If you haven’t seen the movie Judgement at Nuremberg, you should. It was a movie of the trial of 16 Nazi Justices. One Judge in the dock, Schlegelberger, played by Burt Lancaster, was a good man who had reluctantly served the Nazi Regime until he resigned for reasons of conscience in 1942. He was found guilty. And in the end he agreed the verdict was a just one.
This case is referred to by Ayal Rosenberg in GOLDSTONE : A CRITIQUE OF SELF-APOTHEOSIS. He begins with this introduction of it,
- The criminal culpability for crimes against humanity of judges enforcing law within an “organized system of injustice” was established in The Justice Case of the Nuremberg Trials
and quotes from the Judgement
- “The prostitution of the judicial system for the accomplishment of criminal ends involves an element of evil to the State which is not found in frank atrocities which do not sully judicial robes”
“Schlegelberger resigned. The cruelties of the system which he helped to develop was too much for him, but he resigned too late. The damage was done. If the judiciary could slay their thousands, why couldn’t the police slay their tens of thousands? The consequences which Schlegelberger feared were realized. The police, aided by Thierack, prevailed. Schlegelberger had failed. His hesitant injustices no longer satisfied the demands of the hour. He retired under fire”
“We are under no misapprehension. Schlegelberger is a tragic character. He loved the life of the intellect, the work of the scholar. We believe he loathed the evil he did, but he sold that intellect and that scholarship to Hitler for a mass of political pottage and for the vain hope of personal security. He is guilty under counts two and three of the indictment.”
- The legal principles arising from the Nuremberg Justice Case were codified in the Rome Statute which is the founding document of the International Criminal Court. The culpability of a willing judge within an inherently unjust system is covered by the Statute’s declaration that “individual criminal liability will be incurred in crimes against humanity and war crimes by a person…who knowingly aids, abets and otherwise assists, directly and substantially in commission of such a crime, including the means for its commission.”
After pointing out how Goldstone is presented as a man of virtue, an eminent jurist etc, he condemns him as follows
- Goldstone claims, over and over (the scale and frequency of self adulation in itself should set off alarm bells) that his report is all about accountability for crimes against humanity and the integrity of international humanitarian law. This is a subterfuge coming from a subtle and fraudulent apartheid judge. As far as Goldstone is concerned the report, as everything else in his life, is about self: self-conceit; self-aggrandizement; self-praise; self-righteousness; self-worth; self-adulation and, most importantly, self-promotion.