Paper Title

[1.4] Just Following Orders

Location

IB 1014

Start Date

January 2020

End Date

January 2020

Disciplines

Criminal Law | History | Philosophy | Political Science

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

The superior orders defense is when a soldier carries out orders to commit a war crime, and then defends them self in court by claiming they were just following orders. It is a defense that raises intricate questions of morality, ethics, responsibility, and liability during wartime. There are many factors to consider when assessing the legitimacy of a superior orders defense, such as the seriousness of the crime, the state of mind of the individual, the setting in which the crime takes place, among others. To call it a complex issue is something of an understatement. The superior orders defense has been used many times throughout history; however, it became known as the Nuremburg defense during the Nuremburg trials where many high-ranking German officials were put on trial for war crimes committed during World War II. The Nuremburg defense is an issue that has plagued lawmakers and international courts for many years and will not be definitely resolved in the course of this essay. There are many valid arguments on both sides that must be weighed carefully. This issue also exists on somewhat of a continuum, and the answer must lie somewhere in the middle. However, the purpose of this essay will be to argue against the Nuremburg defense in most cases where it comes up.

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Jan 18th, 2:30 PM Jan 18th, 4:00 PM

[1.4] Just Following Orders

IB 1014

The superior orders defense is when a soldier carries out orders to commit a war crime, and then defends them self in court by claiming they were just following orders. It is a defense that raises intricate questions of morality, ethics, responsibility, and liability during wartime. There are many factors to consider when assessing the legitimacy of a superior orders defense, such as the seriousness of the crime, the state of mind of the individual, the setting in which the crime takes place, among others. To call it a complex issue is something of an understatement. The superior orders defense has been used many times throughout history; however, it became known as the Nuremburg defense during the Nuremburg trials where many high-ranking German officials were put on trial for war crimes committed during World War II. The Nuremburg defense is an issue that has plagued lawmakers and international courts for many years and will not be definitely resolved in the course of this essay. There are many valid arguments on both sides that must be weighed carefully. This issue also exists on somewhat of a continuum, and the answer must lie somewhere in the middle. However, the purpose of this essay will be to argue against the Nuremburg defense in most cases where it comes up.