Principles of direct and superior responsibility in international humanitarian law

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Ilias Bantekas
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This book examines the historical evolution of international humanitarian law, in particular the legal and political bases for the penalisation of infractions associated with this body of law. The interaction of law, politics and financial considerations have proved detrimental for staging criminal prosecutions, even to this day, but ultimately have not negated the criminal liability of perpetrators. The book explores the various forms of direct participation in humanitarian law offences and the concept of the doctrine of superior responsibility. It stipulates the liability of those persons who, being in a position of authority, fail to prevent or punish crimes committed by their subordinates. The book deals with the elaboration of a legal theoretical model, defined as the 'duty to control', which attempts to address the gap identified in the relevant law of causation. It traces the evolution of humanitarian law in the context of non-international armed conflicts, with the aim of determining the application of humanitarian and criminal norms therein. Although for the purposes of humanitarian law the distinction between non-international and international conflicts is becoming less significant, people must still be aware of the mechanism known as 'conflict classification'. The world's major powers, with the exception of the UK, have expressly or implicitly widened their judicial jurisdiction by penalising extraterritorial breaches committed in internal armed conflicts. The book focuses on the legislative and judicial efforts of developed nations, mainly from Europe and North America. For these countries, the suppression of extraterritorial crime is not of imminent importance.

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