Allied attempts to prosecute Nazi propagandists did not end with the IMT. American war crimes officials planned to hold a special trial of German propaganda and education officials. Only one of the propagandists, Reich Press Chief Otto Dietrich, is prosecuted by the U.S. tribunal. Other "denazification" courts convict former Nazi propagandists such as Hans Fritzsche, Max Amann, Fritz Hippler, Philipp Rupprecht (Fips), and actor Veit Harlan. Prosecuting foreign propagandists who worked for the Axis powers proved no less difficult.
October 16, 1946
Ten of the International Military Tribunal defendants are executed by hanging on October 16, 1946.
Raphael Lemkin was a critical force for bringing "genocide" before the nascent United Nations, where delegates from around the world debated the terms of an international law on genocide. On December 8, 1948, the final text was adopted unanimously. The United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide entered into force on January 12, 1951, after more than 20 countries from around the world ratified it.
German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl is tried four times by denazification courts. She is convicted once, as a Nazi "follower," but later exonerated. Although her filmmaking career largely ends, she later attains cult status for her Nazi propaganda films and her African and underwater photography. Riefenstahl dies in 2003, at age 101.
April 3, 1948
Truman signs Marshall Plan bill into law
June 26, 1948
Berlin Airlift begins
An American military tribunal in Nuremberg convicts Otto Dietrich, the former Nazi Party and Reich Press Chief, of crimes against humanity. The court charged that he and his press department had waged a deliberate campaign to incite public hatred of the Jews. His sentence, to seven years imprisonment, was commuted in 1950 to time served, and he was released. Dietrich died in 1952.
May 23, 1949
West Germany's "basic law" guarantees 'freedom of voicing one's opinion'
September 15, 1949
Election of Konrad Adenauer as first Federal Chancellor
October 7, 1949
German Democratic Republic (East Germany) is established
Israeli security service agents abduct Adolf Eichmann and bring him to Israel to stand trial
August 12-13, 1961
GDR begins building the Berlin Wall
December 15, 1961
Adolf Eichmann is found guilty of crimes against the Jewish people
November 22, 1963
U.S. President John F. Kennedy assassinated
July 21, 1969
First landing on the moon
April 29, 1975
U.S. military forces evacuate Americans from Saigon a day before the city falls to the North Vietnamese
U.K. Public order act 1986 addresses the offense of incitement to racial hatred
November 5, 1988
The U.S. ratifies the Genocide Convention. U.S. President Ronald Reagan signs the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. The Convention had faced strong opponents, who argued it would infringe on U.S. national sovereignty. One of the Convention's strongest advocates, Senator William Proxmire from Wisconsin delivered over 3,000 speeches advocating the Convention in Congress from 1968-1987.
Right to free speech is guaranteed under Ireland's constitution (Article 40.6.1.i)
November 9, 1989
Opening of Berlin Wall and border to the Federal Republic of Germany
In Canada, advocating genocide or inciting hatred against "identifiable groups" are indictable offenses
October 3, 1990
Day of German unity: Germany is united as one state
Wars of the former Yugoslavia
In response to atrocities occurring in Bosnia, the United Nations Security Council issues Resolution 827, establishing the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. It is the first international criminal tribunal since Nuremberg. Crimes the ICTY can prosecute and try are: grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, violations of the laws or customs of war, genocide, and crimes against humanity. Its jurisdiction is limited to crimes committed on the territory of the former Yugoslavia.
April – July 1994
From April until July, up to 800,000 thousand people, mostly from the Tutsi minority group, are killed in Rwanda in killings of devastating scale, scope, and speed. In October, the UN Security Council extends the mandate of the ICTY to include a separate but linked tribunal for Rwanda, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), located in Arusha, Tanzania. The news media played a crucial role in the Rwandan genocide: local media fuelled the killings, while the international media either ignored or seriously misconstrued what was happening.
The United Nations Security Council establishes the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), located in Arusha, Tanzania, in order to judge those responsible for the Rwandan genocide and other serious violations of international law either in Rwanda, or by Rwandan citizens in nearby states, between January 1 and December 31, 1994. The tribunal's jurisdiction covers genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.
February 13, 1995
UN tribunal charges 21 Bosnian Serb commanders with crimes against humanity and with genocide
The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court establishes the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Rome statute is so named because it is adopted in Rome, Italy, on July 17, 1998, by the United Nations Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court.
September 2, 1998
The ICTR issues the world's first conviction for genocide in an international tribunal when Jean-Paul Akayesu is judged guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity for acts he engaged in and oversaw as mayor of the Rwandan town of Taba. While these tribunals and the emerging International Criminal Court help establish legal precedents and investigate crimes within their jurisdictions, punishment of genocide remains a difficult task.
October 23, 2000
"Hate media" trial begins against media that encouraged genocide in Rwanda
September 11, 2001
Terrorist attacks on the United States
December 3, 2003
At the Arusha tribunal, Ferdinand Nahimana and Jean Bosco Barayagwiza (leaders of Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines) and Hassan Ngeze (director and editor of the Kangur newspaper) were charged with: genocide, incitement to genocide, and crimes against humanity, before and during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Life sentences were requested for all 3. The court finds Nahimana, Ngeze, and Barayagwiza guilty. It sentences Nahimana and Ngeze to life imprisonment and Barayagwiza to 35 years imprisonment.
September 9, 2004
For the first time in U.S. government history, an ongoing crisis is referred to as a "genocide." Secretary of State Colin Powell testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that "We concluded—I concluded—that genocide has been committed in Darfur and that the Government of Sudan and the Janjaweed bear responsibility—and that genocide may still be occurring."
April 28, 2006
The United Nations Security Council adopts Resolution 1674. The resolution reaffirms earlier provisions for the "responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity" and commits the Security Council to act in order to protect civilians in armed conflict.
December 11, 2006
"International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust" opens in Tehran
World Court in the Hague concludes that the 1995 massacres at Srebrenica, Bosnia, were genocide
Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, charged with genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, is arrested in Belgrade
ICC issues arrest warrant for Sudan President Omar Bashir, charged with genocide and crimes against humanityBack to Top