The Nuremberg trials were one of the few times that humanity has actually tried to hold its rulers accountable for their crimes and depredations. From Matthew Ehret at strategic-culture.org:
“The wrongs which we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant and so devastating, that Civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored because it cannot survive their being repeated. That four great nations, flushed with victory and stung with injury, stay the hand of vengeance and voluntarily submit their captives to the judgement of law, is one of the most significant tributes that Power ever paid to reason.”
-Justice Robert Jackson, Nov. 21, 1945
It is often forgotten what sort of a battle occurred after WWII to establish the Nuremberg Trials which gave the world a revolutionary code of law which even today offers many of the remedies to the Gordian Knots blocking our way to a peaceful future. By the end of the war, many European leaders of the allied nations wished to simply put leading Nazis against a wall to face a firing squad and return to “business as usual”.
As I’ve outlined in many recent writings, it was only through the intensive efforts of U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, and his leading allies in both the USA and Russia that a different course of action was decided upon and an official international tribunal was sanctioned that generated a total legal paradigm shift in international law that has been too easily taken for granted (due largely to the lack of effect these laws have had on post-WWII practice).
Among those revolutionary reforms included the unprecedented mandate that wars of aggression would henceforth be illegal in the eyes of the law. The tendency for those higher officials carrying out inhuman orders to escape responsibility for their actions or omissions of correct action were deemed insufficient defenses under the higher moral principle of “known or should have known”.
The underlying assumption of these Nuremberg laws are: 1) “might does not make right” despite what generations of Hobbesians and Niescheans have chosen to believe and 2) that every individual is responsible for their decisions based not on the arbitrary standards of whatever degenerate society they live in but rather upon the belief in the intrinsic powers of reason and conscience which all humans have access to and are obliged to guide our actions in life.