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.

TEAM

Picture of Robert Roth

Robert Roth

Director of the Geneva Academy and Professor of International Criminal Law at the University of Geneva

Robert Roth is a leading expert on international criminal justice and international criminal law, as well as human rights, and has published extensively on these issues.

Picture of Jérôme de Hemptinne

Jérôme de Hemptinne

Lecturer at the Universities of Louvain, Strasbourg and Lille, and Researcher at the Geneva Academy

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

Cover page of the book The 1949 Geneva Conventions: A Commentary News

‘The 1949 Geneva Conventions: A Commentary’ receives the American Society of International Law 2017 Certificate of Merit

February 2017

We are pleased to announce that the American Society of International Law has awarded their 2017 Certificate of Merit for ‘High Technical Craftsmanship and Utility to Practicing Lawyers and Scholars’ to the book The 1949 Geneva Conventions: A Commentary, edited by Professors Andrew Clapham, Paola Gaeta, and Marco Sassòli.

Read more

Firouzeh Mitchell, student in the Geneva Academy's Master in Transitional Justice, in front of the Jet d'Eau News

Master in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law: What our Students Say

January 2017

In this interview, Firouzeh Mitchell, currently enrolled in the Master in Transitional Justice, tells us about the programme and life in Geneva.

Read more

Commemoration on the day of disappeared Spring School

Transitional Justice Spring School: Transitional Justice, Memory and Culture

3- April 2017

The Transitional Justice Spring School 2017 aims to address the roles of memory and culture in transitional justice processes through an interdisciplinary, comprehensively structured high-quality one-week programme.

Read more

Drawing of soldiers on a wall Short Course

Human Rights, the Rule of Law and Institutional Reform: An Introduction

30 March - May 2017

This course explores the international dimension of the rule of law and its promotion in transitional contexts, focusing on institutional reform and guarantees of non-recurrence.

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

Bethlehem, Bittar Illit settlement. Detail of the West Bank Barrier Project

The Law of Military Occupation

Completed in January 2004

This research project looked at the protection of civilian populations subject to the control of a foreign army by analyzing the link between the international law of military occupation and human rights.

Read more