RE: Judgment of the Women's International War Crimes Tribunal 2000
for the Trial of Japanese Military Sexual Slavery
in the matter of the Prosecutors and the Peoples of the Asia-Pacific Region vs. Emperor Hirohito et al. and the Government of Japan
September 2001 - It is now over nine months since the groundbreaking Women's International War Crimes Tribunal on Japan's Military Sexual Slavery, known as the Tokyo Tribunal, was called to order in Japan last December 8 - 12, 2000. The victimized countries namely North and South of Korea, the Philippines, China, Taiwan, Indonesia, East Timor, Malaysia, including Japan presented indictments prepared by the country prosecutors, testimonies of former 'comfort women', evidences, expert opinions by eminent lawyers, scholars and historians.
We are pleased to invite you to the rendering of the Tokyo Tribunal Judgment that will take place December 3 & 4,2001 in The Hague, Netherlands. This historic Judgment will finally signal the end of more than 55 years of silence about the systematic and widespread rape, sexual slavery, forced abortion, sexual violence, enforced sterilization and child rape, committed by the Japanese Imperial soldiers against the former 'comfort women' during the Second World War.
The Women's International War Crimes Tribunal was established as a result of the historical failure of states to discharge their responsibility to ensure justice for such crimes. It is an addendum to the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, April 1946 - November 1948 (IMTFE), established by the Allied powers at the end of WWII. Despite overwhelming evidence of the 'comfort women' system, the Allies failed to prosecute Japanese officials for these crimes. That a court (IMTFE), especially an internationally constituted court, could ignore a systematic atrocity of this dimension is unacceptable. But the primary responsibility lies with the state of Japan for its actions and subsequent failure to prosecute, apologize and provide reparations and other meaningful remedies to the former 'comfort women' for over half a century.
The preliminary Summary of Findings handed down by the judges last December 12, 2000 concluded that a state commits an internationally wrongful act when it acts in violation of applicable international law. The Court found that the state of Japan has acted in violation of both its treaty obligations and obligations under customary international law. In its findings the Court observed:
" Japan has violated treaty obligations including the 1907 Hague Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of Law on Land, the 1921 International Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Women and Children, and the 1930 ILO Convention Concerning Forced Labour. It also violated norms of customary international law, including those prescribed in the 1907 Hague Convention and 1926 Slavery Convention. Further, in the 1951 San Francisco Treaty, Japan accepted the Judgment of the IMTFE."
On the individual responsibility of Emperor Hirohito, the judges concluded:
"The Tribunal finds, based on the evidence before it, that the Prosecution has proved its case against the accused Emperor Hirohito, and finds him guilty of responsibility for rape and sexual slavery as a crime against humanity, under Counts1-2 of the Common Indictment, and guilty of rape as a crime against humanity under Count 3 of the Common Indictment. Additionally, the Judges determine that the government of Japan has incurred state responsibility, as recognized under Article 4 of the Charter, for its establishment and maintenance of the comfort system."
The Court comprised of the distinguished judges, Carmen Argibay (Argentina), Christine Chinkin (United Kingdom), Willy Mutunga (Kenya) and presided by the Honorable Judge Gabrielle Kirk McDonald (USA) (former President of the ICTY) who will deliver the highly anticipated judgment.