The International Military Tribunal for the Far East
"Before assembling here today the Members of the Tribunal signed a joint affirmation to administer justice according to law, without fear, favor or affection.
We fully appreciate the great responsibility resting upon us. There has been no more important criminal trial in all history. Certainly we are not a Senate or a House of Peers met for the impeachment of a Verrus or a Hastings, but a court of our respective countries. On the other hand the accused before us were no mere provincial governors, but for more than a decade were the leaders of Japan at the height of her power and prosperity. They include former prime ministers, foreign ministers, finance ministers, chiefs of staff, and others who have filled the highest places in the government of Japan.
The crimes alleged are crimes against the peace of the world, against the laws of war. And against humanity, and conspiracy to commit these crimes. They are so many and so great that is was decided the appropriate forum would be a military tribunal of an international character, namely a tribunal comprised of the representatives of the Allied powers that defeated Japan. While the former high rank of the accused of itself entitles them to no greater consideration than would be extended to the humblest Japanese private or Korean guard, the number and quality of the crimes charged ensure for them the most anxious consideration by the Tribunal of the evidence that will be adduced, and also the most careful ascertainment by the Tribunal of the law applicable. To our great task we bring open minds both on the facts and on the law.
The onus will be on the prosecution to establish guilt beyond reasonable doubt."
All Japanese ‘Class A’ war criminals were tried by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) in Tokyo. The prosecution team was made up of justices from eleven Allied nations: Australia, Canada, China, France, Great Britain, India, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, the Soviet Union and the United States of America.(See Affirmation). The Tokyo trials lasted two and a half years, from May 1946 to November 1948. Other war criminals were tried in the respective victim countries. Lastly, the war crime trials were held at ten different locations in China.
The International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) consisted of a large variety of different persons representing different countries. The Tribunal's sheer size and complexity is an example of an un-needed redundancy that among today’s standards is unfathomable. When compared to its counterpart at Nuremberg, one can determine the seemingly comprehensive and complete proceedings as oddly overbearing. The Tokyo Trials "lasted three times longer than the Trial of the Major German War Criminals. It involved at least 230 translators and 237 Prosecution and Defense lawyers." The hypocritical aspects involve the methods and procedures in which...