British Military & Criminal History
1900 to 1999.
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This page contains the text of the International Military Tribunal (IMT) Charter. The table shown below contains hyperlinks to the relevant charter article. As can be expected, both the IMT and IMTFE charters share some common aims and procedures.
Click here to view the text of the IMTFE Charter.
The IMT Charter
pursuance of the Agreement signed on
8 August 1945 by the Government of the United States Of America, the Provisional
Government of the French Republic, the Government of the United Kingdom
of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the Union
of Soviet Socialist Republics, there shall be established an International
Military Tribunal (hereinafter called "the Tribunal") for the
just and prompt trial and punishment of the major war criminals of the
Tribunal shall consist of four members, each with an alternate. One member
and one alternate shall be appointed by each of the Signatories. The alternates
shall, so far as they are able, be present at all sessions of the Tribunal.
In case of illness of any member of the Tribunal or his incapacity or
some other reason to fulfil his functions, his alternate shall take his
Neither the Tribunal, its members nor their alternates can be challenged
by the prosecution, or by the Defendants or their Counsel. Each Signatory
may replace its member of the Tribunal or his alternate for reasons of
health or for other good reasons, except that no replacement may take
place during a Trial, other than by an alternate.
(a) The presence
of all four members of the Tribunal or the alternate for any absent member
shall be necessary to constitute the quorum.
members of the Tribunal shall, before any trial begins, agree among themselves
upon the selection from their number of a President, and the President
shall hold office during that trial, or as may otherwise be agreed by
a vote of not less than three members. The principle of rotation of presidency
for successive trials is agreed. If, however, a session of the Tribunal
takes place the territory of one of the four Signatories, the representative
on that Signatory on the Tribunal shall preside.
as aforesaid the Tribunal shall take decisions by a majority vote and
in case the votes are evenly divided, the vote of the President shall
be decisive: provided always that convictions and sentences shall only
be imposed by affirmative votes of at least three members of the Tribunal.
In case of need and depending on the number of the matters to be , tried, other Tribunals may be set up; and the establishment, functions, and procedure of each Tribunal shall be identical, and shall be governed by this Charter.
established by the Agreement referred to in Article 1 hereof for the trial
and punishment of the major war criminals of the European Axis countries
shall have the power to try and punish persons who, acting in the interests
of the European Axis countries, whether as individuals or as members of
organizations, committed any of the following crimes.
The official position of defendants, whether as Heads of State or responsible officials in Government Departments, shall not be considered as freeing them from responsibility or mitigating punishment.
The fact that the Defendant acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior shall not free him from responsibility, but may be considered in mitigation of punishment if the Tribunal determines that justice so requires.
At the trial
of any individual member of any group or organization the Tribunal may
declare (in connection with any act of which the individual may be convicted)
that the group or organization of which the individual was a member was
a criminal organization.
In cases where a group or organization is declared criminal by the Tribunal, the competent national authority of any Signatory shall have the right to bring individuals to trial for membership therein before national, military or occupation courts. In any such case the criminal nature of the group or organization is considered proved and shall not be questioned.
Any person convicted by the Tribunal may be charged before a national, military or occupation court, referred to in Article 10 of this Charter, with a crime other than of membership in a criminal group or organization and such court may, after convicting him, impose upon him punishment independent of and additional to the punishment imposed by the Tribunal for participation in the criminal activities of such group or organization.
shall have the right to take proceedings against a person charged with
crimes set out in Article 6 of this Charter in his absence, if he has
not been found or if the Tribunal, for any reason, finds it necessary,
in the interests of Justice, to conduct the hearing in his absence.
shall appoint a Chief Prosecutor for the investigation of the charges
against and the prosecution of major war criminals.
Prosecutors shall individually, and acting in collaboration with one another,
also undertake the following duties:
to ensure fair trial for the Defendants, the following procedure shall
shall have the power
The Tribunal shall not be bound by technical rules of evidence. It shall adopt and apply to the greatest possible extent expeditious and non-technical procedure, and shall admit any evidence which it deems to have probative value.
The Tribunal may require to be informed of the nature of any evidence before it is offered so that it may rule upon the relevance thereof.
The Tribunal shall not require proof of facts of common knowledge but shall take judicial notice thereof. It shall also take judicial notice of official governmental documents and reports of the United Nations, including the acts and documents of the committees set up in the various Allied countries for the investigation of war crimes, and the records and findings of military or other Tribunals of any of the United Nations.
The permanent seat of the Tribunal shall be in Berlin. The first meetings of the members of the Tribunal and of the Chief Prosecutors shall be held at Berlin in a place to be designated by the Control Council for Germany. The first trial shall be held at Nuremberg, and any subsequent trials shall be held at such places as the Tribunal may decide.
One or more
of the Chief Prosecutors may take part in the prosecution at each Trial.
The function of any Chief Prosecutor may be discharged by him personally,
or by any person or persons authorized by him.
at the Trial shall take the following course:
All official documents shall be produced, and all court proceedings conducted in English, French and Russian, and in the language of the Defendant. So much of the record and of the proceedings may also be translated into the language of any country in which the Tribunal is sitting, as the Tribunal considers desirable in the interests of justice and public opinion.
The judgment of the Tribunal as to the guilt or the innocence of any Defendant shall give the reasons on which it is based, and shall be final and not subject to review.
The Tribunal shall have the right to impose upon a Defendant, on conviction, death or such other punishment as shall be determined by it to be just.
In addition to any punishment imposed by it, the Tribunal shall have the right to deprive the convicted person of any stolen property and order its delivery to the Control Council for Germany.
In case of guilt, sentences shall be carried out in accordance with the orders of the Control Council for Germany, which may at any time reduce or otherwise alter the sentences, but may not increase the severity thereof. If the Control Council for Germany, after any Defendant has been convicted and sentenced, discovers fresh evidence which, in its opinion, would found a fresh charge against him, the Council shall report accordingly to the Committee established under Article 14 hereof, for such action as they may consider proper having regard to the interests of justice.
The expenses of the Tribunal and of the Trials, shall be charged by the Signatories against the funds allotted for maintenance of the Control Council for Germany.
agreement and charter regarding the
Prosecution of War Criminals was signed in London on the 8/8/1945, in
the English, French, and Russian languages,
In English: The Crimes Against Humanity: that is to say the murder,
the extermination, the movement to forced slavery, the deportation, and
all other inhuman acts committed against all civil populations, before
or during the war, or the persecutions for political, racial, or religious
motives, when these acts or persecutions that they have constituted or
not a violation of the internal right of the country or they have been
perpetrated, have been committed has the continuation of all retractable
crime in the expertise of the Court, or in link with this crime.]