Henry T. King Jr.

(1919-2009)
CUSLI Chairman

PUBLIC MEMORIAL SERVICE
will be held on:

            • September 9th 2009
            • 4:30 PM
            • CWRU Schol of Law Moot Court Room
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ARTICLES ON PAST EVENTS

VIDEO - View Henry T. King, Jr., on Nuremberg, at Chautauqua Institution, August 26, 2008

 

THE NEW YORK TIMES - Henry T. King Jr., Prosecutor at Nuremberg, Dies at 89 (1919-2009)

TELEGRAPH.co.uk - Henry T. King Jr., Prosecutor at Nuremberg, Dies at 89 (1919-2009)

PLAIN DEALER REPORT - Henry T. King Jr., Nuremberg prosecutor, Case Western Reserve University professor, dies at age 89

GLOBE AND MAIL - With his voice and his bell, law professor shaped our relationship with U.S.

SPEECH - Honoring Dr. Henry T. King, Jr. - Dinner January 25, 2009

SPEECH - US House of Representatives Remembrance of Henry T. King,Jr."

 

Henry T. King Jr., Prosecutor at Nuremberg, Dies at 89
(1919-2009)

The New York Times
By DENNIS HEVESI       
Published: May 12, 2009
Henry T. King Jr.

Henry T. King Jr., right, with Albert Speer in Germany in 1981.

 

Henry T. King Jr., one of the last Nuremberg war crimes prosecutors and an influential voice since World War II in international efforts to bring war criminals to justice, died Saturday at his home in Cleveland. He was 89.

The cause was cancer, said his son, Dave.

Mr. King was “one of a handful of uniquely credible veterans in his field, one of the last voices of Nuremberg,” John Q. Barrett, a law professor at St. John’s University and an expert on the trials, said Monday. “He influenced students and lecture audiences, international diplomats and even heads of state.”

“Nuremberg left a lifelong imprint on Henry King,” Professor Barrett continued, “and through the next 60 years of his life, he spoke and wrote constantly about the value that came out of Nuremberg.”

Mr. King, along with Whitney Harris and Benjamin Ferencz, both of whom survive, were the last three of about 200 American prosecutors who helped bring dozens of Nazi leaders to trial from 1945 to 1949.

Half a century later, the three joined forces to help shape the creation of the International Criminal Court. When delegates from 131 nations met in Rome to establish the criminal court in 1998, their original draft placed war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide under the court’s jurisdiction. The delegates did not include wars of aggression as war crimes, as opposed to those fought in self-defense or authorized by the United Nations. The three prosecutors traveled to Rome and lobbied to reshape the draft.

“They used their moral authority; they were persistent, and ultimately the delegates included a reference to the crime of war of aggression in the court’s statute,” said Michael Scharf, the director of the International Law Center at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

The I.C.C. is the first permanent international criminal court in history. (The United States has not ratified the I.C.C. treaty.)

The court is currently seeking to prosecute the president of Sudan, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, for crimes against humanity in Darfur and is considering other cases.

For the past 25 years, Mr. King was a law professor at Case Western Reserve, teaching courses on international law and war crimes. He was a member of the American Bar Association’s Task Force on War Crimes in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, and he was a senior adviser to the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown, N.Y. The center brings together war crimes experts, promoting the legacy of Justice Robert H. Jackson of the Supreme Court, who in 1945 was appointed by President Harry S. Truman as chief prosecutor for the Nuremberg trials.

“Three generations of scholars and practitioners of international criminal law have been mentored by Mr. King,” Professor Scharf said.

Henry Thomas King Jr. was born in Meriden, Conn., on May 27, 1919, the son of Henry and Stella King. Besides his son, Mr. King is survived by his daughter, Suzanne Wagner; three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. His wife of 50 years, the former Betty May Scranton, died in 1993.

Mr. King graduated from Yale in 1941. A heart murmur kept him out of the military in World War II. He received his law degree from Yale in 1943. Soon after, while he was working at a New York law firm, he became bored. He traveled to the Pentagon in 1946 and was accepted as a member of the Nuremberg prosecution.

Mr. King was 26 when he stepped off a train in war-ravaged Nuremberg. All about him were the rubble of bombed-out buildings and people begging for food.

“As I walked to the courthouse for the first time, I said I’m going to dedicate my life to the prevention of this,” he said at a conference on genocide held last August by the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, N.Y.

In 1945 and 1946, the United States, Britain, France and the Soviet Union had joined in the prosecution of 21 Nazi officials. Among them were Hermann Göring, commander of the Luftwaffe, and Albert Speer, who as minister of war production was in charge of all German industry. Eighteen of the 21 were convicted; on Oct. 16, 1946, 10 were hanged. Speer, the only one to express remorse, spent 20 years in prison; he died in 1981.

