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What is the importance of the Nuremberg trials?

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Quick Answer

The United Nations Genocide Convention and The Geneva Convention on the Laws and Customs of War were formed as a result of the Nuremberg trials, explains The History Channel. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights also emerged as a result of the trials.

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The Nuremberg trials were a series of hearings that began in October 1945 with 22 people who were believed to be high-ranking members of the Nazi Party during World War II initially charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity. The trials were very controversial at the time, as they marked the first time in history anyone was held legally accountable on an international level for such crimes. Over the course of a year, arguments were heard by the International Military Tribunal, a committee comprised primarily of members of the allied nations. Of the initial 22 people charged with Nazi war crimes, only three were acquitted. Twelve were sentenced to hang. The remainder were sent to prison. Between 1946 and 1949, 185 more people were charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity. Of those 185 people, none were acquitted, eight were given death sentences, and the remainder were sent to prison for varying term lengths up to and including life.

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