Established in 2000 at UC Berkeley, the War Crimes Studies Center (WCSC) is a university based research organization dedicated to promoting the rule of law, accountability, and human rights around the world, particularly in post-conflict societies.
Relying on a small core staff of lawyers, scholars, student interns, and volunteers, the Center concentrates its resources where it can make a real difference in post-conflict societies seeking to come to terms with their violent past and provide their citizens with justice and accountability.
Research focus of this project is to analyse the interaction of concepts of legality and justice between Asia and Europe during the War Crimes Trials program in various countries in East Asia between 1945 and 1954, taking into account the legal proceedings, the role of the United Nations War Crimes Commission, as well as the political implications emanating from Decolonization and Cold War considerations. By focusing on the assignments of staff and judges first during the trials and secondly after the War Crimes Trials in various UN commissions and at academic positions at European universities, one hypothesis of this research group’s project is to detect the interaction and possible “flow-back” of this Asian experience to the West. The central hypothesis is that Western debates on the rule of law cannot be seen in geographic isolation, but emerged within a broader transcultural space of discourse and related movement of people and ideas between Asia and Europe.
The project is part of the broader work on UN History for the Future being conducted in conjunction with the Ralph Bunche Centre for International Studies at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. The War Crimes and Human Rights project is in partnership with the Wiener Library for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies at London University. The project we will be releasing selected documents from the UN archives and other material related to the work of the UNWCC.
The research will reinforce efforts to strengthen the effectiveness of the ICC. The objective is to examine the international response to Axis crimes and apply lessons from this period to 21st century international responses to war crimes and crimes against humanity. The twin focuses of the work are reassessing international public statements condemning atrocities, particularly the extermination of the Jews and examining the work of the UN War Crimes Commission of 1943 1948.
This programme aims to create a permanent educational structure to train specially prepared, internationally applicable "monitors" of war crimes trials. While monitoring has been common in international and mixed national-international courts for many years, such observation of criminal trials is up to now widely unknown in Germany.
Such monitoring is open to any result, observing objective and transparent academic standards and pursuing different purposes. Above all, there may be considered protecting legality of the trial and in particular the rights of the defendant, the rights of witnesses or victims and the position and effect of a co-plaintiff in the trial. Monitoring itself can already serve the observance of Fair Trial Standards or promote legitimacy of the trial by documentation. These primary purposes can be complemented by other aspects, such as answering questions related to the specific case with regard to applying adjective law or introducing students of jurisprudence to judicial practise.
This project examines the repatriation and release of Japanese war criminals convicted in Allied courts in Asia and the Pacific in the aftermath of the Second World War. At the end of the military conflict, there was a strong determination on the part of the Allies to place on trial those accused of responsibility for mistreatment and neglect of Allied prisoners-of-war and civilian internees, as well as indigenous inhabitants of occupied regions. As a result, some fifty courtrooms were set up in Asia and the Pacific to try Japanese military personnel suspected of what were called ‘Class B and C’ war crimes. (Class A crimes, notably the waging of aggressive war, were tried in the separate International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) in Tokyo.) Class B and C trials were undertaken by Australia, Britain, the Republic of China, France, the Netherlands, the Philippines and the United States.
The project examines the tangled process by which all the surviving convicted war criminals were repatriated to Japan and finally released by the end of 1958.
This new center will be producing Chinese scholarship on the Tokyo Trial and assisting in the further pursuit of Chinese oriented publications focused on the legal and historical significance of the Class A war crimes trial.