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Chapter Summary

International criminal courts and tribunals have been quite innovative in applying general principles of law, in comparison with the PCIJ and the ICJ. Only the former in fact had frequent recourse to general principles of law to fill gaps. General principles of law are particularly relevant with respect to the grounds for excluding criminal responsibility, as the conviction of an accused may depend on the existence or not of a given defence under general principles of law. General principles of law played an important interpretative role, inter alia, for ascertaining the elements of the crime of rape. This book demonstrates that the ascertainment and application of general principles of law by international criminal courts and tribunals has contributed to the development of international criminal law by shedding light on issues unregulated by conventional and customary international rules.

Keywords: general principles of law; international criminal courts; international criminal tribunals



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