trials were carried out under quadripartite authority, but in pursuit of objectives thought to be of benefit to all mankind. It is important, therefore, not only that the documents, testimony, and judgments be widely published, but also that a record be left telling how the individual defend- ants were selected, who prosecuted and who defended them, and how the charges were drawn, and describing the administrative paraphernalia of the Nuernberg process. This report is an attempt to supply that record, and no effort has been made to “jazz up” the account for the general reader.


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