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war crimes



  • Of Crimes and Pardons

    by Rebecca Gordon

    The United States was not always so reluctant to put national leaders on trial for their war crimes. 

  • James Dawes: Why Do People Commit Atrocities? (INTERVIEW)

    by Robin Lindley

    A Japanese soldier poses with the head of a Chinese prisoner.The human capacity to injure other people is very great precisely because our capacity to imagine other people is very small.--Elizabeth Scarry, For Love of Country?Most Americans know little of Japanese war crimes perpetrated in China during the Second World War. In the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), Japanese troops tortured, raped and murdered Chinese men, women and children, as Japanese scientists conducted horrific medical procedures on living human subjects at facilities such as the notorious Unit 731, a covert research center for biological and chemical experimentation in northeast China.



  • Ex-Korean war criminal seeking compensation, apology from Japanese government

    Once sentenced to death for war crimes against POWs, Lee Hak-lae was later spared the gallows and is now on a mission of passing on the sorrow of his colleagues who died as war criminals after being forced to work for Japan during World War II.Lee recently braved the withering summer heat, despite his advanced age, to continue spreading their message as organizer of a Korean POW guards' group seeking an apology and compensation from the Japanese government."I do not want the money," Lee, 88, said. "When the people of my homeland were celebrating their liberation from Japanese colonial rule, my colleagues died in execution chambers in a foreign land. Why did they have to die? Who did they die for? It is my mission, as someone who just happened to survive, to clear away the chagrin felt by my friends."...



  • Oliver Stone to Japan: Apologize for WWII war crimes

    Film director Oliver Stone, who is no stranger to controversy, turned from his sharp attacks on the U.S. for the atomic bombings of Japan to criticize his hosts over their attitude to China and other Asian neighbors.In a speech to foreign correspondents in Tokyo, Mr. Stone said that Japan needs to more completely apologize for its wartime acts, and said it should also resist a shift to relying on military might to deal with security challenges posed by its neighbors such as China and North Korea.Japan’s leaders have expressed “deep remorse” over the physical damage and psychological pain the country has inflicted on other Asian countries, but repeated visits by cabinet ministers to a controversial war shrine in Tokyo and growing talk of revising the nation’s peace constitution have made other countries skeptical about the intention of these remarks....



  • Amy Kaslow: Will Khmer Rouge Officials Ever Face Justice?

    Amy Kaslow is a longtime journalist covering international economics and postwar reconstruction....Despite years of prodding from Cambodian survivors and international pressure, the tribunal only began hearing testimony in 2007. By that time, Pol Pot—Khmer Rouge architect and lead executioner—had been dead for nearly a decade. A royal pardon allowed his brother-in-law, Ieng Sary—co-founder of the Khmer Rouge and mastermind of torture and mass murder—to travel on a diplomatic passport and enjoy both a homestead in Pailin, the former bastion of Khmer Rouge leaders, and his lavish villa in Phnom Penh. Sary, the man Pol Pot called Brother No. 3, was apprehended in 2007 and died this past March while standing trial in Case 002 for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide.



  • James Dawes: Understanding Why People Commit War Crimes

    James Dawes is a professor of English at Macalester College and director of its Program in Human Rights and Humanitarianism. He is the author, most recently, of Evil Men, just published by Harvard University Press.The man sitting in front of me is a mass murderer. He is a serial rapist and a torturer. We are chatting about the weather, his family, his childhood. We are sharing drinks and exchanging gifts. The man is in his 80s now, frail and harmless, even charming. Instinctively I like him. It is hard for me to connect him to the monster he was so many decades ago. I think it must be hard for him, too.I am visiting with him now because I have spent too many years interviewing survivors of war crimes and human-rights workers and wondering: What kind of person could have committed those heinous acts? I want to know. So I am internally preparing myself, during the smiling pleasantries of our introduction, to ask.When we start talking about his war crimes, we might as well be talking about a figure from a history textbook, for all the emotion we show. If we were on a television program and you were watching us with the mute button pressed, you would imagine I was asking about his grandchildren. Instead I am asking about how he murdered other people's grandchildren.



  • Richard Rashke: Karkoc Among Many Nazis Who Slipped Through U.S. Net

    Richard Rashke is the author of "Useful Enemies: John Demjanjuk and America's Open-Door Policy for Nazi War Criminals."This month, the Associated Press exposed yet another alleged Nazi collaborator, Michael Karkoc, a carpenter who had been living quietly in Minnesota for decades. During World War II, the news service reported, he was "the top commander of a Nazi SS-led unit accused of burning villages filled with women and children."Karkoc's son has vehemently denied his father had such Nazi connections, but even if it turns out Karkoc, now 94, was a collaborator, it would not be all that surprising that he managed to immigrate to the United States. Despite stated policies aimed at keeping Nazis and those who worked with them out of the country in the years after World War II, many slipped through.Estimates of the number of former Nazi war criminals and their collaborators who entered the U.S. during the hectic postwar years range widely from 1,000 to 10,000. Based on my own research, I would put the number at somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000....



