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Conclusion: The Hostage Case, Present Day Knowledge, and Future Implications
Swedish Defence University, Department of Political Science and Law, Centre for International and Operational Law.
VID Specialized University (NOR).
2023 (English)In: Honest Errors? Combat Decision-Making 75 Years After the Hostage Case / [ed] Nobuo Hayashi; Carola Lingaas, The Hague: T.M.C. Asser Press, 2023, p. 289-300Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Seventy-five years after a US tribunal in Nuremberg acquitted Lothar Rendulic of devastating and forcibly evacuating Northern Norway, the Rendulic Rule stands firmly in international law. This concluding chapter summarises the anthology’s main historical, legal, and military-ethical findings. It provides an overview of the historical developments that culminated in the scorched earth tactics applied by the retreating German 20th Mountain Army under Rendulic’s command. It then discusses the preparations and legal peculiarities of the trial, as well as reactions to the judgment. The chapter shows that the case against Rendulic is arguably the wrong foundation for the no second-guessing rule, since he did not consider the complete devastation of Northern Norway and the forcible evacuation of its entire civilian population militarily necessary. Although the Rendulic Rule rests on meagre legal forensics, it has acquired legal significance in primary rules of conduct in the shape of the reasonable commander test in international humanitarian law and the mistake of fact defence in international criminal law. Numerous domestic, regional, and international courts and tribunals have applied the rule that nowadays has a strong legal standing. Yet, despite rapidly evolving military and information technology, reasonableness, empathy, and (institutional) bias in combat remain challenging issues

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
The Hague: T.M.C. Asser Press, 2023. p. 289-300
Keywords [en]
Lothar Rendulic, Rendulic Rule, Hostage Case, Nuremberg Trial, Telford Taylor, Northern Norway, scorched earth tactics, forcible evacuation, Josef Terboven, Alfred Jodl, honest error, reasonable commander, mistake of fact, no second-guessing rule, military necessity, empathy in war, moral equality of civilians, drone warfare
National Category
Law (excluding Law and Society)
Research subject
International law
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-11814DOI: 10.1007/978-94-6265-611-6ISBN: 978-94-6265-610-9 (print)ISBN: 978-94-6265-611-6 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:fhs-11814DiVA, id: diva2:1796701
Available from: 2023-09-13 Created: 2023-09-13 Last updated: 2023-11-20Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
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  • asciidoc
  • rtf