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Health Hum Rights. 1996;2(1):6-21.

Medicine and Human Rights: Reflections on the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Doctors' Trial.

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Health Law Department, Boston University School of Public Health, 715 Albany Street, Boston, MA 02118.


1996 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the commencement of the trial of Nazi physicians at Nuremberg, a trial that has been variously designated as the "Doctors' Trial" and the "Medical Case." In addition to documenting atrocities committed by physicians and scientists during WWII, the most significant contribution of the trial has come to be known as the "Nuremberg Code," a judicial codification of 10 prerequisites for the moral and legal use of human beings in experiments. Anniversaries provide us with an opportunity to reflect upon the past, but they also enable us to renew our efforts to plan for the future. This article describes briefly the historical evolution of the Nuremberg Code, discusses its current relevance and applicability by using a case study example, and proposes future steps to be taken by the international community.


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