Victors' Justice: Tokyo War Crimes Trial

Victors' Justice: Tokyo War Crimes Trial

RICHARD H. MINEAR
Copyright Date: 1971
Pages: 246
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt13x1fmm
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    Victors' Justice: Tokyo War Crimes Trial
    Book Description:

    The klieg-lighted Tokyo Trial began on May 3, 1946, and ended on November 4, 1948, a majority of the eleven judges from the victorious Allies finding the twenty-five surviving defendants, Japanese military and state leaders, guilty of most, if not all, of the charges. As at Nuremberg, the charges included for the first time "crimes against peace" and "crimes against humanity," as well as conventional war crimes. In a polemical account, Richard Minear reviews the background, proceedings, and judgment of the Tokyo Trial from its Charter and simultaneous Nuremberg "precedent" to its effects today.

    Mr. Minear looks at the Trial from the aspects of international law, of legal process, and of history. With compelling force, he discusses the motives of the Nuremberg and Tokyo proponents, the Trial's prejudged course-its choice of judges, procedures, decisions, and omissions-General MacArthur's review of the verdict, the criticisms of the three dissenting judges, and the dangers inherent in such an international, political trial. His systematic, partisan treatment pulls together evidence American lawyers and liberals have long suspected, feared, and dismissed from their minds.

    Contents: Preface. I. Introduction. II. The Tokyo Trial. III. Problems of International Law. IV. Problems of Legal Process. V. Problems of History. VI. After the Trial. Appendices.

    Originally published in 1973.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-7034-9
    Subjects: Law, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. ix-2)
    Richard H. Minear
  4. I. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 3-19)

    The Tokyo trial opened on May 3,1946. At 9:30 a.m. the marshal cried: “The International Military Tribunal for the Far East is in session and is ready to hear any matter brought before it.” The Tokyo trial was underway.

    The opening ceremonies took place in the auditorium of the old Japanese War Ministry. This very large room had been remodeled carefully, both to give dignity to the setting and to facilitate photographic coverage of the trial. But something was not quite right. In its very first article covering the trial,Time Magazinecompared the setting unfavorably with Nuremberg: “Nuremberg’s impresarios...

  5. II. THE TOKYO TRIAL: CHARTER, INDICTMENT, JUDGMENT
    (pp. 20-33)

    Long negotiations among the Big Four at the London Conference had produced the Nuremberg Charter. No similar conference preceded the promulgation of the Tokyo Charter. Instead, the Tokyo Charter was an executive decree of General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers in Japan, acting under orders from the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff.¹ The charter itself had been drawn up by Americans, primarily by Chief Prosecutor Joseph B. Keenan. America’s allies were consulted only after the charter had been issued.²

    Such unilateral action might have caused major friction among the Allies. But both the United States and...

  6. III. PROBLEMS OF INTERNATIONAL LAW
    (pp. 34-73)

    The unsettled state of international law was a major problem of the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials. For one thing, there was no precedent for the establishment of an international military tribunal. As Robert H. Jackson wrote, Nuremberg was the “first international criminal assizes in history.”¹ For another, while international law clearly recognized such crimes as piracy and the maltreatment of prisoners of war, the Allies wished to prosecute their German and Japanese enemies not simply for conventional war crimes, but also for “crimes against peace” and for “crimes against humanity.” These two categories of crime were of highly uncertain status...

  7. IV. PROBLEMS OF LEGAL PROCESS
    (pp. 74-124)

    Substantive issues of international law were important to the Tokyo trial. So also were problems of legal process. Procedural matters are always important. As Judge Charles E. Wyzanski, Jr., has written: “If there is one axiom that emerges clearly from the history of constitutionalism and from the study of any bill of rights or any charter of freedom, it is that procedural safeguards are the very substance of the liberties we cherish.”¹ Some procedural issues at Tokyo seem quite obvious to observers not trained in the law, and yet these issues will find lawyers divided: for example, the selection of...

  8. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  9. V. PROBLEMS OF HISTORY
    (pp. 125-159)

    We have discussed the shaky basis of the Tokyo trial in international law. We have examined several fundamental procedural flaws. Invalid law or faulty procedure: either of these alone can provide legal grounds for throwing out a court’s decision. As Justice Bernard wrote in his dissent: “A verdict reached by a tribunal after a defective procedure cannot be a valid one.”¹

    But for non-legal minds—and that includes the author and probably most of his audience—there is a third important approach to the Tokyo trial: the historical approach. For us the validity of the Tokyo trial depends in large...

  10. VI. AFTER THE TRIAL
    (pp. 160-180)

    We have considered the Tokyo trial from the aspects of international law, of procedure, and of history. In each aspect we have found there to be at least serious question about the integrity of the tribunal and at most compelling evidence that the trial was a biased proceeding. But the trial did not end with the judgment.

    The Tokyo Charter contained a provision for review by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers in Japan, General Douglas MacArthur. What did not appear in the charter was a policy decision of the Far Eastern Commission calling for General MacArthur to consult...

  11. 1. PROCLAMATION BY THE SUPREME COMMANDER FOR THE ALLIED POWERS, JANUARY 19, 1946
    (pp. 183-192)
  12. 2. JUDGMENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL MILITARY TRIBUNAL FOR THE FAR EAST: FINDINGS ON COUNTS OF THE INDICTMENT
    (pp. 193-199)
  13. 3. DEFENDANTS, VERDICTS, AND SENTENCES
    (pp. 200-203)
  14. 4. DEFENSE APPEAL TO GENERAL MacARTHUR
    (pp. 204-208)
  15. 5. MISCELLANEOUS ADDITIONAL CRITICISMS
    (pp. 209-212)
  16. BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE
    (pp. 213-216)
  17. INDEX
    (pp. 217-229)