Justice Erima Harvey Northcroft Tokyo War Crimes Trial Collection [MB1549]


The International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE), most commonly known as the Tokyo War Crimes Trial (29 April 1946 to 12 November 1948), was one of the most important trials of the twentieth century. The IMTFE was charged with bringing the highest levels of Japanese war criminals to trial. The Tribunal consisted of eleven members from eleven nations: Australia, Canada, China, France, Great Britain, India, New Zealand, the Philippines, the Netherlands, the Soviet Union, and the United States of America. Justice Erima Harvey Northcroft was chosen to represent New Zealand on the Bench of the IMTFE. After the trial In January 1949, Justice Northcroft kindly donated his nearly complete set of trial documents to the University of Canterbury (then University of Canterbury College). At the time of his bequest, Justice Northcroft was well aware of the importance of this resource. Since that time, as original copies of the material have dwindled, disintegrated, and been lost, the value of Northcroft’s gift has risen exponentially. This collection is now one of the most complete sets of IMTFE documents in the world. It contains almost 380 volumes and nearly 110,000 pages. Evidence can be found therein for examinations of virtually any topic regarding Asia in the first half of the twentieth century, particularly as it applies to the growth of Japanese imperialism.

The E. H. Northcroft Collection [MB 1549] is part of the documentary archives collection held by the University of Canterbury’s Macmillan Brown Library. Please use the following inventory to fully realise the worth of Northcroft’s endowment. For further information about access to the collection please contact the Macmillan Brown Library.

Table of Contents

Introduction and background
A brief history of the Northcroft collection and the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) in general. Includes a discussion of the research merits of the Northcroft collection

Skeleton inventory
A stripped down outline of the Northcroft collection and its divisions

Indexes and finding guides (16 volumes)
A collection of indexes and finding guides that apply to the Tokyo Trial documents. These are all originals made by the IMTFE

Transcripts of proceedings (138 volumes)
The verbatim record of the proceedings in open court of the IMTFE. Covers from 29 April 1946 to 12 November 1948. The Transcripts are 49858 pages long and include a reading of the Judgment of the IMTFE

Final addresses (29 volumes)
A reduplication of the final addresses, summations, and arguments of both the Prosecution and Defence teams of the IMTFE. The Final Addresses repeat pages 38949-48412 of the Transcripts

Digest of transcripts (16 volumes)
Alternately known as the Narrative Summary of the Record. It provides a daily summary of events of the IMTFE, including references to the Transcripts and Exhibits

Motions presented to the court (5 volumes)
A collection of motions presented to the IMTFE by both the Prosecution and Defence teams. Mostly juridical in nature

Rulings and orders of the court (3 volumes)
The rulings and orders concerning all motions presented to the IMTFE

Prosecution documents (11 volumes)
A varied collection of documents published by the Prosecution at the IMTFE. This includes evidence and the Opening statement of the Prosecution, as well as a copy of the IMTFE Indictment.

Proceedings in chambers (6 volumes)
The transcripts of any proceedings not performed in open court. Mostly legal discussions. Also has discussions regarding more personal matters of the IMTFE

Exhibits (93 volumes)
The collection of all evidence presented to the IMTFE. Includes 3916 documents, charts, tables, photographs, and maps

Judgment and annexes (10 volumes)
The complete Judgment of the IMTFE. Includes the verdicts and sentences against each individual accused

Appendage documents related to judgment (8 volumes)
A collection of documents all unique to the Northcroft collection. Includes Judgment draft suggestions of several justices, and summaries of various phases of the prosecution case

Separate opinions of the justices (6 volumes)
Copies of separately filed opinions on the Judgment by five Justices. Also includes a report from Justice Northcroft to the Prime Minister of New Zealand regarding the trial

Miscellaneous (9 volumes)
A collection of miscellanea. Includes a copy of the Judgment and Rulings of the IMT at Nuremberg, an envelope of personal correspondence, and an envelope of photographs from the IMTFE

Extra and duplicate material (28 volumes)
The extra and duplicate material of the Northcroft collection. Contains mostly copies of the Judgment and separate opinions of Justices.

Unique or near-unique items in the E. H. Northcroft Collection
This is a list of documents believed to be unique to the University of Canterbury’s Northcroft collection

IMTFE documents missing from the Northcroft Collection
A list of known IMTFE documents that are not included in the Northcroft collection for unknown reasons