War Crimes Trials


      Does any one know anything about this?

      As I have heard after a certain date in 1948 that all charges were droped.

      I would like any imformation regarding Japanese War Crimes not going
      before the Courts.

      Arthur - >Cynthia, I would suggest you obtain a copy of Betrayal In High Places, If you have a UK address I can send you a copy'

      Peggy - >Cynthia, There is a lot of material about the dropping of the prosecutions/investigations of war crimes. In November 1946, Hirohito issued a blanket amnesty to all members of the Japanese armed forces -- this meant that the Japanese never had the chance themselves to try their fellow citizens. This was not the case in Europe -- where trials were held in Germany and France (as recently as two/three years ago) for former war-criminals.

      Amnesty International has dealt with this issue briefly in an online that I've copied below.

      Amnesty International -index: IOR 53/004/2001 01/09/2001


      The duty to enact and enforce legislation - Chapter Two


      III. Prosecutions for crimes committed during the Second World War ''A war crime . . . is not a crime against the law or criminal code of any individual nation, but a crime against the ius gentium [international law]. The laws and usages of war are of universal application, and do not depend for their existence upon national laws and frontiers. ''(96)

      B. The political decisions to prevent further prosecutions

      Surprisingly, the United States General, Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers in the Far East, as a result of popular opposition in Japan to war crimes trials of Japanese, took the initiative in mid-1947 to urge Allied governments not to hold further war crimes trials.(104) In response to MacArthur's request, the United Kingdom took the lead to stop further trials. On 12 April 1948, the Overseas Reconstruction Committee of the British Cabinet decided that ''no further trials of war criminals should be started after 31 August, 1948''.(105).

      Three months later, the British Commonwealth Relations Office sent a secret telegram to Australia, Canada, Ceylon, India, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa suggesting that no new trials should be started after 31 August 1948, partly on political grounds:
      ''In our view, punishment of war criminals is more a matter of discouraging future generations than of meting out retribution to every guilty individual. Moreover, in view of future political developments in Germany envisaged by recent tripartite talks, we are convinced that it is now necessary to dispose of the past as soon as possible.(106)

      Canada sent a secret cable in response on 22 July 1948 saying that it had no comment to make and the British government sent a subsequent note on 13 August 1948 warning that ''no public announcement is likely to be made about this''.(107)

      A series of similar political decisions were taken by Japanese and American officials to bring to an end trials of Japanese accused of war crimes and to release those convicted, commute their sentences or pardon them. At the same time that the trial of senior Japanese civilian and military was taking place before the Tokyo Tribunal, Japanese Emperor Hirohito promulgated a secret imperial rescript pardoning under Japanese law all members of the Japanese armed forces who might have committed crimes during the war, which was later tacitly approved by United States General MacArthur, as Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers.(108) As a result, there never were any prosecutions in Japanese courts of Japanese for war crimes.(109) The Far Eastern Commission (FEC) issued a formal advisory in 1949 to the 19 Allies in the Far East that trials of Japanese for war crimes should take place no later than 30 September 1949.(110) Two years later, the Treaty of Peace with Japan provided in Article II that all Japanese who had been convicted of war crimes would be returned to Japan to serve the rest of their sentences under the authority of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, with the aim, as it later became known, to ensure early release on parole or commutation of sentences.(111)


      Beyond Hirohito's blanket amnesty, granted of course while the country was under Occupation, as early as 1946 there was strong rumblings in Washington, London, Ottawa to stop prosecutions. The history of the aborted investigations, for instance, of Unit 731 is related in Sheldon Harris's book FACTORIES OF DEATH. Other war criminals were protected by SCAP -- including Tsuji Masanobu, famous for his Sook Ching ethnic cleansings in Singapore --
      for more on this see James Mackay BETRAYAL IN HIGH PLACES. In this instance, evidence points to the fact that SCAP forces did not stop short of eliminating war-crimes investigators who they found inconvenient -- Colonel Wild was the victim. I am collecting many, many details about the about-face in SCAP regarding the prosecutions and investigations. Of course, the debate about Hirohito's criminality has been covered in many, many books. What I'm looking at now is the next level on down.

      Peggy - >Arthur -- Did you ever here of this officier and his experience as a result of his involvement in war-crimes tribunals?

      Colonel H.E.R. Smith was in charge of war crimes trials in Singapore from 1946-1948. He was to have presided over all the trials held in Singpoare but he was advised by the Provost Marshal of a Japanese plot to kill him and the orders were rescinded. He was also told that he should change his name. He became Colonel Richard Craig-Hallam and continued to service in the British army in Germany. He died peacefully in January 2000.

      The information about Col. Smith came from an article published by the Copenhagen Peace Research Institute. I've asked them to supply me with a copy that gives the sources to their assertions about Smith. I think Smith was involved in German war crimes trials, too at some point.

      Arthur - >Peggy, Sorry, but I only have a limited amount of material regarding the war crimes mainly to do with colonel Wild and captain Goodwin
      I have no mention in my records of either Smith or Craig Hallam However I understand that all investigaters were on a hit list, especially the persistant ones.

      Peggy - >Arthur -- Thanks. Interesting that there is a pattern. I hope if anyone out there has any information of Colonel Smith they'll pass it along.
      Since he died in 2000, there's probably something in the way of obituaries in the British Press, which I'm going to look for. Though I don't know whether it would be under the name of Smith, or his new identity as Colonel Richard Craig-Hallam.

      Now, here's a good case in point. Can I, as a non-relative, access colonel Smith's/Craig-Hallam's service records? From what Maurice said in an earlier letter, I don't think it is possible.

      Peggy - >Arthur -- It appears that Smith was in charge when the following men were convicted and sentenced. I also believe he would have been deeply involved in the investigations concerning the infamous Col. Tsuji -- the guy Wild was investigating when his plane exploded. If I have it right, the British government get special permission to continue to pursue the Tsuji investigation, but this all terminated in 1948.

      Admiral Teczo HARA -- Andaman Island massacres

      General Harada -- ex-commander in Java

      Major-General Hidaka

      Lt. General Kawamuri

      Major-General Otsuka

      Lt. General Fufuye Shimpei

      Major-General Sato Tamenori

      Major-General Toshio

      Arthur - >Peggy, I would suggest that you give it a try via the public records office. Tall a little white lie and say that you are involved in a documentary. Arthur

      Re Col Tsujii read a book "The Killer They Called God" by Ian Ward published by Media Masters Singapore ISN 98-00-3921-2also gives some info on O S E Singapore. something I didn't know about

      Denis - FYI, you probably got it but for confirmation.


      An alphabetical list of historical record groups related to Japanese Imperial Army war crimes from World War II compiled for the Interagency Working Group on Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records and transferred to the National Archives may be found here (thanks to MJR):




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