CLAIM: The Nuremberg Code explicitly states that mask mandates are a war crime.
THE FACTS: The Nuremberg Code, a set of research ethics created after World War II in response to atrocities perpetrated by Nazi scientists, does not discuss mask mandates. Text circulating online that is said to show details in the code about masks is bogus. Posts claiming that the Nuremberg Code classifies mask mandates as war crimes have circulated widely on social media alongside an image purportedly showing text from “Article 6: Section 3” of the code.
Part of the text in the image states, “Leaders should be aware that mandating masks on the citizens of a nation and preventing their access to food, healthcare, transport or education if they don’t comply, is a war crime. Masks or any other medical intervention must remain voluntary.”
But the Nuremberg Code contains no such information. The code doesn’t mention masks or mask mandates. The sixth principle of the real code asserts that an experiment’s “degree of risk” should “never exceed” the “humanitarian importance of the problem” that the experiment aims to solve.
Dorit Reiss, a law professor at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, told The Associated Press that the Nuremberg Code doesn’t include “anything like” the text in the image. “From start to bottom, this is made up,” she said. “The essence of the code is to prohibit experiments on human subjects without informed consent. Mask mandates are not experiments. The people who are subject to them are not human subjects.”
“The code is in no way, shape or form relevant to mask mandates,” Reiss added.
The Nuremberg Code originated at a military tribunal that occurred in Nuremberg, Germany, following World War II where Nazi officials were prosecuted. Physicians who conducted harrowing experiments on concentration camp inmates were among the defendants. The code was drafted in 1947 in response to the scientists’ crimes and remains influential in medical ethics. The AP previously reported on different online posts that claimed Germany’s restrictions for unvaccinated people violate the Nuremberg Code. Medical ethics and legal experts told the AP that these claims are false.
— Associated Press writer Josh Kelety in Phoenix contributed this report.