e-book The Japanese On Trial: Allied War Crimes Operations in the East, 1945–1951

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Piccigallo , Paperback. Be the first to write a review About this product. While the Nuremberg and, to a lesser degree, Tokyo tribunals have received considerable attention, this is the first full-length assessment of the entire Far East operation, which involved some 5, accused and 2, trials. After discussing the Tokyo trial, Piccigallo systematically examines the operations of each Allied nation, documenting procedure and machinery as well as the details of actual trials including hitherto unpublished photographs and ending with a statistical summary of cases.

This study allows a completely new assessment of the Far East proceedings: with a few exceptions, the trials were carefully and fairly conducted, the efforts of defense counsel and the elaborate review procedures being especially noteworthy.


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He concludes with a discussion of the broader implications of such war crimes trials, a matter of interest to the general reader as well as to specialists in history, law, and international affairs. Additional Product Features Dewey Edition. Show More Show Less. Book Description Univ Texas Press. Book Description University of Texas Press, Paperback or Softback.

Seller Inventory BBS Never used! This item is printed on demand. Philip R. Publisher: University of Texas Press , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title This comprehensive treatment of post—World War II Allied war crimes trials in the Far East is a significant contribution to a neglected subject.

Buy New View Book. Customers who bought this item also bought. Stock Image. New Paperback Quantity Available: 1. Seller Rating:. New Quantity Available: 1. Ogle, had amassed considerable experience from other trials. They were sentenced on 6 April and submitted petitions the same day. The reviewing officer, Major W. Simpson, based in Canberra, considered the petitions and went through the proceedings, producing a seven-point summary and concluding that the findings and sentence should stand. Following all this advice, General Sturdee on 11 June confirmed the findings and sentences, which were then promulgated to the convicted men on 25 June.

They were hanged at Rabaul the next morning.

Tokyo War Crimes Trial

Can an eleven-week process of review be judged summary justice, as implied by the authors? This article has been discussed at length because it shows the need for those working on the Australian trials to avoid general assertions about the quality of military justice based on merely two cases and two trial transcripts.

These two p. Also, trial transcripts need to be supplemented by the extensive contemporary accounts available to the researcher. Those who have conducted much wider research across the whole series of the Australian-run trials—Sissons, Carrel and Pappas 41 —are less hasty to condemn Australian military justice. Sissons, who worked through all cases, laid the main criticisms of the Australian-run trials at the feet of the War Crimes Act which federal parliament had passed in October with little or no debate.

He and those who have built on his work perceive a number of flaws in the way the trials were set up and, to some extent, conducted. These relate to admissible evidence, joint trials, language difficulties and inconsistent sentencing. Although the admissibility of affidavits and hearsay was a common feature of war crimes trials of the immediate post-war period, 43 section 9 of the War Crimes Act has been a principal source of disquiet for those critiquing the Australian trials. At any hearing before a military court the court may take into consideration any oral statement or any document appearing on the face of it to be authentic, provided the statement or document appears to the court to be of assistance in proving or disproving the charge, notwithstanding that the statement or document would not be admissible in evidence before a field general court martial.

Most cases in the Australian series of trials included as staples, the statements and affidavits collected from prisoners of war soon after they were recovered from liberated camps following the Japanese surrender. Among the few times victims appeared as witnesses were during those cases involving the Sandakan-Ranau death marches across Borneo. He was married to a local inhabitant. In the context of post-war shortages of air transport and the debility of most prisoners of war in the first years after repatriation, insistence upon former prisoners attending the court in person would not have been feasible.

Although Ham acknowledged using affidavits and statements in the absence of actual witnesses to be cross-examined was not consistent with the hearsay ruling of Australian domestic law, he pointed out that the defence could also use such materials. One in particular used hearsay. Both the defending officer, Captain p. Chisholm, and the Judge-Advocate, Captain J.

Watson, expressed concern about accepting this as evidence in relation to one of the accused but, on review in May , the JAG had concluded the evidence sufficient to justify the finding of guilty. In an unusual turn, this case was reviewed once more by the JAG in October following a petition for retrial. However, he did not change his position. Dunn, also pondered the question of admissible evidence. Within three months of his work at Morotai as reviewing officer and deputy Director of Legal Services there, Dunn published an article comparing the Australian legal basis for its trials with that of Britain and the US.

Another concern about the Australian trials expressed by contemporaries and later critics related to the practice of holding group trials as permitted by Regulation 12 accompanying the Act, which stated that:. Where there is evidence that a war crime has been the result of concerted action upon the part of a unit or group of men, then evidence given upon any charge relating to that crime against any member of such unit or group may be received as prima facie evidence of the responsibility of each member of that unit or group for that crime.

Questions have been raised about the fairness of trying large numbers of suspects together. The examples cited always refer to the same two trials, one with ninety-one accused 57 and another with forty-five accused. There were only fourteen p. When these cases reached the JAG of the time, both men complained of the scale of evidence they had to work through.

These two had been early trials in the whole sequence and it seems the courts learnt their lesson about the difficulties involved in adopting such a procedure. Japanese lawyers for the defence appeared for the first time at Labuan, a week ahead of their use at Rabaul and nearly two months before their use in the Morotai trials.

