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You're reading: Show trials for Nazi war crimes

A fundamental principle of Western jurisprudence is individual responsibility for one’s actions. In criminal law, this requires that the charges against the accused, and the accused’s responsibility for the crime, must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. In the John Demjanjuk case, there was no finding of individual culpability, there was instead, a PRESUMPTION of it. There was no finding of voluntariness, there was instead, a PRESUMPTION of it.

That is why this case was a show trial, not a real trial.

Let us be clear. No sensible human being denies the facts of the Holocaust, the loss of 6 million Jewish lives or their suffering, nor the turmoil initiated by Nazi Germany that resulted in the loss of some 50 million lives in World War II. What is being questioned, however, is the role Demjanjuk played in all that.

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