Nuremberg: 60th anniversary of landmark trials of top Nazis

Nuremberg was marking the 60th anniversary Sunday of the postwar trial of some of Nazi Germany's top leaders, a landmark process that ushered in a new era of international law.

In the oak-paneled Courtroom 600 of the Nuremberg Palace of Justice on Nov. 20, 1945, Hermann Goering, Rudolf Hess, Joachim von Ribbentrop and 18 other high-ranking Nazis pleaded not guilty to a panel of judges representing the victorious allies the United States, Soviet Union, Britain and France.

The men were answering to then-new offenses that are now entrenched in law: crimes against peace, waging a war of aggression, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The Nuremberg proceedings also broke new ground in holding government leaders individually responsible for their wartime actions.

On Sunday, U.S. Nuremberg prosecutor Whitney R. Harris and other eyewitnesses to the proceedings were to return to the top-floor courtroom to talk about their experience and the legacy of the trials.

On Oct. 1, 1946, after 218 trial days, Goering, Hitler's air force chief and right-hand man, was sentenced to death along with 11 others, including Martin Bormann, Hitler's vanished deputy, who was tried in absentia. Seven drew long prison sentences and three were acquitted.

Fifteen days later, the condemned men were hanged in the courthouse's adjacent prison. Goering committed suicide by swallowing a poison pill in his cell the night before, reported AP. P.T.

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