The term "laws of war" refers to the rules governing the
actual conduct of armed conflict. This idea that there actually exists
rules that govern war is a difficult concept to understand. The simple
act of war in and of itself seems to be in violation of an almost
universal law prohibiting one human being from killing another. But
during times of war murder of the enemy is allowed, which leads one to
the question, "if murder is permissible then what possible "laws of
war" could there be?" The answer to this question can be found in the

Charter established at the International Military Tribunals at

Nuremberg and Tokyo:

Crimes against Humanity: namely, murder, extermination,
enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against
any civilian population, before or during the war, or persecutions on
political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in
connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal,
whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where
perpetrated. Leaders, organizers, instigators, and accomplices
participating in the formulation or execution of a common plan or
conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing crimes are responsible for
all acts performed by any persons in execution of such plan.1 The
above excerpt comes form the Charter of the Tribunal Article 6 section

C, which makes it quite clear that in general the "laws of war" are
there to protect innocent civilians before and during war.

It seems to be a fair idea to have such rules governing armed
conflict in order to protect the civilians in the general location of
such a conflict. But, when the conflict is over, and if war crimes
have been committed, how then are criminals of war brought to justice?

The International Military Tribunals held after World War II in

Nuremberg on 20 November 1945 and in Tokyo on 3 May 1946 are excellent
examples of how such crimes of war are dealt with. (Roberts and Guelff

153-54) But, rather than elaborate on exact details of the Tribunals
of Nuremberg and Tokyo a more important matter must be dealt with.

What happens when alleged criminals of war are unable to be
apprehended and justly tried? Are they forgotten about, or are they
sought after such as other criminals are in order to serve justice?

What happens if these alleged violators are found residing somewhere
other than where their pursuers want to bring them to justice? How
does one go about legally obtaining the custody of one such suspect?

Some of the answers to these questions can be found in an analysis of
how Israel went about obtaining the custody of individuals that it
thought to be guilty of Nazi War Crimes. Not only will one find some
of the answers to the previously stated questions, but also one will
gain an understanding of one facet of international law and how it

Two cases in specific will be dealt with here. First, the
extradition of Adolf Eichmann from Argentina, and second, the
extradition of John Demjanjuk from the United States of America. These
cases demonstrate two very different ways that Israel went about
obtaining the custody of these alleged criminals. The cases also
expose the intricacy of International Law in matters of extradition.

But, before we begin to examine each of these cases we must first
establish Israel's right to judicial processing of alleged Nazi war

To understand the complications involved in Israel placing
suspected Nazi war criminals on trial, lets review the history of

Israel's situation. During World War II the Nazis were persecuting

Jews in their concentration camps. At this time the state of Israel
did not exist. The ending of the war meant the ending of the
persecution, and when the other countries discovered what the Nazis
had done Military Tribunals quickly followed. Some of the accused war
criminals were tried and sentenced, but others managed to escape
judgement and thus became fugitives running from international law.

Israel became a state, and thus, some of the Jews that survived the
concentration camps moved to the state largely populated by people of

Jewish ancestry. Israel felt a moral commitment because of its large

Jewish population and set about searching for the fugitive Nazi war

The situation just described is only a basic overview of what
happened. The state of Israel views itself as the nation with the
greatest moral jurisdiction for the trial of Nazi war criminals, and
other states around the Globe agree with Israel's claim. (Lubet and

Reed 1) Former Israeli Attorney General Gideon Hausner was interested
in confirming Israel as the place for bringing to justice all those
suspected of genocide of Jews. Hausner sought to confirm