关于司法独立的思考

这几天,微信圈学法律的朋友都在转发最高人民法院院长关于司法独立的讲话。据最新更新,他的讲话似乎被消失了,了无痕迹。然而,学术圈对司法独立的各种讨论引人思考。

关于司法独立的含义,似乎在中国的实践一直体现为:权力分工和司法机关独立于行政机构。暂且不论现实如何,他提到的对西方”司法独立”等错误思潮亮剑的观点,让各界法律人员感到深深的不安和无奈。
我看到标题后的第一个反映是,不苟同任何一个观点并独立质疑是好的。然而,问题提对了吗?司法独立是西方的吗?此外,思潮有正确错误之分吗?再次,司法独立是一种思潮吗?一般而言,思潮应该是新兴的事物,司法独立似乎与新毫不沾边。
此处,简单总结归纳朋友圈转发文章反驳该观点的论述。他们主要是从以下几方面论证。
1. 第一种论述在该文件的语言框架内进行反驳。针对该讲话内容,不过度夸大他自身对司法独立可能带来的危害,并就限定语进行有利于司法独立的解释。例如把西方放到引号里面理解。再比如,认为只针对错误思潮亮剑。然而,此种论述力量似乎有点小。逻辑语言也不太能自洽。毕竟,既然已经价值评判认定是错的了,还需要亮剑思考吗。这不是先有结论:你的观点是错的。然后说我质疑你的观点。再则,不同于自然科学的有和无,人文社科领域的思想并无对错之分,只是在一定的背景语境环境之下有无适用性和合理性。

2. 第二种论述主要从中国政府自己所支持主张的理论思想出发。比如,论述马克思政治哲学对于司法独立观点的论述。从共产主义思想大师的思想纬度出发,比较安全。也可体现司法独立不是资本主义社会的思想,是社会主义思想的内容。

3.从中国历史角度出发,论述司法独立的内容是中国民众的追求。有观点从法制发展史出发,举包青天,海瑞等清正官员在民众中受拥戴的现象表明中国老百姓希望司法公正。然而,此例子似乎容易被反驳司法独立的支持者所批驳。因为,在古代中国行政官员与司法官员是一个主体,且负责民刑案件。这似乎和司法独立要求司法机关独立与行政,司法人员独立于上级,法官独立于个人偏见的观点不符。

4.第四种论述不是论证这是西方化的还是本土化的,而在于论证这是世界的共识。这和第三有相似之处。中国有,西方也有,人民都希望司法公正!对于人权保障人道主义精神等思想,他们作为世界性的话语,是人类的共识无可厚非。

思考:不论亚里士多德,还是孔孟,他们的观点哪一个不是具有哲学思想的经度和政治的纬度。儒家思想在中国不仅是思想,也曾是国家的治国方略。政治主权者选择这些思想为其所用,治国理政。同样,司法独立这个话语,也不仅仅是思想内容,还是政治话语。那么它在此文件中到底是什么呢? 有观点从司法独立作为西方政治话语的表达,进而否定司法独立的本土适用性。 似乎执政党仍采取此方略,不利于执政地位或解决当前国内治理问题的方略,不予采纳。至于这是西方的还是东方的,实际上似乎并不在乎。在排斥源于西方的思想时,就盖一个西方的帽子;古代中国的思想不适用的时候,就给一个腐朽落后的称呼。对此文件内容,似乎理解为一个政治选择的结果为宜。

暂且不论该观点同政府决策之间的差异或是政府所默认的。然而,这个政治选择却由一个最高人民法院院长而非行政首脑发言做出,令众人哗然就不言而喻。此外,此种政治选择可能带来巨大的危害。有观点论述,此种政治选择,最后只能导致司法改革的倒退。

有观点提到,要如何应对中国自己的特殊情况,有四个分析层次。a维持现状;b全盘西化实现理想状态;c不学习西方,改变现状;d学习西方,改变现状。似乎多数的支持反对司法独立的讨论并没思考后两种情形。而对于学习西方还是不学习西方(例如普选制,三权分立)?到底什么是西方的?什么是全球的?这似乎又开始了之前的争论。

为解决现实问题,似乎不应该去考虑这个词是否起源与西方,而应思考该制度构建理论背后的目的。司法独立的宗旨在于实现司法的公正,司法正义,不因人易法,不因权易法。 然而,如何在没有形成自己特有的制度构建下实现司法公正公平的目的呢?在新的一套理论制度构建尚未形成,不应一味批驳不希望采纳的制度构建形式。此外这类批驳话语,到底是反对司法独立所对应的政治制度构建,还是希望亮剑此制度旨在保障的目的呢?若对司法公正公平正义等基本的共识也一并否定,似乎过犹不及了。

Sexual Slaves in so-called comfort stations–Yongsoo Lee’s Story

 

Last Saturday on 9 July, in Amsterdam, there was a Salon with the title of “Beyond Repair – A conversation with Yongsoo Lee about forced prostitution during the Second World War”.

