August 1945: London Agreement

The final major diplomatic step toward establishing a transitional justice system for addressing the principal Nazis’ atrocities occurred on August 8, 1945. Exactly three months after Germany formally surrendered and two days after the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the four major Allied powers signed the London Agreement, which provided for the “prosecution and punishment of the major war criminals of the European Axis.”68 On behalf of the USG, Jackson signed the Agreement, which established the IMT, the charter of which was annexed to the Agreement. Articles 4 and 6 of the Agreement stated important qualifications. Article 4 declared: “Nothing in this Agreement shall prejudice the provisions established by the Moscow Declaration concerning the return of war criminals to the countries where they committed their crimes.”69 Article 6 stated: “Nothing in this Agreement shall prejudice the jurisdiction or the powers of any national or occupation court established or to be established in any allied territory or in Germany for the trial of war criminals.”70 The creation of the IMT thus left open the possibility of other simultaneous or sequential transitional justice options, including additional prosecutorial mechanisms.

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