85 Chinese nationals accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280 A.D.) made their initial appearance Monday in front of the International Criminal Court at The Hague. The entire cast of Tecmo Koei’s Dynasty Warriors 8 face a myriad of allegations stemming from a seemingly never-ending conflict that has left hundreds of thousands of untrained, non-aggressive, almost completely passive rural peasants dead.
The defendants come from a variety of political affiliations: 21 from the Kingdom of Shu; 18 from both the Kingdom of Wei and Wu; and 12 from the Kingdom of Jin. The remaining eight warriors, most notably the feared Lu Bu, do not identify with a particular kingdom.
Sima Yi of Jin, known for his quick tongue and short temper, was uncharacteristically quiet as the allegations were read by Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. However, when asked by Judge Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi whether he understood that he was accused of directly committing the murder of 1,453 civilians at the Battle of Hefei Castle, Sima Yi boldly responded, “It’s hard to keep track of the exact number without the little counter at the bottom of the screen.”
Xiahou Dun of Wei maintained his innocence, claiming that these were acts of self-defense, and that the civilians were in fact enemy soldiers. “They had spears! There were dozens of them attacking me at every turn, and hundreds more waiting for the [Playstation 3] to finish loading!” Prosecutor Bensouda quickly retorted, “They had sticks. They didn’t have a 1.8 meter great sword that allowed you to literally fire bolts of lightning while you flew through the air, impervious to all physical attacks, before you leaped onto your flaming warhorse and road off.”
Judge Fernandez de Gurmendi, perhaps unpersuaded by the arguments posited by the various defendants, set a trial date for August 29. The defendants will remain incarcerated until the trial’s conclusion.