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I found it very interesting and immediately made a decision to participate in it. I was a bit late because of the offline google map. (The street  — Kleine Gartmanplantsoen – was not indicated on his offline map). Hence,  unfortunately, we missed the speech of the interviewer, Peter Keppy from the NIOD.  Luckily, we did not miss the main part of this salon.

There were around 30-40 audiences, the majority of which were Korean citizens. The Korean man next to me also had a notebook and wrote many notes in Korean. Since Ms. Yongsoo Lee could not speak English, some Korean students (might be students) translated her speech. She is the youngest survivor from South Korea, who suffered from severe sexual abuse in so-called ‘comfort stations’. Peter Keppy asked her questions, such as  when and how she was transferred to Taiwan, when she went home and how about her life after she was back to South Korea.

She was born in a family with six (?) elder brothers in 1928. However, in 1944, when she was catching snails with her friend close to a riverbank, they were taken by a Japanese soldier. At that time, she was 16. They firstly were taken by a train to Shanghai, and then transferred to a boat heading to Hsinchu County, Taiwan. When she was on the train, she was told that she was going to see her mom. When the train passed by her home, she screamed for her mom. Then, she told us her story regarding the torture she suffered from the electrical cable by a soldier. She was beaten and cut with a knife, and the scar of the cut remains.  At her 16, she was raped. She was too young to recognise what will happen and what is rape. She learned to submit so that she would not be beaten again. Even during her period, she still had to have sexual relations with men.

When the war was over, she did not realise what was happening. She was sent back to home. She did not receive the fresh Tofu from her mother(there is a tradition in South Korea that a person who was released from the jail will eat Tofu, which symbolises a new life and a hope of not going to a jail again), but the fire.  Her mother did not recognise her and used the fire to eliminate a ghost because she thought her daughter was dead. After that, she did not live with families at home, but in a mountain.  At that time, she did not realise that people would like to know her story; she was also ashamed for what happened to her.  The last word of one of her brothers was that “tell the truth.” After Kim Hak-sun (姜日出) openly talked to the public about her experience as a sexual slave, she also testified about her experience in that comfort Station  and registered as a comfort woman in 1992.  It is inspiring that she also attended university in 1996 and graduated in 2001 with her master degree.

During her speech, some people including two translators were moved to tears. Now, she is a women’s right activist. She always says that she is a Korean, rather than a comfort woman victim. She said that she is still healing, but she also wants to heal the world. She is still trying to testify and managing to argue against challenges to her testimony. She even went back to Taiwan, and a witness in Taiwan also pointed out that there was a military base where she was, and she was there. When one audience asked her a question regarding the Koren Film ‘Spirits’ Homecoming’ (鬼乡 ), she said what was described in the film is only one percent of their sufferings.

After the event, I walked to talk with her in a short time. “I come from China. Thank you for sharing your experience. You are so brave, and it is so inspiring for Chinese people.” We hugged each other, and she firmly held my right hand. During this conversation, I felt that my eyes were wet.  The translator also told me the information regarding the compensation of sexual slavery in Taiwan last year, and two female judges in San Francisco are also working on this issue.

In China, there were also many sexual slaves, who were tortured, raped, and forced to have sexual relations with military soldiers. However, the right-wing Government of Japan never acknowledges such a fact and even intends to deny the existence of comfort system by revising its textbook. Some try to mislead the public by using the ambiguity term “comfort women”, or justify its comfort system. Although some women were voluntary to work in a comfort Station, the existence of sexual slavery during the WWII cannot be denied.  Indeed, in 2007, there was a litigation before a Japanese Court for compensations to Chinese women for their sufferings during the WWII. Initially, this case was rejected as the local district court found that there was no sexual slavery. In the appeal, the sexual slavery was recognised. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court ruled that these victims had no right to compensation, as that right was waived by the Chinese government. As a matter of fact, the individual right to compensation as a human right cannot be waived by a government or by another individual to whom no authorization was granted. Despite the final ruling of no compensation, this civil litigation case in Japan indicates that there was sexual slavery. Further research on the compensation is needed and urgent since many victims were dead and some of them were too old to testify.

