West Germany: Judgment at Bonn

The case is unusual in that the defendants are charged with crimes committed in the name of the law. The defendants served as judges. They distorted, they perverted, they destroyed justice and law.

With those words, the prosecution opened the case against the accused judges in the film Judgment at Nuremberg. Last week, the West German government enacted its own version of the movie.

In order to protect the judiciary from political pressure, the West German constitution specifies that judges must be appointed for life. In practice, the 1949 law has revealed a damaging defect: of the country's 11,600 judges, about...

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