Nazi War Criminals
Should we continue to prosecute Nazi war criminals?
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No matter how long ago these crimes were committed, their horrific nature can leave no doubt that th...
No matter how long ago these crimes were committed, their horrific nature can leave no doubt that their perpetrators must be hunted to the ends of the earth. That time has elapsed is not a legal defence; if the evidence had been available at the end of the war they would have been prosecuted then. We must do justice equally to all war criminals, or we are seemly allowing that fleeing justice is a valid option for avoiding prosecution. No legal system can establish such a precedent.
There comes a point when prosecution based on crimes long ago serves no purpose. The people uncovered now were usually very young and of low rank. They were also frequently not German and in fear of the consequences of non-cooperation. Most of the major figures responsible for atrocities are now dead, and their crimes are remembered anyway by events such as Remembrance Day. Prosecuting in these circumstances, and after such a long time, serves no purpose.
We owe it to those who perished in the terrible atrocities of the war to fight on in their name agai...
We owe it to those who perished in the terrible atrocities of the war to fight on in their name against bigotry, and to prosecute those responsible for their deaths. If we do not, then they have died in vain.
Although this may be true for the actual leaders in charge of policy, who are all dead now, such reasoning is less relevant to the low-level participation we are dealing with here. These people were merely following orders, and did not necessarily believe in the cause they felt compelled to follow. On a more practical level, as experience has shown, such prosecutions are likely to fail, given the problems of identification and proof after so much time.
Victims who have survived are in fact those most in favour of prosecution, and we should not make as...
Victims who have survived are in fact those most in favour of prosecution, and we should not make assumptions on their behalf. Nor should we insult them by publicly exculpating their torturers and refusing to prosecute them.
Trials such as these are not in the best interest of the victims, who may suffer incredible trauma from being forced to testify, possibly against their will if they have been subpoenaed. We must not risk opening old wounds in the name of retributive justice.
With the terrible genocide and ethnic cleansing in recent times, such as the massacre of Kosovans by...
With the terrible genocide and ethnic cleansing in recent times, such as the massacre of Kosovans by Solobodan Milosevic, we need to send a signal to criminals that they will be made to pay for their crimes. Otherwise leaders will continue to follow such policies, believing themselves safe from all retribution.
It is doubtful whether genocide such as this is based on rational calculations; the diversion of resources into the ‘Final Solution’ was a major reason why Hitler lost the war. In the same way, war criminals are unlikely to be deterred by legal threats such as these; they are driven by a fanatical hatred, not common sense.
Bringing the issues involved out into the open again will remind the world of the terrible event, an...
Bringing the issues involved out into the open again will remind the world of the terrible event, and promote greater peace.
In fact, prosecuting such elderly people is likely to provoke sympathy for them, possible leading to a resurgence of far-right activity.
What do you think?