The comfort women registration system is one thing; while the social context of tolerance is another thing, which is necessary for other unknown victims to openly share their experience. To be heard is also a kind of heal for their inner feelings.

 

 

 

A Documentary “what our fathers did:A Nazi legacy”

 

同事午餐时聊到这部纪录片,我非常感兴趣。我于是报名参加了它在海牙的放映。该纪录片的导演拍摄过唐顿庄园。

 

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纪录片主要讲述了两个纳粹高官的儿子 Niklas Frank和Horst von Wächter对待各自父亲在波兰和乌克兰的犯罪行为的差异性理解。他们两人的纳粹高官父亲分别是在纽伦堡审判被判处绞刑的Hans Frank  和 逃到萨尔茨堡山中躲避4年,最后死于罗马的Otto von Wächter。Hans Frank  是希特勒左膀右臂,是被占领波兰地区的行政首脑。Otto von Wächter在波兰时,曾经是Hans Frank  的下属。随后Otto von Wächter到德占乌克兰,担任乌克兰地方行政长官。访问者是人权教授Phillipe  Sands。有趣的是,Phillipe  Sands教授的外祖父一家数十人居住在乌克兰的时候,被Otto von Wächter 的下属杀害。最后仅存其外祖父,随后才有了他的母亲和他。

两个儿子对于父亲的行为的评价差异很大。对horst而言,他的印象的父亲是一个好父亲。父亲的朋友对父亲的评价也极高。他不相信自己的父亲是罪犯,也不愿意相信。当 Niklas Frank还原历史,模仿父亲在议会楼里念出Hans Frank  对 Otto von Wächter在波兰的行为不满,Horst von Wächter不相信。当sands教授拿出原始文件证明其父亲曾签署相关杀害指令时,他也不相信。当sands教授带着他到其外祖父一家被屠杀的纪念碑面前,记录片显示,他变得紧张了,但是他仍不相信。相反,Niklas Frank直言自己的父亲是一个罪犯。他敢于在公开场合提及,甚至将父亲的照片留着,提醒自己父亲做过的事。

从第三者的角度来看,或许有人会承认自己父亲的犯罪行为。但是有的人即便面对证据,由于情感上的牵绊,他依然不愿意接受如此的事实。两人截然不同态度的原因,我认为有两点。第一,各自同父亲的感情不同。在Niklas Frank的童年里,他没有多少和父亲的愉快时光。他甚至曾被父亲怀疑不是亲生的孩子。父母关系不融洽,父亲想离婚,母亲不愿意,写信给希特勒。希特勒勒令两人不准离婚。他就是在那样的环境下成长大的。相反,Horst von Wächter 和父亲有非常密切的亲子关系。珍贵家庭影像显示他们一家家庭和谐,父母感情笃深。两人对父亲的情感,从道德上使得各自对父亲的不利证据采取不同的态度。

第二,是否受到审判对于犯罪人及其后代的反思影响深刻。Hans Frank 的行为在纽伦堡国际军事法庭进行了审判。此后联合国一系列的决议,国际法委员会编撰的纽伦堡原则,以及此后的各种法律文件,都再次确认了纽伦堡审判的合法性。小frank已经接受父亲的罪行。如果再尝试抗辩,将显得非常的苍白无力。相反,horst 的父亲没有接受战争审判。他躲避在山里的时候,母亲为父亲提供食物供应。49年一家还曾最后见面。母亲也一直相信父亲做的是正确的事情。在他的心里,父亲在道德上是一个好人,他怎会做那样残忍的事情。即便做了,也是情有可原,或者说是被逼无奈。他从父亲的同事朋友那听到父亲曾试图帮助别人免受迫害,他的父亲拒绝签署一份文件。据此,他一直相信父亲的行为值得原谅。可是,他不知道的更多,更多残忍的事实如果没有经过司法的确认作为证据,他仍会像一个辩护律师一样,持续质疑证据的真实性和相关性。

这个故事看完,或许有人会对horst 产生同情。一则,同情他在法律和亲情之间的挣扎。再则,同情他似乎被两个人逼迫接受自己的父亲应当承担大屠杀的责任。当你询问任何人,如果你的父亲杀害了数千万人,你会如何?答案不是只有一个。当然,他拒绝接受乌克兰士兵递过来的枪的行为,也有应当赞赏。的确,他对于自己父亲的情感可以理解。然而,从情感出发而对大屠杀行为事实的否认和辩解,只会让受害者产生厌恶。他只相信他认定的事实。

