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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: Sudo, Yoshio, 2nd Lieutenant, Japanese Army, Camp Commander at Tokyo Area PW Camp 24-D, Kawasaka, Honshu, Japan

Docket No./ Date: 137/ April 28-30, 1947, Yokohama, Japan

Charge: Violation of the laws and customs of war: 1. Did willfully and unlawfully cause, permit and condone the mistreatment of PWs (spec 1,2) 2. Did unlawfully disregard and fail to discharge his duty as Commander to control and restrain members of his command and persons under his supervision and control, by permitting them to commit the brutal acts, atrocities and other offenses against PWs (spec 3a, b, g)

Specifications: command responsibility

Verdict: 7 years CHL

Reviewing Authority's Recommendations: Accused was present at the beating of POWs and even when prevailed upon to stop it, he did nothing (spec. 1, 2). The acts alleged in spec 3 happened; the accused was the commander of the camp; he did nothing.

Reviewing Authority: Being camp commandant was his first command experience: he had previously had no contacts with Westerners and he had worked only 1 month before entering the army. There was no mention of corporal punishment in the regulations; orders from the main camp stated that violations of rules were to be punished "strictly and in cases of confinement they were to be first tried. He directed the guards that in cases of violations an individual was prohibited from punishing the men personally but a report was to be made to the camp commander for action." During conferences with the prisoner officers, they never complained about beatings or mistreatments. The accused denied observing any instances of beatings.

Prosecution Arguments: The accused is charged with failure to control and restrain his subordinates. He had a duty to protect the prisoners. He failed in this duty. The evidence indicates that he knew of the mistreatment and could have prevented it.

Defense Arguments: Cyril D. Hill, Lt. Col., CAC, Reviewer

Judge Advocate's Recommendations: The reviewer invokes the record of the trial of the main perpetrator of the acts for which the accused was found guilty of command responsibility. It is interesting because it was the defense that called the particular individual. The evidence the his trial records and his testimony provided was used by the reviewer to show that the accused "knew of the mistreatment and could have prevented it."


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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