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Omissions. Special Reference to the Responsibility of Military Commanders

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Chapter Summary

Omissions are one fact of human conduct and, thus, can give rise to individual criminal responsibility. For an omission to give rise to individual criminal liability, it is necessary that the person who fails to carry out the required action is in a position that enables him to undertake such action. Furthermore, it is necessary that such a person has a duty to carry out the required action and, thus, the action is expected from him. Concerning the legal nature of the military commanders' criminal liability, the failure to punish subordinates can only constitute, in the author's view, an offense of mere omission insofar as there is no causal link between the military commanders' failure to punish and the unlawful attack that has been previously launched by their subordinates. Indeed, a military commander's duty to punish is only triggered after his subordinates have launched an unlawful attack.

Keywords: criminal liability; criminal responsibility; military commanders; omissions



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