President Sergio Osmeña’s War Crimes Office

CEBUPEDIA - Clarence Paul Oaminal (The Freeman) - November 2, 2020 - 12:00am


“WHEREAS, during the hostilities commenced by Japan on December 7, 1941, and during the occupation of the Philippines, these cruel invaders of our home land committed and are continuing to commit atrocities, crimes and offenses contrary to the laws and customs of war and to the principles of common humanity against the persons and property of the people of the Philippines, and

“WHEREAS, it is the declared policy of the United Nations, as set forth in the Declaration of Moscow on Atrocities issued in the name of President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill and Premier Stalin on November 1, 1943, that the perpetrators and persons responsible for such atrocities, crimes and offenses be brought to justice, and

“WHEREAS, it is both necessary and proper that the perpetrators and persons responsible for such offenses committed in the territories of the Commonwealth of the Philippines be brought to justice and punished and that a true record of the atrocities, horrors, and wanton destruction so inflicted upon our people be preserved, and

“WHEREAS, it is both desirable and necessary that this Commonwealth proceed immediately to collect, record and evaluate all evidence of such atrocities, crimes and offenses that the perpetrators and persons responsible may be punished, and

“WHEREAS, there has been established in the Office of the Judge Advocate General of the United States Army a National War Crimes Office;

“NOW, THEREFORE, I, SERGIO OSMEÑA, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the Philippines as President thereof and as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, do hereby establish a National War Crimes Office charged with the responsibility jointly with the United States National War Crimes Office of accomplishing the speedy and just punishment of Japanese war criminals guilty of atrocities, cruelties and acts of oppression against the people and armed forces of the Philippines, the citizens and armed forces of the United States of America in the Philippines and the citizens of other of the United Nations.

“The National War Crimes Office is established within the Judge Advocate General Service of the Philippine Army and will function under the direction of the Judge Advocate General. It will proceed to collect from all available sources evidence of war crimes and atrocities against both persons and property within the Philippines committed since the commencement of hostilities by Japan in December, 1941, maintain a record thereof and evaluate such evidence, and jointly with the United States War Crimes Office bring about the prompt trial of all guilty persons that may be apprehended.

“The National War Crimes Office will maintain direct liaison with the United States National War Crimes Office, and with the United Nations War Crimes Commission and will exchange with those offices information and evidence of war crimes, and cooperate therewith in the apprehension and trial of criminals.”

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