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World War II Pacific Theater Case Synopses from Judge Advocate's Reviews Yokohama Class B and C War Crimes Trials

Defendant: Ogimoto, Yoshio, Civilian Guard, Zentsuji PW Camp, Zentsuji, Shikoku, Japan

Docket No./ Date: 70/ April 3-11, 1947, Yokohama, Japan

Charge: Violation of the laws and customs of war: Spec. 1. Did willfully and unlawfully abuse and mistreat PWS, by beating, kicking and cuffing them. Spec. 2. Did willfully and unlawfully mistreat and abuse numerous PWs by beating and striking them.

Specifications: beating and striking using among others fists, sticks, bayonets, rifle butts and leather wristband; kicking using hobnailed shoes;

Verdict: 5 years CHL

Reviewing Authority's Recommendations: Accused wore a leather wristband due to injury in right arm; this wristband was used to strike PWs across the face without provocation or cause or under apparently minor infractions. PWs were also kicked by accused without provocation or cause or under apparently minor infractions. The beatings would take place on a frequent basis.

Reviewing Authority: Accused was never seen beating, striking or otherwise mistreating PWs; no complaints were received concerning the accused; the accused could not use his right hand at all because of the injury; accused wore a wrist support but wore an olive drab or black glove over the wrist support. He never worked side by side with the civilian guard, Hashimoto. He never beat, struck, or otherwise mistreated any PWs; he did carry a sword but never beat or struck PWs with it. He saw the civilian guard Hashimoto wearing a leather wrist band which had a narrow iron band on the hand portion. (Mistaken identity, as summed up by reviewer.)

Prosecution Arguments: Due to the conflict in affidavits between the two individuals involved in specification 1 as to the identity and the number of perpetrators, the commission resolved the doubt in favor of the accused and acquitted him. With reference to spec 2, the reviewer found that the same doubt did not exist because the affidavits clearly identified the accused and identified, separately, the other civilian guard, Hashimoto. The reviewer discussed the issue of omnibus specifications, the appropriateness of them to the nature of war crimes and whether the wording of the specification apprises the accused of "each offense charged" under the omnibus specification. The reviewer found that the specification did not violate the rights of the accused because the for did "not tend to the prejudice of the defendant." In fact, the reviewer states that another ground for "sustaining the legality of the omnibus specification is that it safeguards the interest of the accused. Where the accused has been tried on the omnibus specification, he is protected from any future trial for similar offenses which he may have committed at the place and during the period alleged in the omnibus specification." The evidence presented was sufficient for the finding of guilt.

Defense Arguments: F. R. Undritz, Lt. Col., Inf., Asst. Staff Judge Advocate

Judge Advocate's Recommendations:

Child Testifying in Court in Manila.
Photo: U.S. Army, courtesy of Bob Harmon

The trial records of Japanese War Criminals Tried at Yokohama, Japan, between 1946 and 1949 is broken into 2 sets:

  1. 59 reels - Records of Trials and Clemency Petitions for Accused Japanese War Criminals Tried at Yokohama, Japan (1946-1948)
  2. 5 reels - Reviews of the Yokohama Class B and C war crimes Trials by the 8th Army judge Advocate (1946-1949)

The following is a summary of the corresponding case found in the latter group (5-reel set of Judge Advocate's Reviews). Analysis Prepared by Stella Lee Researcher, War Crimes Studies Center

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