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Twist, Susan Mary
Languages: English
Types: Doctoral thesis
This doctoral thesis firstly examines the issues surrounding the retrospective deployment of criminal law in the context of international War Crimes Trials, specifically the empirical model presented by the Nuremberg Trial of the Major War Criminals 1945-46 at the end of the Second World War. Secondly, it evaluates the theoretical perspectives and ambiguities within the writings of Carl Schmitt during the period from 1912 until the immediate aftermath of WWII. Thirdly, it extrapolates an analytical model from Schmitt’s work with which to scrutinise and evaluate the utilisation of ex post facto criminal law at Nuremberg. \ud \ud Established literature deals comprehensively with the prevailing state of international law prior to Nuremberg, whilst there is also a wealth of documentary evidence and academic commentary, both laudatory and critical upon the prelude to the Trial proceedings and the ensuing juridical process. This thesis, however, focuses upon the deficits inherent within the hitherto largely undifferentiated notion of ‘retrospectivity’ and the formulation of an appropriate typography of the retroactive strands latent within it. Following an elucidation of the historical significance and provenance of the doctrine: nullum crimen sine lege nullum crimen sine lege praevia; nulla poena sine lege praevia, that is, ‘no crime and no punishment without previously established law’, it explores and evaluates the salient provisions of the Nuremberg Charter unilaterally enacted by the Allies on 8th August, 1945, under which the entire trial proceedings were subsequently governed. The segments of the Charter ostensibly reliant upon the deployment of ex post facto criminal law are extracted, analysed and linked to the relevant strands of retrospectivity, identified within the postulated typography. \ud \ud The thesis also explores the defining qualities and assumptions of a Schmittian approach to domestic and international law and the extent to which this is derived from the seminal theory of Thomas Hobbes. Several monographs and numerous articles have been devoted to scrutiny of the writings of Schmitt but none have dealt specifically with his international law perspective towards retrospectivity or, in consequence, the nature and limits of such analysis. Extrapolation of an analytical model/interpretative scheme and application of it to the specific issues arising from the concept of retrospectivity, in the particular context of Nuremberg, also facilitates formulation of a critique of the viability of this stance. In an age of seemingly burgeoning war crimes and crimes against humanity, the need to punish alleged perpetrators is manifest. This thesis, however, suggests that even a Schmittian perspective is capable of illuminating the toxic ramifications of violation of the ‘rule of law’ in furtherance of this perceived imperative.
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