Farewell to the last surviving Nuremberg Trials Prosecutor, Ben Ferencz

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© Adam Jones, Ph.D

On 7 April 2023, the last surviving Prosecutor at the Nuremberg Tribunal Benjamin Ferencz (“Ben Ferencz”) passed away at the age of 103, leaving behind a lifelong fight for justice and a fundamental message, “Law. Not war”. FIDH is saddened by this great loss and pays tribute to the man who, as highlighted by FIDH Secretary General Mazen Darwish, has “inspired so many champions of justice”.

Ben Ferencz was a lawyer, an author, a professor, an investigator, a prosecutor, an advocate. Youngest Prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials, he was assigned what was later called the biggest murder trial in history – the Einsatzgruppen trial – involving 22 Nazis charged with murdering over a million people, all eventually convicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity. After the Nuremberg trials ended, Ben Ferencz continued to make substantive contributions to international justice, victims’ rights and fight for peace. He was a major advocate for the creation and establishment of a permanent international criminal court and has been involved in its development since 1998, the adoption of the Rome Statute.

Ben Ferencz has dedicated his life to make the world a better place, to replace “the rule of force with the rule of law”. FIDH extends its condolences to his family and will continue the fight in honour of a great man and for the millions of victims of war and violence still suffering around the world.

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