RADHA BINOD PAL – VICTORS JUSTICE-- WAR CRIME TRIBUNAL- HIDEKI TOJO HAIKU- HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI
A few years ago I stayed in Japan for a month to take delivery of a new ship , from the yard.
During one of the official dinners , the boss of the yard asked me if I knew PERRUYYA. I was taken aback a bit, still I said yes.
And then the man shed a few tears , and then continued on and on about Perruya— what a great hero he is for the Japanese people, and how his shrine at Chiyoda Tokyo is a place of worhip.
My puzzled Canadian Chief Engineer asked me, “ Who the hell is this guy? “.
I said “ He means Pal Lawyer!, I’ll tell you later, about him ”
My chief engineer whispered into my ear “ How can Perruyya be Pal Lawyer? “ .
I said “ When one of my officers Japanese girl friends got upset with my second officer for ditching her , she had barged into the officers lounge and shouted “ I don’t rrike you, I don’t rrove you, you are butter frry, you are prray boy, you are ARRU FUCKIN’ BARRU “ . This could only have meant - “ You are a butterfly, you are a playboy , you are all balls !”
--considering Japs can’t pronounce L , like how the Chinks can’t pronounce R.
In Rabaul ( Papua New Guinea ) I have seen from my cabin port hole , Japanese tourists lying face down on the mud on top of one of the World war 11 Japanese warship wrecks – I knew how emotional they could get over their dead ancestors.
Radha Binod Pal (27 January 1886 – 10 January 1967) was just one of the 11 jurists of the International military tribunal set up after the 2nd word war, known as Tokyo trials, to punish the Japanese .
Only one person was a career judge – the ex-professor of Law at Calcutta University, Justice Radhabinod Pal. The rest, mostly British, American and Australian were either ex-army officers or diplomats. Except for Judge Radhabinod Pal, no one had any legal training, formal or informal. No wonder Pal was the most eloquent and informed man on the bench in matters of international law .
Pal was expected to toe the line of his white ex-masters. However Pal had the courage to stand by his convictions. He refused to let Allied political concerns and purposes, let alone the charter, influence his judgment in any way . While clearly acknowledging the fact that the Japanese were indeed guilty of horrendous war crimes, he argued that the Allies who were judging them were also guilty of the same.
Indeed he questioned the very legitimacy of the Military Tribunal, and argued that it was driven solely by the spirit of retribution rather than international law. According to his view, the trial was the judgment of the vanquished by the victors; such proceedings, even if clothed in the garb of law, resulted in nothing but the satisfaction of the desire for vengeance.
In his lone dissent, he refers to the trial as a "sham employment of legal process for the satisfaction of a thirst for revenge." His very detailed document of dissent was promptly banned from publication, for many years. His judgement that the Allies were also equally guilty of war crimes, and that victors justice cannot be endorsed , was not palatable , at all.
He brought in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in his judgment as atrocities comparable with Nazi crimes. No wonder Justice Radhabinod Pal has the status of a national hero in Japan.
A memorial in his honor is prominent in the Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo.
In 1966, the Emperor of Japan conferred upon Pal the First Class of the Order of the Sacred Treasure when he visited Japan. He remarked that he had admired Japan from a young age for being the only Asian nation that "stood up against the West."
When Japanese Prime minister Shinzo Abe visited India ,in August 2007 he remember how Pal had saved his grandfather Nobusuke Kishi, guilty of war crimes, and the Japanese Emperor, from the gallows. (Japanese Prime Minister Hideki Tojo , who sanctioned the attack on Pearl Harbour, was however hanged . Hideki Tojo left a haiku written in Pal's honour before going to the gallows) .
Pal would bow to the Japanese benches every time he entered the court, irritating all. This was despite , that the number of Indian combatants killed in World War II exceeded the numbers of those of most of the other countries directly involved. And Indians soldiers of Subash Chandra Bose's INA were tricked into digging 650 kilometers of tunnels in Rabaul-- a task worse than death itself. And all of them were eaten for food--except for a few who escaped into the dense jungles..
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with Pal's son, Prasanta, in Kolkata . They chatted for half an hour at a city hotel.
Pal is also worshipped at the Kao Kannon temple at Atami. The ashes of Hideki Tojo is preserved here.
CAPT AJIT VADAKAYIL