跳出这个故事,我们会发现,中国学界还有很多事情可做。中日战争结束这么多年,日本持续存在对侵略的否认,对大屠杀的质疑。诚然,犯罪刑事责任应该由行为人个人或者其指挥官承担,而非由一个国家的所有国民,或是行为人子孙承担。然而,为何日本当前存在如此多的horst呢?为何我们总说日本的反思不够彻底,总是沉渣泛起呢?要对德日反思进行比较研究,一篇观后感显然没法做到。

不过,抗日结束后的审判的公正性,以及中国和美国战后对日本战犯的处理方式对于反思有重大的影响。东京审判对各种甲级战犯进行了审判,随后亚洲地区各国的领土范围内也进行了许多战争犯的审判。但是,东京审判的甲级战犯中被判有罪的人,他们基本上在1960年以前都服刑完毕。随后,他们到日本新政府任职,甚至位高权重,成为内阁总理大臣。 另外,当时国民党政府和共产党分据台湾大陆。中国台湾的日本战俘(包含一些应该被审判的战犯)却被国民党台湾政府任命为军事官员,以训练国民党军队。各种历史因素德结合,再加上东京审判程序上的瑕疵, 当前日本修改历史教科书的事实,当代日本青年像horst 一样反映不足为奇。

最后,Sands教授提到他和Niklas是朋友。作为受害者的外孙,他并没有因为Niklas爸爸的行为,而阻碍他们的友情。对战争的理性反思任重道远。日本政府应有正面历史的态度。如果希望日本的horst们 能改变想法,中国一方也迫切需要更多的研究。

Counter-terrorism Legislation in China

On Friday,  I attended a seminar in Rotterdam.  Professor Zhao Bingzhi, a prominent scholar in Beijing Normal University, gave a lecture regarding the Draft of Ninth Amendment to the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China (entered into force on 1 October 1997 and latest amendment on 25 February 2011 ). His presentation focused on the issues of anti-corruption, counter-terrorism and the abolition of death penalty. 

With regard to counter-terrorism measures, except the Decision regarding the Strengthening of Counter-Terrorism  Measures, adopted on 29 October 2011 by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress(NPCSC), acting as China’s de facto legislative body,  there is no law regarding the definition of terrorist activities and terrorist organisation in China until now. Some violent behaviours relating to terror have been regulated in the Criminal Law.

Professor Zhao holds that it is better to regulate the counter-terrorism measures as a whole by law  while leaving the implementation of that law to be directly or indirectly regulated by administrative law and criminal law.  Indeed, in order to counter terrorism, limitations will be set up for certain individual rights confirmed by the Constitutional law. Therefore, based on Article 8(5) of the Legislative Law of the PRC, the form of legislation in “law” is valuable and necessary to avoid violating human rights. In additional to that, behaviour violating of the potential “law” does not directly lead to the criminalisation of that behaviour. I agree with his idea for the special and synoptical legislation for counter-terrorism measures.  Moreover, the punishment of terrorism behaviours is a kind of remedy after the tragedy happened. Other methods to prevent that from happening are also important, such as the surveillance in airports, long-period body-check before boarding. Observations show that there is a slight possibility to profile a terrorist based on the ethical or regional areas.

According to Article 2 of the Decision regarding the Strengthening of Counter-Terrorism, the terrorist activities refer to the use or threatened use of violence to create social panic,  to harm public safety or to coerce State organs and international organisations.

[      恐怖活动是指以制造社会恐慌、危害公共安全或者胁迫国家机关、国际组织为目的,采取暴力、破坏、恐吓等手段,造成或者意图造成人员伤亡、重大财产损失、公共设施损坏、社会秩序混乱等严重社会危害的行为,以及煽动、资助或者以其他方式协助实施上述活动的行为。

      恐怖活动组织是指为实施恐怖活动而组成的犯罪集团。

      恐怖活动人员是指组织、策划、实施恐怖活动的人和恐怖活动组织的成员。]

It seems that the first reading of the Draft of the Ninth Amendment included the advocacy of terrorism and extremism and the incitement to commit violent and terror activities as crimes. In addition, the behaviours of forcing others to wear clothing logy advocating terrorism and extremism in public through violence, intimidation or other means will also be regarded as a crime.