  • Hungarian indicted for Nazi-era war crimes

    BUDAPEST, Hungary — Hungarian prosecutors indicted a 98-year-old former police officer Tuesday for abusing Jews and assisting in their deportation to Nazi death camps during World War II.They said Laszlo Csatary was the chief of an internment camp for 12,000 Jews at a brick factory in Kosice – a Slovak city then part of Hungary – in May 1944, and that he beat them with his bare hands and a dog whip.He also allegedly refused to allow ventilation holes to be cut into the walls of a railcar crammed with 80 Jews being deported.With his actions, Csatary "willfully assisted in the unlawful execution and torture of the Jews deported from (Kosice) to concentration camps in territories occupied by the Germans," the prosecution said in a statement....



  • Britain "sincerely regrets" Mau Mau-era abuses

    Britain announced compensation for thousands of Mau Mau veterans, saying that it “sincerely regretted” years of “suffering and injustice” carried out under its imperial rule of Kenya, but stopped short of a full apology.The brutal suppression of an independence rebellion led to torture, internment without trial and excessive numbers of executions, William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, said in a statement to Parliament.He confirmed that more than 5,200 claimants would share compensation from the Government of £13.9 million, but said that the out-of-court settlement did not mean Britain was legally liable for the abuses, although he said the settlement was about a “process of reconciliation.”“I would like to make clear now and for the first time … that we understand the pain and grievance felt by those who were involved,” Mr Hague said....



  • Mary Louise Roberts documents GI conduct in WWII France

    On June 6, 1944, a massive military force arrived on the beaches of Normandy in a surprise invasion intended to overthrow Nazi Germany. The story of brave Allied forces splashing ashore under heavy fire has been immortalized in novels, memoirs, documentary films, and blockbuster movies — with American GIs cast as the unequivocal heroes of the day.A famous photo circulating the globe at the time summed things up: a happy GI embraced by ecstatic French girls.But that photo also illuminates a darker side of the story, according to University of Wisconsin-Madison History Professor Mary Louise Roberts. In her new book, "What Soldiers Do: Sex and the American GI in World War II France," Roberts writes that while heroism abounded during liberation, for some Allied troops, command of geographical territory meant command of sexual territory, as well. As they entered and occupied the port towns of Le Havre, Reims, Cherbourg and Marseilles, many soldiers took what they wanted — when and where they wanted — from the French female population....



  • Washington Times slams Mary Louise Roberts for book on WWII GI rape

    A controversial new book about American soldiers fighting in France in WWII charges that many civilians viewed them as rapists and thieves, rather than liberators, The Daily Mail reports.History professor Mary Louise Roberts claims in her book, titled “What Soldiers Do: Sex and the American GI in World War II France,” that when the first soldiers swarmed ashore in Normandy, it was “a veritable tsunami of male lust” that French civilians came to fear as much as the Nazis, The Mail reports.The book is set to release next month and is likely to stir significant outrage in the United States, where veterans are highly revered as heroes....



  • Japan’s sex slave legacy remains

    OSAKA, Japan — More than 70 years ago, at age 14, Kim Bok-dong was ordered to work by Korea’s Japanese occupiers. She was told she was going to a military uniform factory, but ended up at a Japanese military-run brothel in southern China.She had to take an average of 15 soldiers per day during the week, and dozens over the weekend. At the end of the day she would be bleeding and could not even stand because of the pain. She and other girls were closely watched by guards and could not escape. It was a secret she carried for decades; the man she later married died without ever knowing.Tens of thousands of women had similar stories to tell, or to hide, from Japan’s occupation of much of Asia before and during World War II. Many are no longer living, and those who remain are still waiting for Japan to offer reparations and a more complete apology than it has so far delivered....



  • J. Berkshire Miller: Abe's Unhelpful Historical Interventions

    J. Berkshire Miller is a fellow on Japan at the Center for Strategic and International Studies Pacific Forum. The views expressed are his own.“Japan is back,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced to a packed room at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington back in February. The remarks came during his first visit to the United States since he returned to power in a landslide election in December. But while Abe’s aggressive stimulus policies have sent his approval ratings soaring at home, Japan’s neighbors have been watching much more warily....