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The “Right to Wage War” against Empire: Anticolonialism and the Challenge to International Law in the Indian National Army Trial of 1945

  • Mithi Mukherjee

Abstract

This Article treats the Indian National Army Trial of 1945 as a key moment in the elaboration of an anticolonial critique of international law in India. The trial was actually a court-martial of three Indian officers by the British colonial government on charges of high treason for defecting from the British Indian Army, joining up with Indian National Army forces in Singapore, and waging war in alliance with Imperial Japan against the British. In this trial, the defense made the radical claim that anticolonial wars fought in Asia against European powers were legitimate and just and should be recognized as such under international law. The aim of this Article is to draw attention to the understudied role of anticolonial movements in challenging the premises of international law in the aftermath of World War II.

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