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The Modes of Liability at the icc: The Labels that Don’t Always Stick

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image of International Criminal Law Review

The provision in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (icc) on individual criminal responsibility can be considered sufficiently elaborated. The level of detail of Article 25(3) does not, however, prevent heated debates on its practical application. The Court initially leaned towards the expanded notion of “commission”, interpreted to cover instances where persons do not physically perpetrate the crime but enjoy certain degree of control over it. Underlying this trend was the premise that “commission” denotes a higher degree of blameworthiness, and is therefore more appropriate to describe involvement in mass atrocities. In contrast, the Katanga trial judgement, issued in March last year, undermined the conception of perpetration as a superior form of responsibility in international criminal law. Which position will prevail in a long run? The article explores the two convictions rendered by the Court to date and argues that the answer to this question is still unclear.

Affiliations: 1: Post-doc, Faculty of Law, iCourts, Centre for Excellence for International Courts, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Demark


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