February 10th, 2015 Headsman
The distinguished 66-year-old jurist had served in his youth in the forces of independence fighter Antonio Luna. Diaz was captured by the Americans, and honed his English so well as a POW that he later built a career as a legal scholar in the American-governed archipelago. He was appointed to the Philippines Supreme Court by U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Diaz and his comrades were far from the only civilians to suffer during the bloody monthlong Battle of Manila: Japanese troops conducted intermittent atrocities both wholesale and retail, collectively known as the Manila Massacre. Japan’s commanding general, Tomoyuki Yamashita, was hanged as a war criminal in 1946 due to the Manila Massacre in a highly controversial case — since the Manila Massacre’s atrocities couldn’t be attributed directly to Yamashita’s own orders. But the U.S. war crimes tribunal found, and the U.S. Supreme Court agreed, that the subordinate troops’ actions redounded to the account of their superiors who “fail[ed] to discharge his duty as a commander to control the acts of members of his command by permitting them to commit war crimes.”
This is one of the foundational cases for that opportunistically observed precedent known as “command responsibility” (indeed, this is the “Yamashita Standard”).
As one might guess by the late date and the juridical aftermath, this Battle of Manila ended in an American victory reconquering a now-devastated Philippines capital, and driving the Japanese from the Philippines — making good Gen. Douglas MacArthur‘s famous promise to return there.
On this day..
- 1854: John Tapner, the last hanged on Guernsey - 2016
- 1973: Tom Masaba, Sebastino Namirundu, and 10 other Uganda Fronsana rebels - 2014
- 1892: Four anarchists in Jerez - 2013
- 1794: Jacques Roux, the Red Priest, cheats the guillotine - 2012
- 2011: Rashid al Rashidi, Mousa mosque murderer - 2011
- 1952: Liu Qingshan and Zhang Zishan, the first corruption executions in Red China - 2010
- 1956: Wilbert Coffin - 2009
- 1905: Samuel McCue, mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia - 2008