Thursday, September 6, 2012

Linton on Hong Kong War Crimes Trials

Suzannah Linton, Bangor Law School, has posted Rediscovering the War Crimes Trials in Hong Kong, 1946–48, which is forthcoming in the Melbourne Journal of International Law 13 (2012): 284.
In Hong Kong, from 28 March 1946 to 20 December 1948, four British military tribunals tried war crimes cases from across the British colonial territories of Hong Kong, Kowloon and the New Territories, and also from Formosa (Taiwan), China (Waichow and Shanghai), Japan and from the high seas. The author has made the process and the cases publicly accessible online through the Hong Kong’s War Crimes Trials Collection website [here]. This paper is a window into the rediscovered Hong Kong war crimes trials and the key issues in international law that they raised. Further advanced research by international experts is currently underway for a book commissioned by Oxford University Press, due for publication in 2013. As such, this article will provide a ‘taster’ of what is emerging from the research that is currently in progress. The author’s intention is to present the Hong Kong war crimes cases on their own merits, to allow them to be understood in their own right. The author does not engage in a comparative study of what was done elsewhere then or in recent years; that would be a major project for another occasion. The author instead seeks to draw out some of the richness and diversity of these cases as they are, and to enlighten our contemporary understanding through a look back at a process that was part of the making of modern international criminal law.