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Mock international tribunal finds Japan guilty of war crimes against women

Mock international tribunal finds Japan guilty of war crimes against women

Posted December. 12, 2000 21:21,   


The women's international war crimes tribunal held in Tokyo on Tuesday found the accused, who include the late Emperor Hirohito, the Japanese government and 23 others, guilty of having forced women to work in military brothels during World War II.

The accused were indicted by a body of over 40 legal experts from 8 Asian countries where women were victims of Japan's wartime sex slavery. The tribunal, held at the Japan Youth Hall, was not a binding legal proceeding but a mock trial by private lawyers. But the symbolic event was historically significant because it convicted the Japanese emperor and the Tokyo government for the first time on charges of recruiting and abusing comfort women.

On the last day of the trial, the four-person judging panel, which included Gabriel K. MacDonald of the United States, who served as the chief of the war crimes court in Yugoslavia, rendered a verdict based on the evidence produced by the prosecution and testimony given by former comfort women.

In its judgment, the panel acknowledged the prosecution indictment as valid and found the accused guilty of crimes against humanity, saying the Japanese government had forcibly mobilized numerous women through abduction and other illicit means and subjected them to rape and other types of sexual abuse. The panel based their verdict on the argument that the then emperor was in a position to know that military brothels had been set up to enable rapes. The judges said Tokyo's rejection of individual claims to reparations was irrelevant and that those victimized have a right to seek individual compensation. The comfort women issue was not taken up at inter-governmental negotiations and humanitarian crimes are not entitled to negative prescription, they said.

Shim Kyu-Sun ksshim@donga.com