Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Journal of International Criminal Justice

Publication Date

2015

Abstract

The Supreme National Tribunal of Poland (Najwyzszy Trybunal 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 Hoess (Kommandant of Auschwitz (Oswiecim) and Amon Goeth (commander of the Krakow-Plaszow 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 Goeth and Hoess 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.

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