4 Dec. 45

which, in the absence of any authoritative judicial pronouncement, a tolerant or a credulous people is exposed. With the passage of time the former tend to discount, perhaps because of their very horror, the stories of aggression and atrocity that may be handed down; and the latter, the credulous, misled by perhaps fanatical and perhaps dishonest propagandists, come to believe that it was not they but their opponents who were guilty of that which they would themselves condemn. And so we believe that this Tribunal, acting, as we know it will act notwithstanding its appointment by the victorious powers, with complete and judicial objectivity, will provide a contemporary touchstone and an authoritative and impartial record to which future historians may turn for truth, and future politicians for warning. From this record shall future generations know not only what our generation suffered, but also that our suffering was the result of crimes, crimes against the laws of peoples which the peoples of the world upheld and will continue in the future to uphold — to uphold by international co-operation, not based merely on military alliances, but grounded, and firmly grounded, in the rule of law.

Nor, though this procedure and this Indictment of individuals may be novel, is there anything new in the principles which by this prosecution we seek to enforce. Ineffective though, alas, the sanctions proved and showed to be, the nations of the world had, as it will be my purpose in addressing the Tribunal to show, sought to make aggressive war an international crime, and although previous tradition has sought to punish states rather than individuals, it is both logical and right that, if the act of waging war is itself an offense against international law, those individuals who shared personal responsibility for bringing such wars about should answer personally for the course into which they led their states. Again, individual war crimes have long been recognized by international law as triable by the courts of those states whose nationals have been outraged, at least so long as a state of war persists. It would be illogical in the extreme if those who, although they may not with their own hands have committed individual crimes, were responsible for systematic breaches of the laws of war affecting the nationals of many states should escape for that reason. So also in regard to Crimes against Humanity. The rights of humanitarian intervention on behalf of the rights of man, trampled upon by a state in a manner shocking the sense of mankind, has long been considered to form part of the recognized law of nations. Here too, the Charter merely develops a pre-existing principle. If murder, rapine, and robbery are indictable under the ordinary municipal laws of our countries, shall those who differ from the common criminal only by the extent and systematic nature of their offenses escape accusation?