The Three Jewish Lawyers Who Shaped the Nuremberg Trials

Nov. 23 2015

Three East European-born Jewish lawyers present at the Nuremberg trials did much to shape the trials’ lasting impact on our understanding of both the Holocaust and international law, although their roles in the actual proceedings were peripheral. Each had his own theory of the trials’ significance, as Michael Marrus explains:

[Jacob] Robinson’s, [Hersch] Lauterpacht’s, and [Raphael] Lemkin’s work at Nuremberg may be understood as three different efforts to contend with the inadequacies of the interwar mechanisms for the protection of minorities on which all three had worked and that all three had supported in one way or the other during an early part of their careers. Robinson’s answer was to tie Jewish fortunes to the story of the Jewish catastrophe, seemingly in a belief that the moral effect of knowledge of the Holocaust, energetically promoted by the United States, would help achieve justice for a people sorely wronged.

Less bound to specifically Jewish perspectives, Lauterpacht and Lemkin looked to the trial for new structures of international law. Consistent with his longstanding critique of national sovereignty, Lauterpacht’s great cause was international human rights, defining their juridical and institutional platforms, and seeking a way forward for their acceptance internationally. For him, Nuremberg’s insistence on the accountability of German war criminals was an important step on a path to achieving this goal.

And Lemkin, for his part, saw in the cause of genocide the most fitting response to the global catastrophe. Consumed, not to say obsessed by his project, he failed to appreciate much of what the trial had accomplished. Human rights were well and good, he thought, but as he protested a decade after Nuremberg, they “are concerned with different levels of existence, while genocide deals with nonexistence.” Notwithstanding these differences, each of the émigrés would have agreed that the postwar world order had to address, as a matter of priority, the most vulnerable.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Genocide, History & Ideas, Holocaust, Human Rights, International Law, Nuremberg Trials, Raphael Lemkin

Why Is Iran Acquiring Property in Venezuela?

In June Tehran and Caracas concluded a major twenty-year cooperation treaty. One of its many provisions—kept secret until recently—was the transfer of 4,000 square miles of Venezuelan land to Iranian control. Although the territory is ostensibly for agricultural use, Lawrence Franklin suspects the Islamic Republic might have other plans:

Hizballah already runs paramilitary training centers in restricted sections of Venezuela’s Margarita Island, a tourist area northeast of the country’s mainland. The terrorist group has considerable support from some of Venezuela’s prominent Lebanese clans such as the Nasr al-Din family, who reportedly facilitated Iran’s penetration of Margarita Island. . . . The Maduro regime has apparently been so welcoming to Iranian intelligence agents that some of Hizballah’s long-established Latin American network at the tri-border nexus of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay has been overtaken by Hizballah activities on Venezuela’s Margarita Island.

Iran’s alliance with Venezuela most importantly provides Tehran with opportunities to target U.S. interests in Latin America and potentially the southern United States. Iran, along with the Chinese Communist Party, is in the process of strengthening Venezuela’s military against the U.S., for instance by deliveries of military drones, which are also considered a threat by Colombia.

While air and seaborne arms deliveries are high-profile evidence of Iran’s ties with Venezuela, Tehran’s cooperation with Venezuelan intelligence agencies, although less visible, is also intense. The Islamic Republic’s support for Hizballah terrorist operations is pervasive throughout Latin America. Hizballah recruits from Venezuela’s ten-million-strong Lebanese diaspora. Iran and Hizballah cooperate in training of intelligence agents and in developing sources who reside in Venezuela and Colombia, as well as in the tri-border region of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: Iran, Latin America, Venezuela