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Stepping Beyond Nuremberg's Halo: The Legacy of the Supreme National Tribunal of Poland
Journal of International Criminal Justice (2015)
  • Mark A. Drumbl
The Supreme National Tribunal of Poland (Najwyższy Trybunał Narodowy(Tribunal)) operated from 1946 to 1948. It implemented the 1943 Moscow Declaration in the case of suspected Nazi war criminals. This article unpacks two of the Tribunal’s trials, that of Rudolph Höss (Kommandantof Auschwitz (Oświęcim) and Amon Göth (commander of the Kraków-Płaszów labour camp). Following an introduction, the article proceeds in four sections. Section 2 sets out the Tribunal’s provenance and background, offering a flavour of the politics and pressures that contoured (and co-opted) its activities so as to recover its place within the imagined spaces of international criminal accountability. Sections 3 and 4, respectively, examine the Göth and Höss cases. These sections set out the two defendants and their crimes. They also excavate the Tribunal’s doctrinal innovations and frustrations, in particular regarding how it understood genocide, organizational liability, membership in criminal organizations and medical war crimes. Section 5 concludes. It does so by assessing the Tribunal’s legacy and by linking the Tribunal’s activities to broader epistemological, didactic and penological concerns central to the operation of transitional justice.
  • War crimes,
  • Second World War,
  • International criminal law,
  • Post-conflict justice
Publication Date
November, 2015
Citation Information
Mark A. Drumbl, Stepping Beyond Nuremberg's Halo: The Legacy of the Supreme National Tribunal of Poland, 13 J. Int'l. Crim. Just. 903 (2015).