Henri Donnedieu de Vabres

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
From left to right: Parker, Donnedieu and Falco

Henri Donnedieu de Vabres (8 July 1880 - 14 February 1952) was a French jurist who took part in the Nuremberg trials after World War II. He was the primary French judge during the proceedings, with Robert Falco as his alternate.

Donnedieu was born in Nîmes. Prior to the war, he had campaigned for the concept of an International Criminal Court while serving as a professor of Criminal Law at Paris University. He also became director of the Paris Institute of Criminology. Later in 1947, he would again submit his idea before the United Nations' Committee on the Progressive Development of International Law and its Codification.

During the trials, Donnedieu was noted for protesting the charges of Conspiracy to Wage War as he felt it was too broad to be served in such a monumental trial. As a corollary of this view, he strongly protested the conviction of Colonel-General Alfred Jodl, stating that it was a miscarriage of justice for the professional soldier to be convicted - when he held no allegiance to Nazism. Jodl was later exonerated posthumously by a German court, citing Donnedieu's statement. His trial secretary was Yves Beigbeder.

Donnedieu was also the one to suggest that a firing squad might be a more honourable way to execute those found guilty - though that was strongly contested by Francis Biddle and Iona Nikitchenko.

Along with Lemkin (the Academic who devised the term "genocide" in his 1944 book Axis Rule in Occupied Europe) and Vespasian V. Pella, he was consulted by John Peters Humphrey to prepare the United Nations Secretariat Draft for the Convention on the Prevention of Genocide.

Donnedieu died in Paris in 1952.

His grandson Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres served as France's Minister of Culture from 2004 to 2007.


Judges of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg
United Kingdom Geoffrey Lawrence (president) Norman Birkett (alternative) United Kingdom
United States Francis Biddle (judge) John Parker (alternative) United States
France Henri de Vabres (judge) Robert Falco (alternative) France
Soviet Union Iona Nikitchenko (judge) Alexander Volchkov (alternative) Soviet Union