Finding justice in transitional justice


The war crimes trials of more than 5,600 Japanese soldiers by Western allies, China and The Philippines after the Second World War are Asia’s largest exercise in transitional justice. The trials were a landmark in establishing the notion of war crimes in international law, especially the principle of command responsibility. They aimed to dispense justice precisely and accurately by prosecuting the actual perpetrators of atrocities rather than attributing collective guilt to Japan as a nation. Despite their scale, the trials have been criticised both as unfair ‘victor’s justice’ and failing to encompass all perpetrators.

Robert Cribb

Updated:  24 April, 2017/Responsible Officer:  Dean, ANU College of Asia & the Pacific/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team