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The First Judgment of the International Criminal Court (Prosecutor v. Lubanga): A Comprehensive Analysis of the Legal Issues

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On 14 March 2012, Trial Chamber I (hereinafter ‘the Chamber’) of the International Criminal Court (‘ICC’ or ‘the Court’) delivered the long awaited first judgment of the Court (‘the judgment’). This comment focuses exclusively on the legal issues dealt with in the judgment but pretends to do this comprehensively. It critically analyses the following five subject matters with the respective legal issues: definition and participation of victims; presentation and evaluation of evidence; nature of the armed conflict; war crime of recruitment and use of children under fifteen years (Article 8(2)(e)(vii) ICC Statute); and, last but not least, co-perpetration as the relevant mode of responsibility, including the mental element (Articles 25, 30). While this article follows the order of the judgment for the reader’s convenience and to better represent the judgment’s argumentative sequence, the length and depth of the inquiry into each subject matter and the respective issues depend on their importance for the future case law of the Court and the persuasiveness of the Chamber’s own treatment of the issue. The article concludes with some general remarks on aspects of drafting, presentation and referencing.

Affiliations: 1: Professor of Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Comparative Law and International Criminal Law, Georg-August Universität Göttingen; Göttingen, Germany


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