måndag 17 februari 2014

The Nuremberg Defense

During the Nuremberg trials that was held between october 1945 and may 1949 many of the accused nazis excused their horrible crimes against humanity with the expression: "I Was Just Following Orders and the law of my nation". Lawful superior orders often known as the Nuremberg defense is a plea in a court of law that a person, whether a member of the army or a civilian, not to be held guilty for actions that was ordered by a superior officer or a public official. 

The Nuremberg defense was not accepted by the judges at the Nuremberg trial who judged that every individual are responsible for their own actions against other human beings despite the laws of the nation or which orders that are given. In their judgement the judges in Nuremberg affirmed the principle of the freedom of conscience. According to the European Convention of Human Rights shall every citizen in the European Union have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. The right to freedom of conscience are often misunderstood in Sweden, the right to invoke freedom of conscience can only be used if healthcare personal have to take part in life-ending activities like abortion or euthanasia (assisted suicide).

In Liberal countries like the Netherlands, Denmark or Belgium as well as in conservative countries like Poland and Italy are freedom of conscience and religion for healthcare professionals a statutory right. Healthcare professionals in those countries don't have to take part in life-ending activities. Their Swedish colleagues don't have that freedom and they risk to lose their job if they decide to rely on their basic human rights and follow their conscience and refuse to obey a given order to take a life. One can ask the question why other countries should listen to Swedish politicians and organizations in democracy issues when they can't live up to their high standards and provide basic human rights like freedom of conscience and religion for it's own citizens?

"Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech." - Benjamin Franklin, 1722.

Text and Photo: Mikael Good

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