Adam Ash

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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Interview with a Nuremberg prosecutor (Nuremberg was 60 years ago)

Whitney Harris, member of the prosecuting team at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, interviewed by Spiegel International on the 60th anniversary of the start of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial:

Harris: It took more than 20 years before I was able to cope with it again. Even nowadays this horrific event in the history of humanity still really affects me. All these gruesome crimes are not exclusively a German phenomenon.


Harris: I am totally convinced that Adolf Hitler was only a name that symbolized the absolute and worldwide breakdown of morality in the 20th century. It started in 1914 with World War I when everyone killed everyone and no moral standards remained. Revenge was the order of the day and any excuse was permissible. And afterwards? What did the communists do in Russia? And the Japanese in China?

SPIEGEL ONLINE: And nowadays?

Harris: The same problems. You just have to look at terrorism -- nobody knows where it might end. If we want a future for our children, if we want to survive then we desperately need to examine our political and moral attitudes.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: In what respect?

Harris: We cannot tolerate war in this world anymore. Wars are not only disastrous for the societies directly involved but also fatal for all of mankind.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is it not an irony of history that of all people it's the USA which fiercely refuses to ratify the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court in The Hague?

Harris: I am a strong advocate of the International Criminal Court and find it completely unacceptable that the US has still not ratified the statute. The US however also took 40 years to sign the United Nations Convention on Genocide. How can you possibly take that long to take a stance against genocide?


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