[草案增加了制作资料、散发资料、发布信息、当面讲授等方式或通过音视频、信息网络等宣扬恐怖主义、极端主义,或者煽动实施暴力恐怖活动的犯罪,以暴力、胁迫等方式强制他人在公共场所穿着、佩戴宣扬恐怖主义、极端主义服饰标志的犯罪等规定].

It should be noted that counter-terrorism measures sometimes will attract the attention of international law scholars. On the one hand, some suspects left out the States at which they committed crimes. Therefore, the issue regarding international cooperation and extradition of suspects arise up.  On the other hand, the measure or policy of intentionally target killing  or raid against suspected terrorists in another States, though with the permission of the later, legality and legitimacy of targeted killing is still highly debatable in the aspects of international human rights law, international humanitarian law, self-defence and international criminal law.

Though  terrorism was intentionally omitted by the Rome Statute as its compromising characteristic, obviously, it is regarded as an international crime. In 2011,  the Appeals Chamber of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon clearly clarified that there is an emerging definition of terrorism as an international crime under customary international law. However, it stated that the definition of terrorism in the Lebanese Criminal Code is distinct from that under customary international law. It finally decided that Lebanese national law, rather than international law, is the primary applicable law.

In fact, with regard to the definition of terrorism, there is no agreement among States . Although international law defines the behaviour of terrorism, UN Resolutions show that the debated regarding the definition of terrorism will last for a long time in the future.  [UN. (2005-08-12). Draft Comprehensive Convention, A/59/894, annex II 7]

To sum up, the inclusion of some criminal behaviours into the Criminal Law is a big step for China. However, legislators should be cautious about the definition of terrorism, terrorism activities, and the relationship between the customary international law and domestic legislation regarding a crime of terror.

How to understand the war crime of rape?

When I was reading the Klamberg Commentary to the 1998 Rome Statute, with regard to  the elements of war crime, I was a bit confused about the invasion conduct of rape. The Rome Statute  Elements of Crimes, and Rules of Procedure and Evidence are the basic documents for an analysis of each provision. After thinking for a while, I found that the stipulation in the Rome Statute is very open from some perspectives. Here I want to share my feelings.

Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

1. The Court shall have jurisdiction in respect of war crimes in particular when committed as part of a plan or policy or as part of a large-scale commission of such crimes.

 2. ——–

(e) Other serious violations of the laws and customs applicable in armed conflicts not of an international character, within the established framework of international law, namely, any of the following acts:

(vi) Committing rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced  pregnancy, as defined in article 7, paragraph 2 (f), enforced  sterilization, and any other form of sexual violence also constituting  a serious violation of article 3 common to the four Geneva  Conventions;

War crime of rape

Elements

  1. The perpetrator invade the body of a person by conduct resulting in penetration, however slight , of any part of the body of the victim or of the perpetrator with a sexual organ, or of the anal or genital opening of the victim with any object or any other part of the body.

How to understand the objective element regarding the invasion conduct of a perpetrator?

My understanding is as follows:

  1. The sexuality of the people involved:

The perpetrators were either female or male.

And the victims were also either female or male.

  1. The conduct of the perpetrator:

The perpetrator could use his/her own sexual organ to penetrate any part of the body of the victim;

The perpetrator could force the victim to use the victim’s sexual organ to penetrate any part of the body of the perpetrator.

The perpetrator could use any object or any other part of his/her body to penetrate the anal or genital of the victim.

  1. The degree of penetration:

No matter how slight of the penetration.

My question: How to literally understand the genital “opening” of the victim?

What’s the difference between Chinese national rape crime objective elements?

Article 236 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China [translations are unofficial]

Whoever rapes a woman by force, threat or other means shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than three years and not more than ten years.

Whoever has sexual relations with a girl under the age of 14 shall be deemed to have committed rape and shall be given a heavier punishment.

Any of the following categories of persons who rapes a woman or has sexual relations with a girl shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than ten years, life imprisonment or death:

(1) those who rape a woman or have sexual relations with a girl with flagrant circumstances;

(2) those who rape several women or have sexual relations with several girls;

(3) those who, in a public place, rape a woman in public;

(4) two or more persons who rape the same victim in succession; or

(5) those who cause severe bodily injury or death of the victim or cause other serious consequences.

 

My understanding of Article 236

  1. The sexuality of the people involved:

It seems that the perpetrators were either female or male.

In practice, only male perpetrators could conduct the invasion. Most of the perpetrators are male. A female may also be deemed to have committed rape, if she helped the perpetrator to rape a woman or to have a sexual relationship with a girl.  However, if only a female have ”raped” a woman or have sexual relationship with a girl, the female may not be deemed to committed crime of rape. Therefore, a female may only committed a rape with a male.

