The Nuremberg 'Code

Founded: International Tribunal of Nuremberg, 1946.
English translation: Gonzalo Herranz.
Copyright of the Spanish translation: No.
Checked on 29 May 2007.

The Nuremberg 'Code
The test for war crimes and crimes against humanity

Applying any recognised standard of assessment, the judgment sample that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed as alleged in points two and three of the complaint. From the beginning of the Second World War, large-scale criminal medical experiments were carried out in Germany and in the occupied countries on non-German citizens, both prisoners of war and civilians, including Jews and "asocial" persons. Such experiments were not the isolated or casual actions of doctors or scientists working in isolation or on their own responsibility, but were the result of a coordinated rules and regulations and planning at the highest levels of the government, the army and the Nazi party, practised as part of the total war effort. agreement They were ordered, approved, permitted or sanctioned by persons in positions of authority, who were obliged, according to the principles of law, to be aware of these acts and to take the necessary measures to prevent and stop them.

Permissible medical experiments

There is substantial evidence to show that certain types of experimentation on human beings, when kept within reasonably defined limits, are in accordance with the general ethics of the medical profession. Those who practise human experimentation justify their attitude on the grounds that such experiments provide results that benefit humanity and that cannot be obtained by other methods or means of study. All agree agreement, however, that certain basic principles must be observed in order to satisfy requirements of morality, ethics and law:

1. The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential.

This means that the person concerned must have the legal capacity to consent; must be in a position to exercise full freedom of choice, unimpeded by force, fraud, deceit, intimidation, promise or any other form of coercion or threat; and must have sufficient information and knowledge of the elements of the relevant experiment so that he or she can understand what he or she is deciding. This last element requires that, before accepting an affirmative response from an experimental subject, the researcher must have made known to him or her the nature, duration and purpose of the experiment; the methods and means by which it will be conducted; the inconveniences and risks that can reasonably be expected; and the effects on his or her health or personality that might result from participation in the experiment. The duty and responsibility to assess the quality of consent rests with each and every individual who initiates, conducts, or collaborates in the experiment. It is a personal duty and responsibility that cannot be delegated to another with impunity.

2. The experiment should be such as to promise results beneficial to the welfare of society, and which cannot be obtained by other means of study. They may not be of a capricious or unnecessary nature.

3. The experiment should be designed and based on data from previous animal experimentation and on knowledge of the natural history of the disease and other problems under study that may promise results that justify the conduct of the experiment.

4. The experiment shall be conducted in such a way as to avoid unnecessary physical or mental suffering or injury.

5. Experiments which there is a priori reason to believe are likely to result in death or serious incapacitating harm shall not be carried out, except, perhaps, in experiments in which the experimenters themselves serve as subjects.

6. The Degree risk taken may never exceed that determined by the humanitarian significance of the problem the experiment is intended to solve.

7. Appropriate measures shall be taken and suitable arrangements provided to protect the subject from even the remotest possibility of injury, disability or death.

8. Experiments should be conducted only by scientifically qualified persons. The highest level of competence and care should be required of those conducting or participating in the experiment throughout all phases of the experiment. Degree .

9. During the course of the experiment the subject shall be free to terminate the experiment if he considers that he has reached a physical or mental state in which it seems impossible to continue the experiment.

10. During the course of the experiment, the responsible scientist should be prepared to terminate the experiment at any time if he or she has reason to believe, in the exercise of good faith, proven skill and clinical judgement, that continuation of the experiment is likely to result in the injury, disability or death of the experimental subject result .