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Rethinking Justice? Decolonization, Cold War, and Asian War Crimes Trials after 1945

Conference | Programme | Abstracts


Organiser: Dr Kerstin von Lingen, JRG “Transcultural Justice”

Venue: Internationales Wissenschaftsforum (IWH)
Hauptsr. 242, 69117 Heidelberg

October 26-29, 2014


Sunday, 26 Oct 2014

Opening of the conference: Decolonization, Anti-Imperialism and the Pursuit of Justice. Some Observations

18.00 - 18.20
Kerstin von LINGEN (Heidelberg): Coming to Terms with War Crimes in Asia in the Wake of Decolonization and Cold War Politics - Introduction

18.20 - 18.40
Fabian KLOSE (Mainz): End of Empire and International Humanitarian Law


19.00 Dinner


Monday, 27 Oct 2014

9.00 Welcome from the InternationalesWissenschaftsforum Heidelberg IWH (Prof. Peter COMBA)

Session 2: Tokyo and its Legacies on Decolonization (chair: Annette WEINKE, Jena)

9.15 - 9.35
Barak KUSHNER (Cambridge): Decolonization and the Search for Justice in the Imperial Aftermath: Japanese Discussions About the Actual Pursuit of Justice

9.35 - 9.55
Neil BOISTER (Waikato University, New Zealand): Colonialism, Anti-Colonialism and Neo-Colonialism in China: The Opium Question at the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal


10.15 - 10.45 Morning Coffee

10.45 – 11.05
Beatrice TREFALT (Monash University, Melbourne): The French Prosecution of Japanese War Crimes at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East: Reframing the History of the Japanese Occupation of Indochina

11.05 – 11.25
Milinda BANERJEE (Presidency University, Kolkata): Can Sovereignty be Decolonized? Judge Radhabinod Pal’s Dissenting Judgment at Tokyo from a Perspective of Global Intellectual History



12.15 - 14.15 Lunch Break

Session 3: Case studies from East Asia: Korea (chair: Franziska SERAPHIM, Boston College)

14.15 - 14.35
Deokhyo CHOI (Cambridge): Defining Colonial “War Crimes”: Korean Debates on Collaboration, War Reparations, and the International Military Tribunal for the Far East

14.35 – 14.55
Sandra WILSON (Perth/ Murdoch University): Korea and Koreans in the Asian War Crimes Trials

14.55 - 15.15
Dean ASZKIELOWICZ (Perth/ Murdoch University): The Australian Government’s Pursuit of Korean and Formosan ‘Japanese’ War Criminals


15.30 - 16.00 Afternoon Coffee

17.30 Touristic Programme: Heidelberg Castle & Old Town, guided tour


Tuesday, 28 Oct 2014

Session 4: Case studies from South and South-East Asia: Singapore, Burma and French Indochina (chair: Wolfgang FORM, Marburg)

9.00 - 9.20
Wui Ling CHEAH (National University Singapore): The British Military’s Prosecution of Japanese War Crimes in Colonial Singapore: A Historical and Socio-Legal Study

9.20 - 9.40
Kirsten SELLARS (Chinese University of Hong Kong): Another Meaning of Treason: The Red Fort Trials and Their Legal Legacy


10.00-10.30 Morning Coffee

10.30 - 10.50
Yuma TOTANI (Hawaii): The Japanese Crimes against Civilians in the China-Burma-India Theatre: Case Studies from the UK War Crimes Proceedings

10.50 – 11.10
Robert CRIBB (Australian National University, Canberra): Forgotten Prisoners: Japanese War Criminals in Rangoon Jail, 1946-1951


12.00 - 14.00 Lunch Break

Session 5: Case studies: Anti-Imperial Justice? The Cold War Context and the Sino-Soviet war Crimes trials policy (chair: Tanja PENTER (Heidelberg, Institute for Eastern European History)

14.00 - 14.20
Konrad LAWSON (Edinburgh): Retribution and Civil War: Communist and Nationalist Traitor Elimination Work 1945-1948

14.20 - 14.40
Anja BIHLER (Heidelberg): The Question of Legitimacy - Chinese War Crimes Trials on Taiwan


15.00 – 15.30 Afternoon Coffee

15.30 – 15.50
Valentyna POLUNINA (Heidelberg): Belated Justice: Soviet War Crimes Trials Policy on Bacteriological Warfare – the Case of Khabarovsk Trial (1949)

Adam CATHCART (Leeds): The Shenyang Trials of 1956: The Resurrection of Defeat


17.30 Touristic Programme II (Wine Tasting/ Dinner)

Wednesday, 29 Oct 2014

Session 6: Case Studies from South-East Asia: Indonesia (chair: Peter ROMIJN (Amsterdam/NIOD)

Lisette SCHOUTEN (Heidelberg): The Price of Justice? Dutch East Indies' War Crimes Trials in the Face of Decolonization

Esther ZWINKELS (Leiden): Puppets, Profiteers and Traitors. Collaborator Trials in the Netherlands Indies 1945-49


10.00 – 10.30 Morning Coffee

10.30 Concluding Debate (chair: Kerstin von LINGEN/ Barak KUSHNER): Decolonization and Cold War as Determining Factors in War Crimes Trials Policy in Asia

12.30 Lunch