Actual examples of EIC
It is always easier to understand the rules relating to EIC by looking at actual examples where you can see them being used in practice. We have several examples in this section, including the EIC of Joan of Arc, as well as extracts from the Nuremberg trials.
To access these examples of examination in chief please click on the following links.
Extracts from the Nuremberg Trials
The Nuremberg trials were a series of military tribunals held after World War II by the Allied forces under international law and the laws of war. The trials were most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, judicial, and economic leadership of Nazi Germany, who planned, carried out, or otherwise participated in the Holocaust and other war crimes. The trials were held in Nuremberg, Germany, and their decisions marked a turning point between classical and contemporary international law.
The first and best known of the trials was that of the major war criminals before the International Military Tribunal (IMT). It was described as "the greatest trial in history" by Sir Norman Birkett, one of the British judges present throughout. Held between 20 November 1945 and 1 October 1946, the Tribunal was given the task of trying 24 of the most important political and military leaders of the Third Reich. Primarily treated here is the first trial, conducted by the International Military Tribunal. Further trials of lesser war criminals were conducted under Control Council Law No. 10 at the U.S. Nuremberg Military Tribunal (NMT), which included the Doctors' trial and the Judges' Trial.
The trials transcripts that you can access here cover atrocities committed against millions. You will almost certainly find that testimony upsetting, but equally as lawyers it is important to have an awareness of this history. These transcripts cover the examination in chief of various witnesses in the trials and many illustrate very well the EIC techniques we've described in this section. A good idea is to analyse the different transcripts and identify examples of for example,
- only citing one fact or dealing with one issue per question
- avoiding compound questions
- identifying those questions that are leading and thinking about why a leading question was allowed there.
- Thinking about why narrative testimony was allowed in these cases, even though the normal rule is that narrative answers should be avoided in EIC.
Transcripts of examples of EIC from the Nuremberg Trials
Testimony of S. S. General Otto Ohlendorf (concerning Einsatzgrubben atrocities) on January 3, 1946
Testimony of Marie Claude Vaillant-Couturier (concerning Auschwitz gassing) on January 28, 1946
Testimony of Abram Suzkever (concerning Einsatzgruppen atrocities in Vilna) on February 27, 1946
Testimony of Rudolf Hoess, Commandant of Auschwitz, on April 15, 1946
Testimony of Hans Frank on April 18, 1946
From the doctor's trials
The Tribunal is celebrated for establishing that "crimes against international law are committed by men, not by abstract entities, and only by punishing individuals who commit such crimes can the provisions of international law be enforced."The creation of the IMT was followed by trials of lesser Nazi officials and the trials of Nazi doctors, who performed experiments on people in prison camps. It served as the model for the International Military Tribunal for the Far East which tried Japanese officials for crimes against peace and crimes against humanity. It also served as the model for the Eichmann trial and present-day courts at The Hague, for trying crimes committed during the Balkan wars of the early 1990s, and at Arusha, for trying the people responsible for the genocide in Rwanda.
The Nuremberg trials had a great influence on the development of international criminal law, and led to the development of the International Criminal Court. The Conclusions of the Nuremberg trials served as models for:
The Genocide Convention, 1948.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948.
The Nuremberg Principles, 1950.
The Convention on the Abolition of the Statute of Limitations on War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity, 1968.
The Geneva Convention on the Laws and Customs of War, 1949; its supplementary protocols, 1977.
The International Law Commission, acting on the request of the United Nations General Assembly, produced in 1950 the report Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nürnberg Tribunal and in the Judgement of the Tribunal (Yearbook of the International Law Commission, 1950, vol. II
You can explore the Nuremberg trials in more detail by going to https://nuremberg.law.harvard.edu