Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Lord Shawcross, Britain's chief Nuremberg war crimes prosecutor, dead at 101

Lord Shawcross, who was Britain's chief prosecutor at the Nazi war crimes trials in Nuremberg and a representative at the United Nations through the late 1940s, died Thursday, his secretary said. He was 101.
Hartley William Shawcross was involved in a number of high-profile cases throughout his career, prosecuting a major treason trial and an atomic spying case. Shawcross died at his home in Cowbeech, south of London, said his secretary, Greta Kinder. The cause of death was not announced.

He was elected to Parliament when the Labour party swept to power under Clement Attlee in 1945, ousting Winston Churchill's Conservative party, and quickly became the new government's attorney general.

Shawcross then was appointed Britain's chief prosecutor at the trials of Nazi war criminals in Nuremberg, Germany, signing an indictment along with representatives of the United States, France and the Soviet Union.

Shawcross called the Nazi defendants "black-hearted murderers, plunderers and conspirators of which the world has not known their equal."

"There comes a point when a man must refuse to answer to his leader if he is also to answer to his own conscience," he said in court.

He later admitted to having some respect for Adolf Hitler's aide, Hermann Goering, who killed himself the night before he was to be executed.

"A criminal no doubt, but a courageous one, and a man of great ability and outstanding personality," Shawcross said. "He defeated the gallows by taking poison in his cell, and for that I take my hat off to him."

< email | 7/10/2003 02:38:00 PM | link

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