1962

Eichman v Attorney General of Israel Supreme Court Decision (1962) 136. I.L.R. 227

Adolf Eichmann, was a high ranking SS officer, administrator of ‘the final solution to the Jewish problem’ policy that exterminated more than 4 million people, he was abducted from Argentina in 1960 and brought to Israel to face charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes against Jewish people. His ashes were scattered on the Mediterranean to not defile the Jewish soil.

It is the duty of the Court to give preference {over the international law} and apply the laws of the local legislature The principle nullum crimen sine lege, nulla poena sine lege, has not become a rule of customary international law {It is} established by the Judgment of the {World} Court in the Lotus case … {that} every State may exercise a wide discretion as to the applications of its laws and the jurisdiction of its courts in respect of acts committed outside the State; and that only in so far as it is possible to point to a specific rule prohibiting the exercise of this discretion … it is precisely the conception of State sovereignty which demands the preclusion that there is restriction on its independence As is well known, the rules of nations are not derived solely from international treaties and crystallised international usage. In the absence of a supreme legislative authority and international codes the process of its evolution resembles that of common law .. its rules are established from case to case, by analogy with the rules embodied in treaties and in international custom, on the basis of “general principles of law recognised by civilised nations”, and in the light of the vital international needs that impel an immediate solution The features which identify crimes that have been recognised by customary international law… constitute acts which damage vital international interest … they impair the foundations and security of the international community; they violate universal moral values and humanitarian principles which are at the root of the systems of criminal law adopted by civilised nations. It definitely cannot be said that when the Charter of the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal was signed and the categories of “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity” were defined in it, merely amounted to an act of legislation by the victorious countries