With Hayasaki, he had formerly been a member of the Japanese civil administration in Borneo. The language problems and cultural misunderstandings created by the co-existence of Anglophone president, court members, prosecution and sometime defence counsel, with defendants who might be not only Japanese but Korean or Taiwanese, calls for a study in itself. Added to this mixture were Japanese defence counsel operating in an unfamiliar legal system and witnesses, belonging not only to language groups previously mentioned, but sometimes including Malays, Indonesians, New Guinea indigenous and other islanders.

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The possibilities of mutual incomprehension were boundless. The longueurs of the translation and checking process, particularly in the humid conditions of some of the island locations, could send not only defendants to sleep but endangered the alertness of the court members. However, when General Imamura Hitoshi and the military policeman guarding him dozed off during his trial at Rabaul it was the president of the court, Major General J. Whitelaw who woke them up. The number of interpreters on offer from the Allied Translator and Interpreter Service ATIS even when supplemented by nisei serving in the US Forces was extremely limited and the standard of some of the rapidly trained Australian interpreters was variable.


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He had been educated in Japan, before his evacuation to Australia in on one of the last ships to leave. Occasionally, the courts could take advantage of the presence of a chance linguist, such as the official Dutch observer at the Darwin trials, Major J. Hosselet, Judge-Advocate in Australia for all Dutch troops. The crimes being tried at Darwin had taken place in Dutch Timor and among the witnesses were local villagers. A prisoner of war in Java for over three years, Hosselet was skilled in several languages, assisting the court at times during the trial.

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Despite these makeshift solutions, however, there were never enough competent interpreters to ensure all defendants and witnesses understood the implication of questions. Undoubtedly, the standard of linguistic proficiency in many cases did not match the requirements expected at war crimes trials today. However, it is anachronistic to judge the provisions made by current standards.

In considering the question of fairness, the good intentions and the compensatory strategies adopted should be taken into account and wholesale condemnation of the trials, citing this factor, should be rejected. Those criticizing the Australian-run trials point to the inconsistency in sentencing as a major issue. There were no general guidelines to sentencing policy or tariffs.


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  8. Death sentences were more frequently awarded. In the first month of the trials, sixty-two per cent of the accused were sentenced to death whereas the figure is only twenty per cent for the Manus trials in —1, despite the Manus cases being selected on the basis they were likely to attract the death sentence. In one case, Lieutenant Katayama Hideo, tried in Morotai in March and sentenced to death for his role in executing one of four downed airmen, lived long enough to see that accused in later trials were awarded lesser sentences, including a case at Rabaul in which Captain Noto Kiyohisa had been found guilty of a similar crime—the murder of three prisoners of war—but had received only a twenty-year sentence.

    He appeared at the Rabaul trial of Captain Kawasaki who was alleged to have conveyed the order to Katayama to execute the captured prisoners. Three weeks before the execution of Katayama, Major Herbert F. One of his arguments was on the grounds of consistency of sentencing. Dick pointed out the discrepancy of awarding a twenty-year sentence to Noto, a more senior officer, for a similar crime. One reason for inconsistency in sentencing lies in the fact that trials were being held concurrently in the first few months at several different locations, p.

    The first trials at Wewak, Morotai and Rabaul all begin in early December within days of each other. Each court had, of course, completely different personnel as president, court members and legal officers. In the temporary courts of Wewak, Morotai and Labuan, held in those particular locations to take advantage of the availability of Australian forces, there were lots of officers for the Convening Authority to press into service. In those temporary courts, there was a great turnover in personnel, militating against the build up of even personal consistency, much less a consistency for the court as a whole.

    In the later and longer-running courts at Rabaul, Singapore and Manus Island, individual presidents, court members and counsel built up much experience with which to measure the heinousness of one crime as against another. Lieutenant Colonel C. Jennings was president of fourteen of the twenty-three trials held in Singapore. Particular courts in the one location might develop some consistency, not only because they were run by overlapping personnel but also because they focused on a particular atrocity or set of related atrocities. This was the case in the Singapore trials, eighteen of which related to crimes committed against prisoners of war building the Burma-Thailand Railway.

    Although Captain A. Mackay sat as president in only one of the Singapore cases—a Burma-Thailand railway case heard on 10 and 12 March 82 —he had built up some expertise as the prosecuting officer in eight earlier cases, five of them concerning crimes committed on the railway.

    The Japanese On Trial: Allied War Crimes Operations in the East, 1945–1951

    He then continued to prosecute cases in Hong Kong. Brock and Major Henry J. The breadth of experience gained in different postings gave these individuals the opportunity to develop some perspective and may be a partial explanation as to why later sentences were more lenient than earlier ones for very similar crimes. Inconsistency was also apparent in the tariffs awarded to senior officers as compared with the junior officers who had carried out their orders.

    At a trial in Rabaul in April , two non-commissioned officers and seven Formosan civilians were sentenced to death for the execution of sick Chinese prisoners of war. Whitelaw, and a recommendation from the JAG that such a long detention awaiting death should justify commutation, the five Formosans were reprieved—too late for the four men already hanged.