Rendering Justice

Document Type

Book Chapter


Nazi crimes; justice; Nuremburg; genocide; crimes against humanity; international military tribunal Tokyo; international military tribunal for the Far East; Tokyo tribunal; war crimes trial - Japan

Identifier Data


Oxford University Press

Rights Management

© Oxford University Press 2023


German and Japanese crimes committed during World War II became objects of criminal prosecution by Allied courts after the war. The best known of these trials was an international tribunal held at Nuremberg in 1945–1946. By the late spring 1945, Anglo–American predilection for summary execution of the “major” war criminals had yielded to a commitment to prosecute them. The trial at Nuremberg was among the first of numerous proceedings against Nazi war criminals throughout Europe. The Allied powers responded to atrocities in the war’s Asian-Pacific sphere with an array of post-conflict prosecutions. The long shadow of European courts obscures their Asian counterparts. Yet, Australia, Britain, Canada, Communist and Nationalist China, France, India, The Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, the Soviet Union, and the United States convened or contributed to hundreds of courts and brought thousands of war criminals to justice between 1945 and 1951. This enormous legal endeavor navigated complex logistical, geopolitical, and cultural obstacles. Despite allegations against both European and Pacific trials of victors’ justice and ex post facto prosecution, the Allies created new bodies of international law that live on today in ad hoc tribunals and the International Criminal Court.