FACT CHECK: Are Mask Mandates Considered A ‘War Crime’ Under The Nuremberg Code?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims mask mandates are considered a “war crime” under the Nuremberg Code.


Verdict: False

There is no mention of mask mandates in the Nuremberg Code.

Fact Check:

The Nuremberg Code is a medical research ethics code that emerged from the Nuremberg military tribunals that followed the end of World War II, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM). It was established to protect people from unethical medical experimentation. Recently, social media users have been sharing an image of what they claim to be Article 6, Section 3 of the code, a segment that appears to classify mask mandates as a “war crime.”

“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,” reads a portion of the image. “Masks or any other medical intervention must remain voluntary.”

This text, however, is nowhere to be found in the Nuremberg Code, which is available on reputable websites such as the USHMM and University of North Carolina’s research page. Check Your Fact reviewed the entirety of the code and found no mention of masks or anything about “preventing” access to “food, healthcare, transport, or education.” The term “war crime” also does not appear in the code.

The text of the code, which centers around the conduct of medical experiments, does mention that “voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential” when it comes to medical experiments.

David Studdert, a professor of medicine and law at the University of Stanford, told Check Your Fact in an email that the Facebook image’s claim was false. (RELATED: Did Ursula von Der Leyen Call For ‘Throwing Out’ The Nuremberg Code?)

“What has come to be called the ‘Nuremberg Code’ consists of 10 principles for medical research involving human participants that were set forth in a decision of the Nuremberg Military Tribunal,” said Studdert. “Masks are not mentioned – nor, for that matter, is anything related to public health measures.”

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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