International War Tribunal

International War Tribunal

 

an international judicial body for the prosecution and punishment of the major war criminals of World War II.

(1) The International War Tribunal for the punishment of the major war criminals of the European Axis countries was formed on the basis of the London Agreement between the governments of the USSR, the USA, Great Britain, and France on Aug. 8, 1945, in conjunction with the Declaration of 1943 on the responsibility of the Hitlerites for the atrocities they committed. The organization and jurisdiction of the tribunal were defined by the charter, which formed an integral part of the agreement of Aug. 8, 1945. The tribunal had the right to try and punish persons who individually or as members of an organization had committed crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Each of the four governments that participated in the formation of the tribunal appointed one full member, one deputy member, and one chief prosecutor. Decisions of the tribunal were made by majority vote. The proceedings were structured on a combination of procedural rules of all the states represented. Investigation of the cases and indictment of major criminals were the responsibility of a committee of prosecutors.

The first organizational session of the International War Tribunal took place in Berlin on Oct. 9, 1945. The city of Nuremberg (Germany) was chosen as the location for proceedings against the major Nazi war criminals.

(2) The International War Tribunal for the Far East was formed on Jan. 19, 1946, in Tokyo (Japan) as a result of negotiations between the Allied governments. There were 11 states represented on the tribunal—the USSR, the USA, China, Great Britain, Australia, Canada, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, India, and the Philippines. The tribunal conducted trial proceedings against the major Japanese war criminals. The chief prosecutor was appointed by the commander in chief of occupation forces in Japan. All the Allied states that were in a state of war with Japan were given the right to designate their own representative as an additional prosecutor. (This right was actually used only by the 11 states enumerated above.) The International War Tribunal in Tokyo was in session from May 3, 1946, through Nov. 12, 1948.

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