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A Perspective on the Rome Statute’s Defence of Duress: The Role of Imminence

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image of International Criminal Law Review

The concept of duress encapsulated in Article 31(1)(d) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court is a novel inclusion in a statute created to allow prosecution of serious crimes against the person in international criminal law. Despite being the topic of much debate, the present state of the discourse remains at a fairly superficial level: existing studies focus on a general analysis of the defence and its conditions. This has included the way in which the defences merges necessity and duress, with only a few authors examining the conditions of ‘proportionality’ and ‘necessity’. This study looks at an underexplored part of the defence: the condition of imminence. The purpose of this work is to explore the idea of imminence and to review whether a clearer definition of duress could have been used, replacing the idea of imminence with the concept of the individual selecting the lesser evil.

Affiliations: 1: Lecturer in Law, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, UK,


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