This NHK documentary provides the hidden history of the Tokyo Trials. It shows how the principled decision of Justice Radhabinod Pal to judge the vanquished Japanese leaders by the standards of pre-existing International Law—rather than by the standards of ex post facto law made in the aftermath of the War—caused many headaches for the Allied judges involved in the proceedings. palIn particular, the British Government is shown to have been strongly concerned that Pal’s delegitimization of the assumptions of the Tokyo Charter would undermine the verdicts rendered at Nuremberg in 1946.
The prosecution of the German leadership was also based upon the application of retroactive law. In other words, the leadership of the Axis forces were prosecuted for acts which were not crimes in International Law at the time of their commission. Pal was aware of the farcical nature of such juridical proceedings and expressed his legally-sound conclusions in a lengthy dissentient verdict. As the documentary mentions, this dissentient verdict was not read out in court and many judges worked behind the scenes to have Pal dismissed from the bench when it became clear that he was intending to base his verdict upon the established law. Still to this day most people are unaware that a judge found all those on trial in Tokyo in 1948 innocent.
Read The Dissentient Judgement of Justice Pal here
Learn about Joshua Blakeney’s new book Japan Bites Back here