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From the BBC's Charles Scanlon in Tokyo
"For five days the tribunal has heard harrowing testimony"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 12 December, 2000, 08:38 GMT
Hirohito 'guilty' over sex slaves
Comfort women Tomasa Salinog, left, and Lee Young-soo
Two of the many comfort women seeking redress
A mock international war crimes tribunal in Tokyo has found the late Emperor Hirohito guilty for his army's wartime policy of forcing foreign women to work as sex slaves.

The tribunal concluded the emperor knew, or should have known, about the establishment of military brothels where some 200,000 women were forced into prostitution.

Today the judges have found Emperor Hirohito guilty of crimes against humanity

Judge Gabrielle McDonald
During the five-day hearing scores of former comfort women gave evidence of their suffering during the 1930s and 1940s.

The trial was set up by women's groups from eight countries and had no official standing. But the organisers hope to put pressure on Japan to redress the wrong.

The symbolic ruling comes just days after Japanese courts rejected lawsuits brought by Korean and Filipino comfort women who were demanding compensation and apologies.

Determined to fight

More than 450 participants, including victims, lawyers, judges and scholars from around the world attended the tribunal.

Miss Song
For Miss Song, a sex slave from 16: Bitter memories
In its condemnation of Hirohito, the mock tribunal concluded: "Superiors can be responsible for the acts of their subordinates if they'd known or should have known that these acts had been committed."

The four judges - headed by the former president of the UN's Yugoslavia war crimes tribunal, Gabrielle McDonald -also found that individual victims have a right to claim compensation from Japan.

"The state must act with due diligence to address and repair the harm," said Christine Chinkin, one of the judges.

Although many women are now in their 70s - while others have died - they are still determined to fight for an official Japanese apology and compensation for their suffering.

Women abducted

An estimated 200,000 to 300,000 women across Asia, predominantly Korean and Chinese, are believed to have been forced to work as sex slaves in Japanese military brothels.

The state must act with due diligence to address and repair the harm

Judge Christine Chinkin
Many were abducted, and girls as young as 10 were sent to the brothels, where they were forced to have sex with as many as 30 soldiers a day.

No defence was provided for Emperor Hirohito and the accused military leaders and wartime cabinet ministers.

Organisers say they invited the Japanese government to take part in the tribunal, but it declined to do so.

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See also:

08 Dec 00 | Asia-Pacific
Sex slaves put Japan on trial
06 Dec 00 | Asia-Pacific
No compensation for Japan sex slaves
30 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
Sex slave loses compensation bid
29 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
Japan war slaves get $4.6m
29 Mar 98 | Despatches
Korean comfort women compensated
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