Nuremberg judges seal verdict on Nazi chiefs


NUREMBERG, Germany, Sept. 28, 1946 (UP) -- The four judges of the international military tribunal today set a seal on their completed verdict which, when read in court Monday and Tuesday, will write into international law the new concept that men who begin wars of aggression are guilty of murder and crimes against humanity.


Shrouded in greatest secrecy while it was being formulated, the first half of the verdict will be revealed to the world Monday when mimeographed copies are distributed among the press at the time court convenes for the last grim chapter.

Although secrecy also cloaks the exact form in which the verdict will be presented, the first part is expected to state the guilt or innocence of the 21 top Nazi war leaders in the dock and also the compelling reasons by which the tribunal arrived at its decisions.


These reasons are expected to codify the new international law which for the first time in history will make wars of aggression a legal crime and their perpetrators responsible to a court of law.

The judges of the United States, Britain, France and Russia, led by Lord Chief Justice Sir Geoffrey Lawrence, will make public on Monday only that part of the verdict which they expect to be able to read that day before the packed and closely guarded courtroom in Nuremberg where the grim drama has been played out during the past 10 months.

The second half of the verdict, probably containing the sentences imposed on those defendants found guilty of atrocities, conspiracy to wage aggressive war or crimes against humanity, will be disclosed to the world when court convenes Tuesday.

Months of the most careful deliberation have gone into preparation of the verdict by the four judges who have indicated they realize fully their role before humanity as pioneers in the tremendous task of making war a crime.

Long before the defendants' final pleas were made four weeks ago, the four justices had spent many hours closeted in their courtroom to lay the foundation for the verdict they hammered into form during September.


In the past four intensive weeks they have worked days, and frequently nights, shrouded in secrecy so complete that no word has leaked out in advance as to the course of their deliberations.

Most of their deliberations have been heard only by the tribunal's four alternate judges and by the interpreters for the French and Russian members. Then, as a small battery of carefully chosen and guarded secretaries was called in to transcribe the historic document from the dictation of the tribunal.

The delays and obstructionist procedures sometimes used in lesser courts to postpone execution of verdicts will not apply in the case of the Nuremberg defendants. The tribunal announced officially that all those found guilty will be handed over to the Allied control council for Germany as soon as sentences are pronounced.

All photographers have been ordered cleared from the courtroom when the last final act of the drama takes place-pronouncing sentence on the prisoners. The prisoners will rise one by one to hear their fate and it is believed Justice Lawrence may follow British procedure and don a black cap if death sentences are included.

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