Defendant: Ikegami, Uichi, 1st Lieutenant, Camp Commander, POW Camp #133,
Docket No./ Date: 23/ May 2-4, 1946, Yokohama, Japan
Charge: 1. Did unlawfully mistreat, torture and kill a PW (spec 1) 2.
Did willfully and unlawfully mistreat and torture PW (spec 2, 3) 3. Did
willfully and unlawfully disregard and fail to discharge his duty as commanding
officer to restrain and control members of his command by ordering or
permitting commission of cruel and brutal atrocities and other offense
Specifications: beating using among others club, stick, pick handle,
baseball bat; causing PW to be beaten; confining PW in the guardhouse
wihtout sufficient food, water or clothing for an unreasonable period
Verdict: Death by hanging/Reviewer recommended commutation of sentence
to 25 years at hard labor/ Sentence upheld by the Commanding Officer of
Reviewing Authority's Recommendations: 1. Overlapping of specifications
- there was error in proceeding with a trial on both specifications, but
it is "not necessarily fatal." But, this is obviated by the
disapproval of the guilty finding by the reviewing authority. 2. Accused's
action in the case of the POW who died in solitary confinement was unlawful
but not sufficient to prove the charge. Confining a prisoner in the condition
that the deceased was in is "indefensible." There is evidence
that the accused administered and ordered corporal punishment. But, this
was "one of many contributing factors which occurred prior to the
death. The finding of guilty of Specification 1 as charged is too broad
to be considered as adequately supported by the evidence" because
the charge is tantamount to "murder or manslaughter." The accused
is relieved of responsibility because of his prolonged absence from the
camp when the prisoner actually died.
Reviewing Authority: Edward A. Doering, Reviewer, Judge Advocate Section/
Allan R. Browne, Lt. Colonel, Army Judge Advocate/ R. L. Eichelberger,
Lt. General, U.S. Army, Commanding
Prosecution Arguments: Accused ordered mass punishments for offenses(getting
in fights, possession of cigarette lighter, cutting an issued blanket
to make socks) committed by identified individual PWs; accused took an
active part in these mass punishments as well.
Defense Arguments: 1. Explained circumstances of one POWs death - an
investigation, trial and judgement was made. The POW was ordered to solitary
confinement, where he died 3 days later. He did not order the beating
of the prisoner nor was the prisoner beaten to his knowledge. 2. Under
the navy, the conditions in the camp were bad and mistreatment was common.
So, one mass beating was agreed upon because of the pressure from the
navy for more discipline of the POWs. Otherwise, the navy threatened to
"take matters into their own hands." No other mass beating took
place. 3. No time did he ever order the beating of prisoners by guards
or beat them individually himself.
Judge Advocate's Recommendations: That the Reviewing authority mitigating
the finding of guilt in the case of the prisoner, Knox, who died in solitary
confinement on the defendant's orders is astonishing. His reasoning is
astonishing because it is so against the whole idea of "victor's
justice." Furthermore, the standard of responsibility seems to be
getting redefined here. This case should be reviewed.