Assigned in 1946 and 1947 to the second phase of the trials, Mr. King investigated medical experiments performed on concentration camp inmates and gathered evidence against Walther von Brauchitsch, the commander of German armed forces. But his primary work was as assistant trial counsel in the case against Erhard Milch, a high-ranking German officer who was convicted in connection with the abuse and executions of slave laborers. His life sentence was later commuted to 15 years.

To gather evidence for the Milch case, Mr. King interviewed some of those already convicted, including Speer. It was the start of a long relationship, one in which Mr. King could never quite comprehend the contradictions in the seemingly contrite Speer.

For more than 30 years, Mr. King corresponded with Speer and visited him. He kept a photograph of Speer by his bedside. Still, he said, he was not taken in by the war criminal.

"Speer closed his eyes to the world of humanity, and thus, a concern for human ethics never intruded on his relentless drive as armaments minister,” Mr. King wrote in a 1997 memoir, “The Two Worlds of Albert Speer.” “In a technological world, the magic concoction for evil consists of blind technocrats such as Speer led by an evil and aggressive leader such as Hitler.”

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Henry T. King Jr.,

Henry T King Jr, who has died aged 89, was a young prosecutor at the Nuremberg war crime trials and an influential voice in international efforts to bring war criminals in present-day conflicts to justice.

Telegraph.co.uk 
Published: 6:59PM BST 18 May 2009

King (right) with fellow Nuremberg prosecutors Whitney Harris (centre) and Ben Ferencz

 

King was one of the last three of some 200 American prosecutors who helped bring dozens of Nazi leaders to trial between 1945 and 1949; the others still living are Whitney Harris and Benjamin Ferencz.

Half a century later, King, Harris and Ferencz joined forces to help shape the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the first permanent body of its kind. In a landmark case, the court is trying to prosecute a sitting leader – Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir – for crimes against humanity. King's home country, America, has not ratified the ICC treaty.

Immediately after the Second World War, the United States, Britain, France and the Soviet Union jointly prosecuted 21 Nazi officials at Nuremberg for war crimes; among them were Hermann Goering, commander of the Luftwaffe, and Albert Speer, Hitler's closest personal associate who, as minister of war production, had been responsible for German industry. Of these, 18 were convicted, and on October 16 1946 10 were hanged. Speer, the only one to express remorse, spent 20 years in prison, and died in 1981.

King was assigned to the second phase of the Nuremberg tribunals. He helped prosecute Walther von Brauchitsch, the commander of German armed forces and, as assistant trial counsel, prepared the case against Field Marshal Erhard Milch, second-in-command of the Luftwaffe, who had led the German air armada in the Battle of Britain. Subsequently convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the abuse and execution of slave labourers, Milch eventually had his sentence commuted to 15 years.

As part of the case against Milch, King interviewed Goering several times, the last occasion being on September 28 1946, when King required him to sign an affidavit implicating Milch in certain war crimes. "Here's your affidavit," Goering snapped. "I give it back to you now and also the paper clip – they think I might do something to myself with this paper clip." A fortnight later, a day before his scheduled execution, Goering committed suicide with a cyanide capsule.

While gathering evidence in the Milch case, King interviewed Speer and was deeply impressed by his admission of guilt, striking up a correspondence with the German that was to last more than 30 years. King considered Speer "the window into Hitler's soul", and although King struggled to comprehend the contradictions in the seemingly contrite Speer, he insisted that he was never taken in by him.

"Speer closed his eyes to the world of humanity, and thus a concern for human ethics never intruded on his relentless drive as armaments minister," King wrote in his 1997 memoir The Two Worlds of Albert Speer. "In a technological world, the magic concoction for evil consists of blind technocrats such as Speer led by an evil and aggressive leader such as Hitler."

To King, Speer expressed enormous respect for the senior British judge, Sir Geoffrey Lawrence, who ran the tribunals with fairness and even-handedness. King believed that lawyers had a duty to create a better world for future generations: "We have been given a privilege by society to practise Law," he once said, "and in return we need to tithe a bit for society."

Henry Thomas King Jr was born at Meriden, Connecticut, on May 27 1919. He went through Yale Law School in two years instead of three, graduating in 1943.

He was disqualified from military service by a heart murmur, but became bored handling taxes and trusts for a New York law firm, and in 1946 was accepted by the Pentagon as a member of the Nuremberg prosecution team.

He was 26 when he stepped off a train in a rainstorm in Nuremberg amid the rubble of bombed-out buildings; all around him people were begging for food. "As I walked to the courthouse for the first time, I said I'm going to dedicate my life to the prevention of this," he recalled.

