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United States of America vs. Tomoyuki Yamashita.
Record of Trial

Manila, Philippines

8 October - 7 December 1945

On October 8, 1945, a military commission—acting under authority from Gen. Douglas MacArthur—began the trial of Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita on the charge that between October 9, 1944 and September 2, 1945,

at Manila and at other places in the Philippine Islands, while a commander of [the] armed forces of Japan at war with the United States of America and its allies, [he] unlawfully disregarded and failed to discharge his duty as commander to control the operations of the members of his command, permitting them to commit brutal atrocities and other high crimes against people of the United States and of its allies and dependencies, particularly the Philippines; and he, General Tomoyuki Yamashita, thereby violated the laws of war.

Two bills of particulars, consisting of 123 distinct paragraphs alleging Yamashita’s violations of the laws of war, were introduced into evidence by the prosecution. The commission heard from 286 persons and received a total of 423 exhibits. The record of trial totaled 4,055 pages.

On December 7, 1945, the fourth anniversary of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the military commission found Gen. Yamashita guilty as charged and sentenced him to death by hanging. Yamashita petitioned the Supreme Court of the United States for writs of habeas corpus and prohibition. The opinion of the court, which rejected Yamashita’s petition, was delivered by Chief Justice Harlan Fiske Stone on February 4, 1946 (327 U.S. 1). President Harry S. Truman likewise rejected Yamashita’s plea for clemency. Gen. MacArthur reviewed the record of trial and affirmed the death sentence recommended by the commission. Yamashita was executed by hanging on February 23, 1946.

For additional information, see “Trial of General Tomoyuki Yamashita” in volume 4 of the United Nations War Crimes Commission’s Law Reports of Trials of War Criminals (1948) and The Case of General Yamashita: A Memorandum by Brig. Gen. Courtney Whitney (1949).
(Library of Congress Call Number Microfilm LL-030; OCLC Number 6665151)

General Tomoyuki Yamashita
Tomoyuki Yamashita

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  February 24, 2020
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