by Craig R. Scott, CG
JAG is the acronym for Judge Advocate General. Each military service has a Judge Advocate General. The Judge Advocate General Corps in each is responsible for matters concerning military justice. In October 1944, a war crimes unit was established in the Army Judge Advocate General's Department. The Navy participated through its "Navy Division." On January 13, 1945, the Secretary of the Navy's memorandum announced the establishment of the National War Crimes Office and vested the Judge Advocate General of the Navy "with cognizance over legal and administrative matters relating to war crimes so far as the Navy is concerned."
For most of its existence, the Navy war crimes organization was designated as the Navy Division, War Crimes Office, but in early 1949, it was redesignated as the War Crimes Branch. Officially the unit was subordinate to the Army Judge Advocate General, but for the Navy's administrative purposes, it reported to the Judge Advocate General of the Navy. Most of the Pacific area war crimes trials were concluded during 1949, as were other aspects of its war crimes related work. The Pacific war crimes offices were abolished and their records sent to the Navy Judge Advocate General in Washington. By early 1950, the War Crimes Branch had ceased to exist.
These records comprise legal case files relating to crimes committed during World War II by Japanese soldiers and sailors and others prosecuted under US military law. Not all of the accused were guilty. These records are sorted by case file titles. Some files are brief, while others may contain hundreds of pages of testimony, correspondence, and court documents
A NARA descriptive pamphlet is not available for this series of records.