Returning to the United States after the Nuremberg trials, King became a corporate lawyer and legal adviser to a trade group. He served as counsel to the US foreign economic aid programme, originally known as the Marshall Plan, before spending two decades with a law firm based in Cleveland, Ohio.

From 1984 King was a law professor at Case Western Reserve, a private research university in Cleveland, teaching courses on international law and war crimes. In the 1990s he was a member of the American Bar Association's task force on war crimes in the former Yugoslavia.

He was also a senior adviser to the Robert H Jackson Centre in New York State, which brings together war crimes experts, promoting the legacy of a Supreme Court judge who, in 1945, was appointed by President Harry S Truman as chief prosecutor for the Nuremberg trials.

When asked how he coped at Nuremberg with a daily caseload of brutality, King would always reply with the single word "Scotch".

Henry T King Jr, who died on May 9, is survived by his daughter. His wife of 50 years, the former Betty May Scranton, a friend since nursery school, died in 1993.

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Henry T. King Jr., Nuremberg prosecutor, Case Western Reserve University professor, dies at age 89

Plain Dealer Report
Posted by: James Ewinger and Grant Segall
May 12, 2009 07:00AM

Henry King spent a lifetime trying to make the words "Never Again" come true.

King, 89, who died Saturday at home, was the youngest of some 100 Nuremberg prosecutors and a pioneer in international justice and peace.

"Henry King is the George Washington of modern international law," David M. Crane, a Syracuse University professor and chief prosecutor of Sierra Leone President Charles Taylor, said Monday.

"He launched a remarkable postwar campaign to prevent war and atrocities by agitating for the creation of a world in which human rights violators would know, to a certainty, that their crimes would be investigated and prosecuted," Eli Rosenbaum, director of special investigations for the U.S. Department of Justice, said at Cleveland's Union Club last year.

King was chief counsel for the Marshall Plan, chief international counsel for TRW, professor at Case Western Reserve University and leader of many organizations, including the international law section of the American Bar Association.

King helped to authorize the International Criminal Court in 1998 and start tribunals from Yugoslavia to Cambodia. He led a winning drive to give the court jurisdiction against unprovoked wars.

"We're all party to the same race," King once said. "We have common rights, regardless of borders and geography and culture."

He worked not just to prosecute across borders but also trade across them. He led a three-country committee whose recommendations were incorporated in the controversial North American Free Trade Agreement.

At Nuremberg, he spent hours interviewing Nazi leaders Hermann Goering and Albert Speer. He called Goering "a very charismatic man still deeply under the influence of Adolf Hitler. He had the bearing of a field marshal, and showed no remorse."

King became lifelong friends with Speer. "I thought he was very honest. He's the only one who admitted that he was responsible."

In court, King often raised his voice and pounded his fist. Outside, he spoke softly and cheerfully.

People often asked how he could deal with brutality daily.

"Scotch," he would always reply.

King was raised by an artist mother and a father who dropped out of seventh grade, graduated from Yale Law School and became mayor of Meriden, Conn. At his father's urging, King went to Yale College and Law School, finishing the latter in two years.

A heart murmur disqualified him for the military. He joined a top Manhattan law firm, handling taxes and trusts.

He was about to join a smaller firm when a friend invited him to Nuremberg to help prosecute top Nazis for the slaughter of millions of Jews, dissidents, homosexuals and others.

Other friends said King would jeopardize his career by joining an ad hoc global team under a melting pot of laws. Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin called the prosecutions too tame. U.S. Sen. Robert Taft of Ohio called them too vengeful.

But King's wife, the former Betty May Scranton, his friend since nursery school, encouraged him to put humanity above career.

King felt about Nuremberg as about today's tribunals: It was imperfect but better than silence.

"The whole human-rights movement began at Nuremburg," he once said. "The conscience of mankind was mobilized for a better world."

King prepared most of the case against Field Marshal Erhard Milch, second in command of the German air force. Milch was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in slave labor and human experiments.

King also helped prosecute Walther Von Brauchitsch, Germany's commander in chief.

Back in the United States, he struggled to find work but eventually became a corporate counsel and a legal adviser to a trade group. Then came a turn with the U.S. Foreign Economic Aid Program, originally dubbed the Marshall Plan.

TRW brought King to Cleveland in 1961 as corporate counsel. He spent 20 years with the corporation, then retired to the prestigious Squire, Sanders & Dempsey law firm.

He recruited international law professors and students to CWRU. He arranged credit for students working at tribunals. He staged a yearly "Case Abroad at Home" week to bring foreign faculty here.

"He was the greatest light in the field of his generation," said professor Michael Scharf, whom King coaxed to CWRU in 2002.

