The IMT exercised subject-matter jurisdiction over “crimes against peace,” “war crimes,” and “crimes against humanity.”71 The tribunal could impose the death penalty, or any other punishment considered “just,” on convicted individuals.72

On October 6, 1945, the four prosecuting powers—the United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and France—tssued a joint indictment, charging twenty-four men and six organizations with four counts: crimes against peace, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the common plan or conspiracy.73 Rather than base their selection of defendants on explicit legal criteria, the quadripartite Allied powers chose individuals for a combination of political and pragmatic reasons. The Allied powers jointly made the following decisions: (1) the Allied powers would each have at least one of its prisoners in the dock, (2) they would try at least one representative of each indicted organization in order to establish that organization’s role and therefore pave the way for subsequent trials of the organization’s members, (3) they would try at least one representative of each of the critical components of the alleged Nazi conspiracy,74 and (4) they agreed on the pointlessness of prosecuting the deceased, such as Hitler, Goebbels, and SS commander Heinrich Himmler.75

Opening statements were delivered to the IMT on November 20, 1945,76 and the IMT’s verdicts were handed down from between September 30 to October 1, 1946.77 The IMT ultimately sentenced twelve defendants to death by hanging, three to life imprisonment, two to twenty years imprisonment, one to fifteen years imprisonment, one to ten years imprisonment, and acquitted three other indictees. Those serving prison terms did so at Spandau prison in Berlin. Two individuals were not sentenced: one had committed suicide before the verdict and one had been judged unfit for trial.78

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