New Book Clarifies the Modes of Liability for International Crimes

Sculpture realized to illustrate thre UDHR Sculpture realized to illustrate thre UDHR

30 September 2019

[Version française ci-dessous]

Modes of liability and criminal responsibility in general, have been vigorously debated in academia and by legal practitioners for decades.

The most senior political and military figures in any given context are almost invariably not the people ‘pulling the trigger’. As such, questions on criminal responsibility are pertinent. Is a business executive complicit for genocide for trading chemicals with a regime suspected of using chemical weapons against civilians? Can a military commander be criminally liable when he or she did not commit crimes but failed to prevent them? To what extent are political leaders criminally liable for crimes committed by those in the lower echelons of government?

‘The sometimes highly technical questions that arise when a court has to determine how and why an accused may or may not be held liable for the crimes on which it has to adjudicate deserve a systematic and comprehensive study by scholars who have a deep knowledge of the legal challenges that arise in this operation’ explains Robert Roth, one of the Co-editors and former Director of the Geneva Academy

Clarifying the Conditions of Accountability for War Crimes, Crimes against Humanity and Genocide

Jurisprudence in the various international criminal law (ICL) tribunals and national courts is inconsistent, both internally and across different tribunals, as illustrated by recent debates surrounding the complex notions of joint criminal enterprise – involving the participation of several individuals in a common criminal plan – or of command responsibility – when a superior is held responsible for international crimes committed by his subordinates and for failing to prevent or punish them. This has left the state of the law unclear, to the detriment of accountability and the ongoing struggle against impunity.

The new book Modes of Liability in International Criminal Law (Cambridge University Press) edited by Jérôme de Hemptinne, Robert Roth and Elies van Sliedregt precisely intends to clarify the conditions of accountability for international crimes.

‘As most domestic jurisdictions are using the same concepts as international tribunals, this book will be extremely useful to prosecutors, judges and attorneys representing accused or victims before national courts’ insists Robert Roth.

‘International criminal law has a crucial role in ensuring the enforcement and credibility of international humanitarian law and human rights, but it can only be effective and fair in practice with clear rules on who is liable for what. We are proud that this book marks an important step towards this important aim’ adds Marco Sassòli, Director of the Geneva Academy.

Under the Auspices of the Geneva Academy

The publication is based on research undertaken under the auspices of the Geneva Academy and was coordinated by Jérôme de Hemptinne (at the time Researcher at the Geneva Academy) and Robert Roth (at the time Director of the Geneva Academy). It is co-edited with Elies van Sliedregt (University of Leeds).

Geneva Academy’ alumni and Former Teaching Assistants, Antonio Coco and Tom Gal, as well as Thomas van Poecke and alumnus of our LLM also contributed to this volume.

Launch Events in The Hague and in Geneva

The book will be launched in the Hague and in Geneva, in the presence of ICL experts and the authors.

 

 

Une étude sur la responsabilité pénale pour crimes internationaux

Comment établir juridiquement la responsabilité du commandant qui néglige gravement de surveiller ses troupes ou de celui qui participe à une « entreprise criminelle » durant un conflit armé sans lui-même agir sur le terrain ? Ces questions traversent toute la jurisprudence rendue par les tribunaux pénaux internationaux depuis les procès de Nuremberg et de Tokyo (1946-1948). Elles préoccupent également les tribunaux nationaux appelés à se prononcer sur des crimes de guerre, des crimes contre l’humanité ou une participation à un génocide sur la base de leurs législations nationales.

Edité par les prestigieuses Cambridge University Press, l’ouvrage collectif Modes of Liability in International Criminal Law propose une analyse systématique et approfondie des divers modes de responsabilité admis et appliqués par les juridictions pénales internationales. Il est le fruit d’une recherche menée pour l’essentiel dans le cadre de l’Académie. Deux des trois éditeurs scientifiques ont un lien avec l’Académie: Robert Roth en a été directeur de 2014 à 2018; outre son activité de chercheur, Jérôme de Hemptinne y enseigne depuis plusieurs années. La troisième éditrice scientifique, Elies van Sliedregt, est professeur à l’Université de Leeds.

L’ouvrage fera l’objet d’une présentation et d’une discussion en présence des trois co-éditeurs scientifiques et de la professeure Poala Gaeta le 29 octobre à 18 h 30 à la Villa Moynier, siège de l’Académie.

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Police officer stands before road blocks News

Experts Discuss the Effectiveness and Legality of Counterterrorism Measures

17 November 2020

Co-organized with the Counter-Terror Pro LegEm Project, the meeting examined the effectiveness of measures to prevent and counter terrorism – closure of places of worship, vague prohibitions of ‘glorification of terrorism’, stop-and-search operations – and their impact on human rights.

Read more

raining session at our regional IHL event in Beirut in December 2018 News

Advanced IHL Training for the Next Generation of International Lawyers in the Middle East and North Africa

1 July 2020

Organized by the ICRC, Diakonia Lebanon Resource Desk for IHL and the Geneva Academy, it aims at empowering the next generation of international lawyers from the region with advanced knowledge of international law applicable in armed conflict

Read more

Close-up of a US Flag patch as a US Army (USA) UH-60A Black Hawk (Blackhawk) helicopter Event

US Department of Defense Structure and Policy-Making: The Strategic and Tactical Levels

25 November 2020, 18:30-20:00

The speaker,  Lt. Col. John Cherry,will focus in particular on how high-level strategic decisions are ‘op erationalized’ at the tactical level.

Read more

Syria,  Aleppo, great Umayyad mosque. Destructions. Short Course

The Interplay between International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

18 February - 12 March 2021

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, focuses on the specific issues that arise in times of armed conflict regarding the respect, protection and fulfilment of human rights. It addresses key issues like the applicability of human rights in times of armed conflict; the possibilities of restricting human rights under systems of limitations and derogations; and the extraterritorial application of human rights law.

Read more

Ntaganda case: Closing statements.  The closing statements in the case of The Prosecutor v. Bosco Ntaganda at the International Criminal Court (ICC) started on 28 August 2018 before Trial Chamber VI at the seat of the Court in The Hague (Netherlands). Short Course

Accountability for Atrocity Crimes

20 May - 4 June 2021

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, provides participants with a solid understanding of the existing pluralistic system of international accountability for international crimes and of its main challenges.

Read more

Putis, Peru. The clothes of missing child found in a mass grave close to the village at the exhibition organized for the relatives of victimes. The family will be able to identify their missing relatives. Project

INVESTIGATING IN SITUATIONS OF ARMED CONFLICT: Law, Policy and Good Practice

Completed in January 2014

This project, initiated in 2014 by the Swiss Chair of International Humanitarian Law, Professor Noam Lubell, intends to identify, via expert meetings and research, a set of best practices that states should apply when they investigate or examine alleged violations or misconduct in situations of armed conflict.

Read more

Computer screen with warning: civilian infrastucture: do not attack Project

Digitalization of Conflict Joint Initiative: Humanitarian Impact and Legal Protection

Started in September 2020

This project will explore humanitarian consequences and protection needs caused by the digitalization of armed conflicts and the extent to which these needs are addressed by international law, especially international humanitarian law.

Read more

Cover page of the Briefing Publication

Room for Manoeuvre? Promoting International Humanitarian Law and Accountability While at the United Nations Security Council: A Reflection on the Role of Elected Members

published on October 2020

Émilie Max

Read more

Cover page of the Annual Report 2019 Publication

Annual Report 2019

published on May 2020

Read more