King wrote 78 articles on international law. He attended many conferences around the world, including the one in Rome that launched the International Criminal Court. He was an honored guest at the court's debut in the Netherlands.

Among many civic roles, he led the Cleveland World Trade Association. He also helped create and lead the Canada-United States Law Institute, a partnership between CWRU and the University of Western Ontario.

On the side, he loved to dance, swim and walk. He summered in Block Island.

King sometimes seemed to have more influence with foreign governments than his own. The United States took 38 years to ratify the international treaty against genocide. It still has not ratified the International Criminal Court.

But King said, "I am a born optimist." He saw progress coming slowly but steadily.

"Ultimately," he predicted, "we'll have a better structure for peace."

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With his voice and his bell, law professor shaped our relationship with U.S.

Globe and Mail
Posted by :Barrie McKenna
May 12, 2009 at 7:39 AM EDT

WASHINGTON bmckenna@globeandmail.com

Armed with an oversized school bell, Case Western Reserve University law professor Henry King ran his renowned annual Canada-U.S. relations conferences with firmness and flair. Speakers who ran overtime, or those who merely ran on, risked getting gonged.

Those who knew the former Nuremberg prosecutor, who died in Cleveland over the weekend at the age of 89, probably won't miss his bell.

But they'll surely mourn the loss of a leading U.S. voice for free trade, cross-border co-operation and strong bilateral institutions.

"He really believed in the ties that bind, rather than the ties that separate," said Toronto trade lawyer Lawrence Herman, who sits on the executive committee of the Canada-United States Law Institute, which Prof. King nurtured and ran for 26 years until just months before his death.

"He cared about our shared values," Mr. Herman said.

Trade lawyer Richard Cunningham, a senior partner at Steptoe & Johnson LLP in Washington, called Prof. King a "giant" of Canada-U.S. relations and a commanding figure who was always ready to tackle "the big issues."

The Cleveland-based institute was founded in 1976, when the debate over Canada-U.S. free trade was in its infancy. And it remains one of the few institutions focused entirely on the Canada-U.S. relationship.

Prof. King joined the institute in the early 1980s, after a career as corporate counsel for auto parts maker TRW. In the 25 years since, the institute's journal and conferences have taken on just about every major cross-border issue, including the auto pact, acid rain, softwood lumber, energy, climate change, arctic sovereignty, the post-9/11 security clampdown and "Buy American" restrictions.

More than just a debating society, the institute has also quietly guided and shaped policy, including the North American free-trade agreement.

Americans have a tendency to focus on relationships that are "going badly," rather than the ones that are generally sound, such as their ties to Canada, Mr. Cunningham pointed out. Prof. King was among those who constantly fretted about the danger of his country's sometimes "benign neglect" of Canada, and he worked hard to keep debates alive in the United States and search for practical solutions, he said.

"Canadians would say 'benign neglect.' Americans would say, 'Everything is going fine: Where's the neglect?' " Mr. Cunningham remarked.

The conferences, held every spring on the campus of Case Western in Cleveland, emerged as a leading forum for the main players in those debates - inside and outside government. The gatherings would routinely attract cabinet ministers, current and former ambassadors, top government officials, lawyers, business leaders and academics.

Among Prof. King's greatest talents was his ability to badger and cajole key decision makers and executives - particularly Americans - to take part, said Michael Robinson, counsel at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin in Toronto. "He was good at using his connections," he said.

Ailing health forced Prof. King to miss this year's event - his first absence in a quarter century of conferences. And until recently, he continued to teach.

Prof. King's curmudgeonly style, which Mr. Herman describes as "cranky, but in an endearing way," was forged early in his career. At age 26, the Connecticut native became the youngest prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, taking part in the interrogation of Luftwaffe commander Hermann Goering and other leading Nazi leaders.

"Nuremberg introduced the concept that individuals and states were subject to international law, including limits on sovereignty," Prof. King said in 2005. "In a sense, it marked the coming of international law as a force to be reckoned with on our planet."

Prof. King was a staunch defender of the United Nations, a leading advocate for the creation of the International Criminal Court in 1998 and a harsh critic of the now-suspended U.S. military tribunals of terrorism suspects.

Prof. King fretted in recent years about the threats to Canada-U.S. trade caused by thickening border security. Dan Ujczo, who succeeds him as director, pointed out that Prof. King was the "lifeblood" of the institute because he remembered a time before the FTA and most of the other key institutions that are the foundation of the relationship.

"He was the institutional memory of what we are doing," Mr. Ujczo said.

And in a country where Canada is often overlooked, he demanded that people pay attention to those issues - even if that meant ringing a bell.

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