ICRC databases on international humanitarian law
  • Print page
  • Disclaimer
Yamashita v. Styer, Supreme Court, 4 February 1946
Supreme Court
http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=327&invol=1 (last accessed on 25.09.2013)

    Tomoyuki Yamashita, a general in the Japanese army, was tried by the US Military Commission of Manilla on 7 December 1945. The Commission found that a commander in his position may be held responsible, even criminally liable, for the lawless acts of his troops and sentenced him to death.

    The US Supreme Court, acting on Yamashita's habeas corpus Petition ruled against his claim that the US Military Commission lacked jurisdiction. The Military Commission confirmed the court's verdict and sentence. The Supreme Court ruled that the law of war imposes on a commander the duty to take any appropriate measures within his power to control the troops under his command in order to prevent acts which constitute violations of the law of war. Thus, Yamashita could legitimately be charged with personal responsibility arising from his failure to take such measures. In this regard, the Supreme Court invoked Article 1 of the Hague Convention No. IV of 1907 , Article 19 of the Hague Convention No. X , Article 26 of the 1929 Geneva Convention (for the amelioration of the condition of the wounded and sick in armies in the field) and Article 43 of the Regulations annexed to the Hague Convention No. IV.

File TypeSizeFile Name
application/pdf 37 KB Yamashita v. Styer - Decision of 4 February 1946.pdf