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Sexual Violence and the Relevance of the Doctrine of Superior Responsibility in the Light of the Katanga Judgment at the International Criminal Court

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In this article, I set out to investigate the interplay between sexual violence and various linking theories in international criminal law. I will demonstrate some of the possibilities and shortcomings of various modes of liability available to the International Criminal Court with regard to cases involving sexual violence. In so doing it is necessary to thoroughly explain and discuss the potential reasoning of the Court in these matters. Since the case against Germain Katanga presents a perfect illustration of the distinction in application and analysis of the modes of liability with regard to sexual violence as opposed to other crimes, the reasoning provided in said judgment will be used as a springboard for such an analysis. Therefore the background to the case against Katanga will firstly be presented and the modes of liability as used in this particular case will subsequently be scrutinised. Considering the fact that Katanga was acquitted of sexual violence, this investigation will mostly demonstrate the deficiencies of these modes of liability and in the vacuum left after such an analysis, I will show the potential benefits of utilising the doctrine of superior responsibility in cases involving sexual violence. In my opinion, though fraught with complexities, this doctrine presents the perfect avenue to prosecute the higher echelons of organisations, i.e., the persons that international criminal courts and tribunals are intent on convicting, for sexual violence in particular. Thus, the aim of this article is to highlight the potential benefits of utilising broad charging strategies and more particularly, the importance of including the doctrine of superior responsibility, in sexual violence cases.

Affiliations: 1: PhD Candidate and Lecturer, Faculty of Law, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden


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