HL Deb 24 July 1990 vol 521 cc1429-30WA
The Earl of Selkirk

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will state the number of executions which have taken place after conviction of war criminals, and in which countries these have taken place.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (The Earl of Arran)

The information requested is now available. The following figures related to death sentences and executions resulting from trials held between 1945 and 1949 before British Military Courts and the International Military Tribunals at Nuremberg and Tokyo on which the United Kingdom sat. The country given is the place of trial.

(a) British Military Courts

Germany: 168 executions out of 230 death sentences passed.

This figure for executions includes one man who, after his death sentence had been confirmed by the UK authorities, was handed over to the French for trial and was subsequently executed by them.

It does not include two men who committed suicide before their executions took place or one who committed suicide before his sentence was confirmed. If these three men are included as being dead as a result of war crimes trials, the figure for executions increases to 171. The case of one man whose death sentence was commuted by the British authorities but who was handed to the French for trial and subsequently executed by them is not included in the totals here.

Hansard, Vol. 468, col. 193 (October 1949) gives a figure for Germany of 174 executions out of 230 sentenced: the source of this figure, and therefore the origin of the discrepancy, is not known.

Italy: 2 executions out of 12 death sentences passed.

Austria: 2 executions out of 2 death sentences passed.

Norway: 3 executions out of 3 death sentences passed.

Far East: 221 executions out of 290 death sentences passed.

This figure for executions does not include one condemned man who escaped from custody before the sentence could be carried out.

The breakdown by country is as follows:

Hong Kong 20
Burma 23
Borneo 10
Malaya 56
Singapore 112

The figures above do not include cases in which some of the victims were British but where the accused were tried before the courts of other countries, most notably American and Australian courts in the Far East.

The source for the above figures is the Register of Cases maintained by the Judge Advocate General's office, which records each individual's case, the outcome and, where applicable, the final sentence after confirmation by all higher British authorities. This document is now held at the Public Record Office at Kew under reference WO235:1118.

(b) International Military Tribunals


Eleven of the accused in the dock were sentenced to death and all sentences were carried out. In addition, Martin Bormann was sentenced to death in absentia.


Seven of the accused were sentenced to death and all sentences were carried out.