Once a political decision is made to conduct war crimes trials, it is necessary to set up an organization to make that possible. Even if it is decided that the trials will be conducted in an existing court of law, it is still likely that a special prosecutor will have to be set up in light of the peculiar factors that are often involved. Thus, the Australian government established the Special Investigation Unit in 1987 to examine alleged Nazi war criminals in that country and to see whether any should be prosecuted. It had its own historian and other specialists, reflecting the fact that the alleged crimes mostly happened in obscure parts of Eastern Europe decades earlier.
In this example, as in many others, the alleged crimes took place outside the country, the witnesses did not necessarily speak the language of the investigators, and anyone who would testify had to deal with a completely unfamiliar and complex environment. At least, however, the Australian team—like the British and American teams of the same type—was itself generally homogeneous as regards language and experience. The Nuremberg trials following World War II, although multinational in theory, were run by the four victorious powers in Europe, who were able to decide every important issue among themselves. In the Tokyo trials, the control of the United States was almost total. The trial of Adolf Eichmann, which was conducted during the 1960s in Israel and led to his execution, was conducted in Hebrew and under Israeli law.
Truly international trials, blending nationalities in the investigation and prosecution teams as well as national procedures and legal systems, are a