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Developments In The Distinction Between Principal And Accessorial Liability In Light Of The First Case Law Of The International Criminal Court

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Chapter Summary

The distinction between perpetration of a crime, which gives rise to principal liability, and participation in a crime committed by a third person, which gives rise to accessorial liability, responds to the distinction between those who are directly liable for the violation of a penal norm (perpetrators or principals to the crime) and those others who are derivatively liable (accessories to the crime or secondary parties). The main reason behind the distinction between principal and accessorial liability in the first case-law of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is the derivative nature of any punishable form of participation in the commission of a crime by a third person. The chapter addresses the question: what is the distinguishing criterion between principals and accessories in international criminal law. It discusses the doctrines of joint criminal enterprise and functional control of the crime as they are competing approaches to the concept of co-perpetration.

Keywords: accessorial liability; International Criminal Court (ICC); international criminal law; joint criminal enterprise; principal liability



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