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In the aftermath of the Second World War, the British military held 46 trials in Hong Kong in which 123 defendants, from Japan and Formosa (Taiwan), were tried for war crimes. This book provides the first comprehensive legal analysis of these trials. The subject matter of the trials spanned war crimes committed during the fall of Hong Kong, its occupation, and in the period after the capitulation following the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but before the formal surrender. They included killings of hors de combat, abuses in prisoner-of-war camps, abuse and murder of civilians during the military occupation, forced labor, and offenses on the High Seas. The events adjudicated included those from Hong Kong, China, Japan, the High Seas, and Formosa (Taiwan). Taking place in the same historical period as the more famous Nuremberg and Tokyo trials, the Hong Kong war crimes trials provide key insights into events of the time, and the development of international criminal law and procedure in this period.
A team of experts in international criminal law examine these trials in detail, placing them in their historical context, investigating how the courts conducted their proceedings and adjudicated acts alleged to be war crimes, and evaluating the extent to which the Hong Kong trials contributed to the development of contemporary issues, such as joint criminal enterprise and superior orders. There is also comparative analysis with contemporaneous proceedings, such as the Australian War Crimes trials, trials in China, and those conducted by the British in Singapore and Germany, placing them within the wider history of international justice. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in the development of international criminal law and procedure.
Suzannah Linton is Professor of International Law at Bangor Law School, Bangor University, in the United Kingdom. She is on the IEF Steering Board and coordinates Working Group 5 on Trial Proceedings. Professor Linton was previously at the University of Hong Kong, where she directed the LLM in Human Rights programme from 2005-2009. Professor Linton teaches Public International Law, and specialised options such as International Criminal Law, International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law. Professor Linton has wide practical work experience with international courts and tribunals, and international organisations, including the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. She recently launched a major website providing global access to Hong Kong's War Crimes Trials, as part of the same project that has resulted in this book.
Table of Contents
Foreword, Judge Liu Daqun
Foreword, Kevin Zervos, SC
1. Introduction, Suzannah Linton
2. Trial Procedure at the British Military Courts, Hong Kong, 1946-1948, Alexander Zahar
3. Major Murray Ormsby: Prosecutor and Judge of the Hong Kong Military Courts 1946-1948, Suzannah Linton
4. The Prisoner of War Camp Trials, Yuma Totani
5. War Crimes, Suzannah Linton
6. On Being "Concerned" in a Crime: Embryonic Joint Criminal Enterprise, Nina Jorgensen
7. The Plea of Superior Orders in the Hong Kong Trials, Bing Bing Jia
8. Concluding Analysis, Roger Clark