The Women's International War Crimes Tribunal on Japan's Military Sexual Slavery was a people's tribunal convened to gather testimony from victims, and then, based on international laws that were in place during World War II, to try groups and individuals for rape or sexual slavery, i.e., forcing women to sexually service Japanese soldiers.
The tribunal convened on December 8, 2000, and was adjourned on December 12, 2000.
On December 4, 2001, the tribunal's final judgment was issued in the Hague. More than 1000 paragraphs and 200 pages long, the judgment discusses the factual findings of the Tribunal, and law applicable to the case. Not all of the accused were convicted, but the late Emperor Showa was, because, as the leader of the country, he was ultimately responsible for the sex-slave policy.
The two last paragraphs of the final judgement read as follows:
The Crimes committed against these survivors remain one of the greatest unacknowledged and unremedied injustices of the Second World War. There are no museums, no graves for the unknown "comfort woman", no education of future generations, and there have been no judgement days for the victims of Japan's military sexual slavery and the rampant sexual violence and brutality that characterized its aggressive war.
Accordingly, through this Judgment, this Tribunal intends to honor all the women victimized by Japan's military sexual slavery system. The Judges recognize the great fortitude and dignity of the survivors who have toiled to survive and reconstruct their shattered lives and who have faced down fear and shame to tell their stories to the world and testify before us. Many of the women who have come forward to fight for justice have died unsung heroes. While the names inscribed in history's page have been, at best, those of the men who commit the crimes or who prosecute them, rather than the women who suffer them, this Judgement bears the names of the survivors who took the stand to tell their stories, and thereby, for four days at least, put wrong on the scaffold and truth on the throne.
Although the Tribunal was seen as a step forward by Women's groups in Asia, then secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (the ruling party at the time), Shinzō Abe, who later went on to serve as Prime Minister for a short period, was accused of meddling directly with the broadcast of the tribunal in Japan. Although this was contrary to Japanese Broadcasting Law, sections of the trial were cut, including testimonies, mentions of "sexual slavery" and the final judgement. In place of these an alleged 'specialist' was interviewed, maintaining that Comfort Women were a fabrication and that the women were all prostitutes.
- PHILIP BRASOR (2001-12-04). "Did NHK balk at covering war tribunal?" (in English) (HTML). The Japan Times Online. Archived from the original on 2012-12-19. https://archive.is/Dp7S. Retrieved 2008-03-22.
- International Organizing Committee for the Women's International War Crimes Tribunal (2001-12-04). "The Hague Final Judgment" (in English) (PDF). Violence Against Women in War-Network Japan. pp. pg. 280 of 312. http://www1.jca.apc.org/vaww-net-japan/english/womenstribunal2000/Judgement.pdf. Retrieved 2008-03-22.