4 Dec. 45

It is, as I shall show, the view of the British Government that in these matters, this Tribunal will be applying to individuals, not the law of the victor, but the accepted principles of international usage in a way which will, if anything can, promote and fortify the rule of international law and safeguard the future peace and security of this war-stricken world.

By agreement between the chief prosecutors, it is my task, on behalf of the British Government and of the other states associated in this Prosecution, to present the case on Count Two of the Indictment and to show how these defendants, in conspiracy with each other and with persons not now before this Tribunal, planned and waged a war of aggression in breach of the treaty obligations by which, under international law, Germany, as other states, has thought to make such wars impossible.

The task falls into two parts. The first is to demonstrate the nature and the basis of the Crime against Peace, which is constituted under the Charter of this Tribunal, by waging wars of aggression and in violation of treaties; and the second is to establish beyond all possibility of doubt that such wars were waged by these defendants.

As to the first, it would no doubt be sufficient just to say this. It is not incumbent upon the Prosecution to prove that wars of aggression and wars in violation of international treaties are, or ought to be, international crimes. The Charter of this Tribunal has prescribed that they are crimes and that the Charter is the statute and the law of this Court. Yet, though that is the clear and mandatory law governing the jurisdiction of this Tribunal, we feel that we should not be discharging our task in the abiding interest of international justice and morality unless we showed to the Tribunal, and indeed to the world, the position of this provision of the Charter against the general perspective of international law. For, Just as in the experience of our country, some old English statutes were merely declaratory of the common law, so today this Charter merely declares and creates a jurisdiction in respect of what was already the law of nations.

Nor is it unimportant to emphasize that aspect of the matter, lest there may be some, now or hereafter, who might allow their Judgment to be warped by plausible catchwords or by an uninformed and distorted sense of justice towards these defendants. It is not difficult to be misled by such criticisms as that resort to war in the past has not been a crime; that the power to resort to war is one of the prerogatives of the sovereign state, even that this Charter, in constituting wars of aggression a crime, has imitated one of the most obnoxious doctrines of National Socialist jurisprudence, namely post factum legislation — that the Charter is in this respect reminiscent of bills of attainder that these proceedings are no