Sample Criminal Justice Paper on The crime of Aggression and International Law


The crime of aggression represents a type of crime involving planning, initiating, and executing acts of aggression through military force. The crime remains covered under the law by the Charter of the United Nations. Adams (2012) notes that the law governing over the offense, however, poses some philosophical questions like the categorization of the crime as an ex post facto appeal. The appeal to justice or human rights, thus, represents a challenge to ‘the law of civilized nations’ to deal with crimes of aggression effectively. The case brought forth by both Jackson and Wyzaski against acts by the Nazis represents a complete analysis concerning the role of customary and international jurisdiction in solving the crime of aggression.

International Community and International Law

           I agree with Jackson’s claims that the international community has the right to institute new customs that form the basis for expanding international law. The Prosecution at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg (IMT) represented arguments against the acts of the Nazis on accounts of war crimes, crimes opposing peace, and crimes affecting humanity (Mach, 2018). Despite rulings against such actions, the IMT court had limited jurisdiction with a lack of global endorsement to include the international community. The concept, as Adams (2012) explains, means that the international community remained withdrawn from collaboration or exercise of such jurisdictions. Even after the General Assembly of the United Nations unanimously affirmed judgment concerning the formulation of international criminal codes, international parties still lag in supporting such initiatives. The lack of adoption of the Rome Statute means that cases like crime aggression involving the United Nations remain challenging. Integrating the international community in international law, thus, can serve as a basis for expanding international law.

Jackson’s Argument on Aggressive Warfare

           Jackson argued that the aggressive warfare facing Nazi leaders to end lives, account for similar crimes, and fight against peace represented a law sanction. However, the limited jurisdiction of the IMT and lack of practical global endorsement demoted recognitions concerning international law. The case hearing at Nuremberg (IMT) began on October 1, 1946, later followed by the formulation of the Nuremberg Charter in 1946 (Adams, 2012). The charter unanimously started working on developing principles within the international criminal code. Jackson’s ground proves effective in showing that tactics of aggressive warfare create a law sanction through the crime of aggression. The Nuremberg Charter explained that any crimes against humanity or peace remained closely represented as civil compared to universal laws, showing similarities with Jackson’s argument.

Crime as a Moral and Legal Wrong

Jackson uses crime in the sense of both moral and legal wrong in his opening statement at Nuremberg. Moral wrong represents a concept in legal wrong explaining crimes that do more that external damage to victims. Murder or rape are examples of moral wrongs because of their adverse effects. Jackson understood that the Nazis’ efforts to maintain power to take life represented a moral sanction. Jackson also uses crime as a legal wrong to develop civil law, especially on cases of misconduct or public mistakes (Woetzel, 2017). Murder and rape, again, are good examples of legal wrong crimes. Jason’s question poses a challenge to both accused men and the court in analyzing the importance of treating crime as both moral and legal wrong when dealing with crime aggression.

Nuremberg Charter’s ‘new’ law

Wyzanski notes that the Nuremberg Charter attracted a lot of interest through its Count 2 indictment. The charges claim that defendants found participating in any preparation, waging, initiating, or planning any wars of aggression remained in violation concerning international assurances, agreements, or treaties. Wyzanski’s ‘new’ law continues to grow with the last generation generating mounting evidence concerning sentiments indicating the wrongful nature of wars of aggression. Wyzanski also argues that the law remains new as there previously existed no conventional treaty or stipulations placing explicit obligations concerning the funding or aiding of wages in aggressive wars. Mach (2018) analyses that possible bias can also arise from the ‘new’ law, as explained b Wyzanski. Since the matter concerning the crime of aggression focus on both moral and law, the concept offers room for potential bias by analyzing such cases through the political or ethical eye, excluding the law.

Jackson on ex post facto appeal

I would second Jackson’s argument explaining that fundamental ideals remained around for a long time; thus, the use of ex post facto in appealing principles of justice or human rights remains as a non-essential. The ex post facto laws represent political rather than constitutional truth, focusing on the creation of power after offenses through the creation of statute (Adams 2012). Jackson also explains that diverse philosophers like Locke and Hobbes also remained adamant in adopting ex post facto legislation. Promoting the appeal, thus, demotes the importance and necessity behind the constitution’s principle of limitation. Philosophers like Cicero and Demosthenes also comprehended the challenge with retroactive laws, especially in their ability to change core values through abandonment and adaptation of beliefs based on individualism or political gain and attention.

Judge Ruling

I would rule that those held responsible for the Nazi atrocities broke ‘the law.’ The law developed through the Nuremberg Charter first explained that crimes against humanity like torture, persecution of minorities, and murder represent war crimes. The Nazi atrocities included abuse of the Jews and murder, showing a violation of ‘the law.’ Adams (2012) offers reference through Articles 46 & 47 in the Hague Convention accepted by many nations, including the U.S., of 1907 also explained that occupation of hostile territory by all involved countries would observe people’s lives, private property, religious practice, and family rights. The acts by the Nazis, however, broke the convention proving their guilt. The superior-order approach taken as a defense by the defendants explains that using the ex post facto approach, the German soldiers remained compelled to kill and torture if guilty of murder to preserve their families’ lives (Woetzel, 2017). The challenging doctrine might have ground, but no law recognizes compulsion as an excuse for killing or violating people’s human rights. The concept lacks field as it exposes the cornerstone of law and justice to represent quicksand based on self-interest while leaving society’s structure under the hands of ruthless criminals.


The International Military Tribunal held at Nuremberg served as a stepping stone in the maintenance and growth of international law through analyzing and calling out the ‘supreme international crime’ that is crime aggression. The judgment passed represented the first time that the international court held is the responsible parties accountable for their acts of aggression of war crimes like initiating, planning, and preparing a war of aggression. Jackson’s argument explained that war crimes represent both moral and legal wrongs requiring proper judgment under the Nuremberg Charter and previously-existent philosophical frameworks. Wyzanski also reveals that the charter included ‘new’ laws like involving parties that initiated, planned and prepared wars of aggression as guilty under the law





Adams, D. M. (2012). Philosophical problems in the law. Cengage Learning; 5 edition (February 9, 2012).

Mach, J. T. (2018). The Nuremberg Trials: A Troubled Legacy.

Woetzel, R. K. (2017). Comments on the Nuremberg Principles and Conscientious Objection with Special Reference to War Crimes. The Catholic Lawyer16(3), 7.