The Law of Command Responsibility

Hardcover | April 19, 2009

byGuenael Mettraux

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This book offers a unique study of the law of command or superior responsibility under international law. Born in the aftermath of the Second World War, the doctrine of superior responsibility provides that a military commander, a civilian leader, or the leader of a terrorist, paramilitary, orrebel group could be held criminally responsible in relation to crimes committed by subordinates even where he has taken no direct or personal part in the commission of these crimes. The basis of this type of liability lies in a grave and culpable failure on the part of the superior to fulfil hisduties to prevent or punish crimes of subordinates. The idea that a superior could be held criminally responsible in relation to crimes of subordinates is central to the ability of international law to ensure compliance with standards of humanitarian law, and it remains a most important legal instrument in the fight against impunity. Though it firstdeveloped in the international arena, the doctrine of superior responsibility has now spread into many domestic jurisdictions, thus offering judicial and prosecutorial authorities a ready-made instrument to hold to account the leaders of men who knew of the crimes of their subordinates but failed toadequately respond to prevent or punish those crimes. This volume provides a comprehensive and insightful dissection of the doctrine of superior responsibility and the scope of its application, as well as the evidential difficulties involved in establishing the criminal responsibility of a superior in the context of a criminal prosecution.

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This book offers a unique study of the law of command or superior responsibility under international law. Born in the aftermath of the Second World War, the doctrine of superior responsibility provides that a military commander, a civilian leader, or the leader of a terrorist, paramilitary, orrebel group could be held criminally respon...

Guenael Mettraux is a former legal assistant in the Chambers of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia ('ICTY'). He has appeared as counsel before the ICTY on behalf of General Sefer Halilovic, first commander of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Ljube Boskoski, former Minister of Interior of the Republic ...

other books by Guenael Mettraux

Format:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.93 inPublished:April 19, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199559325

ISBN - 13:9780199559329

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Table of Contents

Part I: Introduction1. The Evolution of the Law of Command Responsibility and the Principle of Legality2. The Resurgence of International Criminal Justice and the Rebirth of Command Responsibility3. Command Responsibility under Customary International Law and the Statute of the International Criminal CourtPart II: Nature and Scope of Application of the Doctrine of Command Responsibility4. Command Responsibility as a Sui Generis form of Liability for Omission5. Scope of Application of the Doctrine of Command Responsibility-International and Internal Conflicts as well as Peacetime?6. Military Commanders, Civilian leaders, and Other Superiors, wthether De Jure or De FactoPart III: Elements of Command Responsibility and Underlying Offences7. General Remarks8. Underlying Offences9. A Superior-Subordinate Relationship between the Accused and Those Who Committed the Underlying Offences10. A Culpable State of Mind11. Breach of a Duty and Consequential Failure to Prevent or to Punish Crimes of SubordinatesPart IV: Conclusion12. Concluding Remarks: A Workable Standard of Liability for SuperiorsAnnex: Relevant Provisions+BibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"There is no shortage of articles on various aspects of the doctrine known as 'command responsibility', but Dr Mettraux's work fills a significant void in synthesising the principle arguments of the leading publicists in the area and adding thereto his own unique perspective, gained not onlyfrom thorough academic study and research, but from practical experience derived from various cases before the ICTY. The work is lively, easy to read and commendably devoid of unnecessary 'legalese'. Cogent, exceptionally well researched and forward looking, it is set to become the leading work oncommand responsibility. It constitutes an indispensible resource to practioners, academics, judges and students alike." Karim A. A. Khan, Barrister 2008