The victims were women or girls under the age of 14.  The men and boys generally cannot be considered as victims. So only female could be victims of rape.

  1. The conduct of the perpetrator:

This provision does not dentally describe the conduct of the perpetrators. There are contentious debates about the conduct. There are different standards in theory to assess of whether the rape has finished.  A completed crime can be divided into 3 phrases, that is the preparation phrase, conducting phrase and finished phrase.

Generally, if the perpetrator successfully used his own sexual organ to penetrate the sexual organ, the anal or genital of the victim, the rape crime may be regarded as finished. However, if he only used his own sexual organ to penetrate other part of the body of the victim, there exist undeniable doubts. Some commenters think that it may be at the preparation phrase of rape. And some other commenters even held that it is not crime of rape, but crime of outrages upon person dignity.

The following two situations are not very opened discussed.

[The perpetrator could force the victim to use the victim’s sexual organ to penetrate any part of the body of the perpetrator.

The perpetrator could use any object or any other part of his/her body to penetrate the anal or genital of the victim.]

  1. The degree of penetration:

No matter how slight of the penetration.

 

We can see that the scope crime of rape at Chinese national level is narrower and limited than that at the international criminal court. The war crime of rape is happened in the context and associated with armed conflicts. That is to say, if the conduct of rape happened in the context of armed conflicts, while there is no nexus between the conduct of rape and the armed conflict, the perpetrate should only be deemed to commit rape[Not war crime of rape].  I would like to say, the rape as a crime is a natural crime, comparing to economic crimes.  One of the purposes to punish the perpetrator, in war or in peace, is to protect the sexual right of the victims. And both female and male should have sexual right.  Therefore, the rape over man and boys should not be excluded from the legislation. [Even though it is more difficult to make investigation and collect evidence than rape crime against women and girls.]

In addition, most victims are injured physically and mentally. The limitation of the penetration to the sexual part of the victim should be removed. More debates should be openly discussed to protect the victims and also to protect the right of due process of suspects.

China is going to publish “confessions” of 45 convicted Japanese criminals

 
On 3 July  2014, the deputy director of the China State Archives Administration (SAA), Li Minghua, stated that the SAA was going to publish “confessions”of 45 convicted Japanese World War II criminals on its website. It’s the first time for the SAA to publish all the 45 whole confessions on the internet. Previously, the SAA had partly published some of these materials in print.

The publication will last for 45 days, with each criminal for one day. The 45 criminals were put on trail in China in 1956. The documents include the whole confession,  handwritten in Japanese with  official translation in Chinese and brief translation in English.   Issues arose to be considered .   Human rights of the Female Victims: In order to protect the female victims and their family, the SAA used the fake names.   History and Criminal Law Trials: Several months ago, an International Criminal Law Center was established in Fudan University. Some scholars had mentioned the ignored war crimes trials in China during 1945-1949 and in 1956 at the ICLC first meeting. It is a good news. Three weeks ago, I attended a meeting regarding the international trials and history. It inspired me to think about the limitations of  fact-finding and  its effects of international crimes trials on establishment of history. Japan government failed to confront upon its history of aggression in Asia, especially regarding the Nanjing Massacre.  (There are different categories of opponent tothe event. One is that they did not admit there was a massacre. Second, there was a massacre, but they cannot agree with China on the numbers of civilian victims.Third, they held that there were intentionally murders, however, the victims were not civilians but soldiers/combatants.) The publication of the confession could open the door for the public either in China or in Japan to know what happened. However, based on the first confession of Keiku Suzuki, dated 1954 and 38 pages long, some of the sentences were very long and contained multiple clauses. [Suzuki was held by Soviet forces at the end of the conflict and transferred to Chinese custody in 1950. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison by the court and released in 1963 according to earlier Chinese documents.] The possibility that it had gone through several drafts could not be excluded. In addition, all  confessions are confessions. It means that confessions could be made from inner voluntary and also with outsider-coercive. Moreover, only confessions are not enough for historians to seek the facts and establish the history. In other words, confessions (only a bit part of trial documents) are not sufficient to construe a convincing argument. Therefore, more information should be published and available to public,especially to historians and other academics.     Politics: It was said that the documents were being released to mark the 77th anniversary on Monday of the 7.7 Incident in 1937,the start of the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression.     Worries: Avoid to intriguing hatred to Japanese people or to triggering anti-Japan atmosphere. 

psb