Tuesday, November 8, 2011

In re Yamashita case brief


In re Yamashita
U.S. Supreme Court
327 U.S. 1, 13-16, 28, 34-35 (1946)

FACTS
After World War II, Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita was tried before a U.S. military tribunal in Manilla for war crimes committed by troops under his command.  
-U.S. claimed that D failed to discharge his duty as a commander to control the operations of the members of his command, allowing them to commit brutal atrocities and other high crimes against the U.S. and allies and was in violation of laws of war.
ISSUE
Does the law of war impose upon an army commander to take appropriate measures to control his troops for prevention of violations of the law of war which are likely to attend occupation of hostile territory, and whether he may be charged with personal responsibility for the failure to take such measures when violations result?
HOLDING
There is an affirmative duty to take such measures as were in his power and appropriate in the circumstances to protect prisoners of war and civilians.
DISCUSSION
Purpose of the law is to protect civilians and prisoners of war from brutality.  
Fourth Hague Convention of 1907:  Armed force must be commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates.

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