Case Note: Corte Di Cassazione (Sez I Penale), 3 October 2008, Number 37606 (Criminal Proceedings Against Heinrich Nordhorn)
Italian Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 19, pp. 440-445, 2010
6 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2011
Date Written: 2010
The Nordhorn case concerns the arbitrary killings of Italian civilians by Nazi forces in two Italian villages during the WWII. The slaughters were committed in reprisal for two attacks made by groups of partisans against German troops in the same area. On 3 November 2006 a Military Tribunal in Spezia sentenced a former second lieutenant of the Wehrmacht to life imprisonment, for having ordered the establishment of gallows and directed public hangings of civilians with further exhibition of their bodies. This decision was upheld by both the Court of Appeal and the Court of Cassation. This paper provides a brief commentary of the case.
Keywords: Defence of superior orders, state of necessity, state of duress, Life imprisonment as an alternative to the death penalty, Military jurisdiction, Military offence, Nazi-supported regimes as subjects of international law, War crimes committed by Nazi forces during World War II
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