The problem of prosecuting individuals complicit in the Nazi regime’s “Final Solution” is almost insurmountably complex and has produced ever less satisfying results as time has passed.
In “Crimes of the Holocaust,” Stephan Landsman provides detailed analysis of the International Military Tribunal prosecution at Nuremberg in 1945, the Eichmann trial in Israel in 1961, the 1986 Demanjuk trial in Israel and the 1990 prosecution of Imre Finta in Canada.
Landsman presents each case and elaborates the difficulties inherent in achieving both a fair trial and a measure of justice in the aftermath of heinous crimes. In the face of few historical and legal precedents for such war crime prosecutions, each legal action relies on the framework of its predecessors. However, this only compounds the problematic issues arising from the Nuremberg proceedings.
Meticulously combing volumes of testimony and documentary information about each case, Landsman offers judicious and critical assessments of the proceedings. He levels pointed criticism at numerous elements of this relatively recent judicial invention, sparing neither judges nor counsel and remaining keenly aware of the human implications.
Deftly weaving legal analysis with cultural context, Landsman offers the first rigorous examination of these problematic proceedings and proposes guideposts for contemporary tribunals.
“ Crimes of the Holocaust” is an authoritative account of the Gordian knot of genocide prosecution in the world courts, which will persist as a confounding issue as we are faced with a trial of Saddam Hussein.
Stephan Landsman is Robert A. Clifford Professor of Tort Law and Social Policy at DePaul University.
Originally published on March 17, 2005