The IMT was situated in the Bavarian Central Court Room of Justice. The intention of the trial was to demonstrate the allies' impartial administration of justice. The indictment had to be translated into four separate languages, French, English, German and Russian, comprised of 24 000 words and took nearly two days to read.
In all there were twenty four defendants charged with the commission of four crimes:
1. Crimes against peace
2. Conspiracy to wage war
3. War crimes, and
4. Crimes against humanity
Before the trial opened the number of defendants was reduced to twenty one. Martin Bormann disappeared, Robert Ley strangled himself in his cell and Gustav Krupp was too ill to stand trial.
The Charter of the IMT (the Nuremberg Charter) had set up an international military tribunal, comprising the four victorious allies, Britain, America, France and Russia, and the charter had clothed the tribunal with jurisdiction.
The charter did not create new crimes but defined crimes which existed at the time the acts were done under international or domestic law, although the enforcement of the law was something new.
The judges from the victorious allies appointed to the charter's tribunal were appointed by there respective government each with an alternative judge who sat but did not have voting powers. The American Judge was Mr Francis Biddle, a former US attorney general; his alternative was a senior judge of the US circuit of Appeals. The French was represented by Professor Donnedieu de Vabres, a recognised authority on international law. The Russians were represented by a major general and lieutenant colonel who was the vice chairman of the Supreme Court of the USSR and a member of the Soviet District Court respectively, both of whom wore their military uniforms on the bench. The British contingent were led by...