Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A Criminal Justice or Victor's Justice?

Joseph Berry Keenan, Chief of Counsel for the United States at the Tokyo War Crimes Trial after World War II, commented some years after II world war:

World society acting through the Allied Powers, clearly had the right to try persons for war crimes and punish tem if they were guilty. This right of world society is innate and inalienable. General MacArthur, the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers in the Pacific, acted on behalf of world society in accepting the delegation of authority to implement the Instrument of Japanese Surrender, and in exercising the power he received. Tokyo trials were founded on the basis of Christian-Judaic absolutes of good of evil. Principles upon which this trial rests may never be available as precedent for any nation which has espoused antithetic standards and norms.”

The International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMFTE) also known as the the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, was convened to try the leaders of the Empire of Japan for three types of crimes: war crimes, crimes against peace, and crimes against humanity, committed during World War II, including some incidents such as the Rape at Nanjing.

Radhabinod Pal, the Indian justice at the IMTFE, argued in his dissenting opinion that Japan was innocent. He wrote, "If Japan is judged, the Allies should also be judged equally." However, his opinion was not shared by the majority of the justices at Tokyo. The restriction of trial and punishment by the IMTFE to personnel of Japan has led to accusations of victor’s justice and that Allied war crimes could not be tried for henious crimes such bombardment of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


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