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Home arrow Law arrow United States law and policy on transitional justice : principles, politics, and pragmatics

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A. THE PRECEDENT OF ADDRESSING NAZIS

Because negotiations leading to the IMT’s establishment effectively doubled as negotiations for creating the IMTFE, options seriously considered for addressing principal Nazi suspects were also implicitly or explicitly considered for addressing the principal Japanese suspects. However, because the IMT set a precedent for prosecuting atrocity leaders through an ICT established by executive fiat, there is little indication that the use of lethal force through extrajudicial execution, prosecution in an ICT established via treaty, or unilateral or bilateral prosecution by individual Allied Powers were considered as seriously for the principal Japanese as they had been for the principal Nazis. As in the case of dealing with the principal Nazis, the Allied Powers never seriously considered unilateral prosecution for Class A Japanese war criminals by Japan or even a third-party state (e.g., a neutral country during WWII hostilities).

B. PRIMARY JAPANESE WAR CRIMINALS

Part I demonstrated that two transitional justice mechanisms USG officials seriously considered for addressing the principal suspected Japanese atrocity perpetrators— the designated Class A Japanese war criminals—were (1) prosecution in an ICT established through executive agreement and (2) lustration. The Allies implemented both of these mechanisms, along with a third: unconditional amnesty.

 
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