Friday, April 12, 2019

New Online Source on Austrialian Investigations of Japanese War Crimes

The National Archives of Australia has just launched Dr Narrelle Morris’ new archival guide to Australia’s war crimes records: Japanese War Crimes in the Pacific: Australia’s Investigations and Prosecutions (National Archives of Australia, 2019).

The guide of more than 150,000 words covers Commonwealth government records (principally holdings of the National Archives of Australia and the Australian War Memorial) on the World War II war crimes investigations of Sir William Flood Webb (1943-46), the United Nations War Crimes Commission (1943-48), the Australian Army’s Directorate of Prisoners of War & Internees, post-war investigations, the War Crimes Act 1945 (Cth) and preparation for trials, the 300 Australian Military Court war crimes trials (1945-51), the Australian War Criminals Compounds, the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (1946-48), and the repatriation, parole and release of convicted war criminals. Each chapter begins with a substantial, footnoted discussion of the subject matter before listing relevant records in sections. Appendix B contains an alphabetical name index with more than 950 entries of all war criminals tried by Australia with details of their trial(s) and outcome(s). Appendix D contains a basic index to finding key documents within the (now archival files) of the 300 Australian trial proceedings.

The guide can be downloaded as a free e-book (pdf format) here (at the bottom of the page). Or it can be viewed online in HTML format, which links directly to the catalogue (thus straight to the digitised online records in many cases). The guide is under a Creative Commons license, so it can be freely shared and copied.

Narrelle is an editor of and contributor to Australia’s War Crimes Trials, 1945-51 (Brill, 2016) and the law reporter for the forthcoming law reports series on the Australian Military Courts war crimes trials of the Japanese. She can be contacted at