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Chapter 3. The Overlap Of The Material Element: The Seriousness Requirement

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Chapter Summary

Some international crimes demonstrate by definition a general pre-requisite concerning the seriousness of the offence. Therefore, it becomes very important to see how this seriousness requirement is capable of establishing a relationship between state and individual responsibility. This chapter focus on the way in which the general pattern of state criminality is actually taken into account when establishing individual criminal liability. This question is crucial to determine whether individuals are internationally responsible only for crimes committed in such a widespread and systematic manner as to require the involvement of the entire state apparatus. The chapter also examines the special relationship between state and individual responsibility. While seriousness is a general requirement under aggravated state responsibility, as far as individual criminal liability is concerned a similar element can only be identified having a look at specific primary norms prohibiting international crimes.

Keywords: individual criminal liability; international crimes; international practice; seriousness requirement; state criminality; state responsibility



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