Filed Under:

Nuremberg Prosecutor Makes The Case For Trying Assad

Play associated audio

Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

When he was just 27 years old, Benjamin Ferencz helped prosecute Nazi leaders in the Nuremburg war crimes trial after World War II. In the years since, the Harvard-educated lawyer has continued to focus on issues of international criminal justice.

As he considers the possibility the U.S. might launch strikes on Syria, Ferencz raises the idea of using the International Criminal Court to try Syrian President Bashar Assad for the alleged use of chemical weapons.

But, he tells NPR's Rachel Martin, "the United States has been opposed, unfortunately ... to using that court because we value our sovereignty and we want to decide for ourselves when we go to war and when we don't. A very, very dangerous practice, as we're now discovering."

Using the ICC to bring someone to justice can take years, something Ferencz admits he's not comfortable with. "I wish we could go into court and have a trial over in three days as I did in Nuremberg," he says.

"But the fact we are not comfortable is not the test. The test is whether it's just or not. Is it just for an individual in any country to conclude that some individual in another country is guilty of supreme crimes and therefore he should be punished, without a trial of any kind? Is that just?"

Join Our Sunday Conversation

Should the Syrian regime face international justice instead of U.S. military strikes? Tell us on Weekend Edition's Facebook page or in the comment section below.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'Key & Peele' Is Ending. Here Are A Few Of Its Code Switch-iest Moments

From Luther the "anger translator" for President Obama to everyday situations, Key and Peele have always put code-switching from and center in their comedy show.
WAMU 88.5

The Democracy Of The Diner

Whether the decor is faux '50s silver and neon or authentic greasy spoon, diners are classic Americana, down to the familiar menu items. Rich, poor, black, white--all rub shoulders in the vinyl booths and at formica counters. We explore the enduring appeal and nostalgia of the diner.

WAMU 88.5

D.C. Council Member David Grosso

D.C. Council Member and Chair of the Committee on Education David Grosso joins us to discuss local public policy issues, including the challenges facing D.C. Public Schools.

NPR

Twitter Faces Challenges As It tries To Balance Profitability, Popularity

The social network Twitter is popular with users, but that's not enough. It also needs to be profitable, and by its 140-character nature that's a challenge.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.