Attorney General Eric Holder must follow the gold standard of Nuremburg.
Aix en Provence, France
Under even the most dire conditions, there is a gold standard when it comes to applying the rule of law. It was set 65 years ago by a former attorney general of the United States. At issue today is whether the current attorney general will uphold that standard.
Eric Holder must decide whether to pursue Bush administration lawyers and one sitting federal judge who set the legal stage for officially sanctioned torture and other degrading practices that violated fundamental principles of international law. As Mr. Holder wrestles with this decision, he must consider the gold standard set by his predecessor Robert Jackson at Nuremberg.
As World War II drew to a close and the defeat of Nazi Germany became certain, leaders debated what to do with the Nazis. The Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin, argued that 50,000 German general staff officers should be executed.
In February 1945 at the Yalta Conference, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill favored shooting all the Nazi leaders. In April, French Gen.Charles de Gaulle came out in favor of a trial. The British continued to push for summary executions.
After President Harry Truman took office, he opposed executions and supported the idea of creating an international tribunal to try the war criminals. Soon after Italian leader Benito Mussolini was shot and German leader Adolf Hitler committed suicide, the United States assumed leadership in the creation of a new international court to "expand international penal law beyond the traditional limits of the laws of war."