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Parent Remarks to Court on the motion attacking the jurisdiction of the Tribunal
Date June 1946
Language English
Collection Tavenner Papers & IMTFE Official Records
Box Box 3
Folder General Reports and Memoranda from June 1946
Repository University of Virginia Law Library
Need neither emphasis nor reiteration. They spring from the very necessities of the existence of life itself. We had not expected that anyone would contend that either murder or theft is lawful. Nor did we expect that anyone would contend that there does not exist the inherent right of punishing those guilty of crimes that would destroy the human race. And if there ever was doubt in civilized history that aggressive warfare could be tolerated, surely that doubt has long been expelled when the institution of total warfare came into existence and the almost inconceivable forces of destruction were developed and were in active demonstration to mankind. We at no time contend that the right of self defense is not an inherent one nor that it should not always be recognized. But it is quite noticeable that these notions do not refer to any such right of self defense. Quite on the contrary, they seek to justify aggressive warfare, or at least to justify it to the point to hold that those really responsible therefore are immune from lawful punishment for bringing the same about. Aggressive warfare means exactly what it says. It means the taking of human life on a grand scale for aggression and not for defense. Wars in violation of treaties, agreements, obligations and assurances mean wars in violation of the solemn and sacred obligations of a nation, binding of course not only upon the nation but upon every single human being therein, the humblest citizen and most certainly the most exalted. If we have reached the stage in life where we admit or agree that aggressive wars are justified, or that treaties, agreements and assurances so solemnly entered into by the recognized agencies of government have no force or effect and can be violated with impunity by nations or by individuals within the nations in control of the national policy, and that such individuals shall be free from personal punishment, we shall at that very moment have sounded a death knell for organized society, and indeed for civilization itself.