On Saturday (6 June) Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier opened the International Nuremberg Principles Academy. The Academy underscores Germany’s international commitment to strengthening the rule of law, as Steinmeier stressed at the opening in Nuremberg.
Saturday was the day on which Foreign Minister Steinmeier, together with Bavaria’s Minister President Horst Seehofer and the Mayor of the City of Nuremberg, Ulrich Maly, officially opened the International Nuremberg Principles Academy, a foundation under German law. The event, which was held in the historic Courtroom 600 of the Palace of Justice, took place within the framework of the international conference on Accountability and the Nuremberg Principles – 70 years after the Nuremberg Trials.
Foreign Minister Steinmeier emphasised that Germany supported the creation of this foundation as “a place of research and dialogue on current international law and international criminal law issues”. He went on to say:
We are working to strengthen the rule of law in international relations throughout the world. That is now more important than ever in view of the many violent crises and conflicts we face. Germany is therefore playing a pioneering role in international law and particularly in international criminal law, as it did in negotiations on the Rome Statute and in the establishment of the International Criminal Court.
International criminal law and the fight against the most serious crimes
The tasks of the Academy, which receives institutional funding from the Federal Foreign Office, will be to promote international criminal law and support the fight against the most serious international criminal law offences. The aim is that the International Nuremberg Principles Academy will thus help to safeguard peace through the means of the law.
Its tasks will include interdisciplinary research, training and consulting services for specific target groups, and human rights education. A further aim is that it will serve as an international forum for current issues in international criminal law for people involved in the theory and practice of this field, as well as for diplomats, multipliers and civil society.
A product of the historic legacy of the Nuremberg Trials
The idea of founding the International Nuremberg Principles Academy derived from the historic legacy of the Nuremberg war crimes trials after the Second World War. The Nuremberg trials, which addressed National Socialist crimes and injustice, marked the birth of modern international criminal law.
In 1945, in Courtroom 600 of the Nuremberg Palace of Justice, a development began with the Nuremberg Principles which provisionally culminated in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the amendments to it adopted in Kampala in 2010 on the crime of aggression.
In the medium term the Academy will move to premises close to Courtroom 600 of the Nuremberg Palace of Justice, where the Nuremberg trials were held.