Aggression at the Tokyo War Crimes Trial
This paper examines the evolution of the doctrine of conspiracy during the course of the trial at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (hereinafter the Tokyo Trial). The Tokyo Trial is a neglected foundation of international criminal law, long in the shadow of Nuremberg, condemned as victor’s justice because of the prosecution of Japanese war time leaders for crimes against peace. Professor Cherif Bassiouni’s comment is typical: "Tokyo...was a precedent that legal history can only consider with a view not to repeat it". Bassiouni’s comment, however, is an invitation not to ignore the trial but to learn from its mistakes. The trial’s treatment of conspiracy is particularly relevant today because conspiracy was intimately linked to the crime of aggression at Tokyo, and aggression is part of the substantive jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC).