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On Native Testimony: Military Tribunals, War Crimes, and Imperial Judgment in Guam

Start Date and Time:

Wednesday, December 4, 2019, 2:00PM

End Date and Time:

Wednesday, December 4, 2019, 4:00PM


Prof. Keith L. Camacho (University Of California - Los Angeles)

In 1944, the U.S. Navy established the War Crimes Tribunals Program in Guam, one of several Japanese colonies located in the Pacific. For the next five years, the military commission reviewed war crimes cases about assault, murder, treason, and other acts against white civility. Throughout this period, the tribunal also featured more than 100 indigenous Chamorro and Chamorro-Japanese testimonies about Japanese militarism, policing, and torture in Guam. How did these testimonies support the U.S. effort to eradicate Japan’s sovereignty and remake the political bodies and territorial borders of Guam and the Pacific Islands more generally? By drawing on various philosophies and proverbs about life and death, this talk examines the legal and political impact of military courts, native testimonies, and white supremacist violence.

Keith L. Camacho is an associate professor in the Asian American Studies Department at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is also the author of Sacred Men: Law, Torture, and Retribution in Guam, the co-editor of Militarized Currents: Toward a Decolonized Future in Asia and the Pacific, and the former senior editor of Amerasia Journal.


  • Dr. David Chu Program in Asia-Pacific Studies

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Takashi Fujitani

Asian Institute


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A Prisoner of War Camp in Guam
“A Prisoner of War Camp in Guam”; Source: U.S. National Archives, College Park, Maryland