Modes of Liability for International Crimes

Started in January 2015

The most senior political and military figures in any given context are almost invariably not the people ‘pulling the trigger’. Indeed, today, many of the greatest debates and controversies in international criminal law (ICL) concern forms of responsibility for international crimes other than direct commission.

An Inconsistent Jurisprudence

Jurisprudence in the various 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.

Clarifying the Conditions of Accountability for International Crimes

This project therefore intends to clarify the conditions of accountability for international crimes by providing a detailed assessment of the customary international law status of, in particular, the actus reus and mens rea elements of modes of liability: planning, instigating, conspiracy, direct and indirect perpetration, co-perpetration, the three forms of joint criminal enterprise, the doctrine of common purpose under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), command responsibility and aiding and abetting.

Having started in 2015, the project will be completed at the end of 2016 and its findings published in a book. This will constitute an essential reference for national courts and international tribunals, as well as ministries of justice and foreign affairs, international organizations, fact-finding missions and commissions of inquiry, United Nations human rights treaty bodies and special procedures, judges and academics.

The research is directed by Professor Robert Roth and coordinated by Jérôme de Hemptinne and involves the active participation of several leading experts in the field of ICL as well as young scholars from universities, the ICC and other international tribunals who have acquired extensive experience in this area.

RESEARCHER

Picture of Jérôme de Hemptinne

Jérôme de Hemptinne

Lecturer at the Universities of Louvain, Strasbourg and Lille

Jérôme de Hemptinne's research focuses on modes of liability for international crimes, the qualification of armed conflicts and institutional aspects of international criminal courts and tribunals.

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Democratic Republic of the Congo, Walikale, people walk on a street during th 2011 presidential elections. Event

Human Rights and Sustainable Development Goals

September 2018, 18:30-20:00

This public conference provides an opportunity to discuss the contributions of UN human rights mechanisms to the monitoring of the SDGs that seek to realize ESCR and their collaboration with the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.&am

Read more

Elisabeth Decrey Warner in discussion with representatives of armed non-state actors Event

Utility and Limits of International Law for Protecting Persons Affected by Armed Conflict

September 2018, 18:00-20:00

In this opening lecture of the academic year, Elisabeth Decrey Warner will share her experience, as Co-Founder and Former Executive President of Geneva Call, of promoting respect of international humanitarian law by armed non-state actors.

Read more

A wide view of the UN Security Council Short Course

Sanctions in Public International Law

25 January - February 2019

This course provides an introduction to the regime of sanctions under international law and their effectiveness in addressing contemporary forms of conflict. It addresses the questions related to state responsibility, the pacific settlement of international disputes and the role of the International Court of Justice.

Read more

Somalia, explosion of a bomb in the Mogadishu's market place. Short Course

The Classification of Armed Conflicts

29 November - January 2019

This course aims to study, in depth, an emblematic example of the complexity of international humanitarian law and the challenges it raises: the classification of armed conflicts.

Read more

Peru, Ayacucho, Forensic Institut. With the help of the prosecutor's office staff, families try to identify the clothes of their missing relatives. Project

Standards of Proof in Fact Finding

Completed in January 2013

Several ad hoc fact-finding and inquiry commissions have been established to assess some of the most serious situations of human rights and humanitarian law violations across the world. With such mechanisms gaining influence, the question arises of whether a minimum formal standard of proof (or degree of certainty) exists or is required when such bodies adjudicate on such serious matters.

Read more

Screenshot of the RULAC webpage Project

Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts (RULAC)

Started in May 2007

The Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts project (RULAC) is a unique online portal that identifies and classifies all situations of armed violence that amount to an armed conflict under international humanitarian law (IHL). It is primarily a legal reference source for a broad audience, including non-specialists, interested in issues surrounding the classification of armed conflicts under IHL.

Read more