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Chapter

Antonio Cassese, Paola Gaeta, Laurel Baig, Mary Fan, Christopher Gosnell, and Alex Whiting

This chapter discusses the relation between international law and criminal jurisdiction by states and examines the main heads of jurisdiction applied by states. It then analyzes the content of the relevant international rules dealing with domestic criminal jurisdiction for the repression of international crimes.

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Antonio Cassese, Paola Gaeta, Laurel Baig, Mary Fan, Christopher Gosnell, and Alex Whiting

Terrorism, as in the case of torture and aggression, is often treated as outside the ‘core crimes’ bracket of deserving international criminal adjudication. Many states believe that terrorism is better investigated and prosecuted at the state level by individual or joint enforcement and judicial action. This view is strengthened by the feeling that the concept of terrorism is still controversial at the international level because it is widely held that there is no agreement yet on what some states deem to be a necessary exception to the crime. This chapter examines the reasons why the traditional wisdom is that a generally agreed definition on terrorism as an international crime is lacking. It argues instead that many factors point to the existence of such agreed definition, at least for terrorism in time of peace. The legal ingredients of terrorism as an international crime are therefore analyzed.

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This chapter first discusses the overlaps between human rights and international criminal law, focusing on four international crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and aggression. It then considers prosecutions and non-prosecutorial options, concluding with an analysis of the pros and cons of using international criminal law to protect human rights.

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This chapter first discusses the overlaps between human rights and international criminal law, focusing on four international crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and aggression. It then considers prosecutions and non-prosecutorial options, concluding with an analysis of the pros and cons of using international criminal law to protect human rights.

Chapter

Antonio Cassese, Paola Gaeta, Laurel Baig, Mary Fan, Christopher Gosnell, and Alex Whiting

This chapter discusses two classes of international crimes — torture and aggression — that have repeatedly drawn international attention and condemnation but have not been adjudicated as stand-alone crimes. It begins by considering the different reasons for the treatment — in practice, if not always in theory — of these two crimes as outside the ‘core crimes’ involving the most heinous offences: war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. This is followed by discussions of torture as a discrete crime; torture as a war crime and a crime against humanity; the emergence of the notion of the crime of aggression and its falling into lethargy; the elements of the crime of aggression; the need to disentangle criminal liability of individuals from state responsibility; and whether conspiracy to wage aggression is criminalized.

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This chapter examines the material and mental aspects of four offences that are directly criminalized by international law: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and aggression. The discussions also cover some of the general principles of liability and defences that are of particular relevance to international crimes. Firstly, joint criminal enterprise, co-perpetration, command responsibility, and the defence of obedience to superior orders are considered. The chapter then looks at international and national prosecution of international crimes, including the Nuremberg and Tokyo Trials, the International Criminal Tribunals for former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and the International Criminal Court. As prosecution is not the only, or predominant, response to international crimes, the chapter concludes with a discussion of alternatives and complements to prosecution, such as amnesties, and truth and reconciliation commissions.

Chapter

Antonio Cassese, Paola Gaeta, Laurel Baig, Mary Fan, Christopher Gosnell, and Alex Whiting

The term ‘genocide’ refers to the intention to destroy entire groups, whether national, racial, religious, cultural, and so on. Genocide acquired autonomous significance as a specific crime in 1948, when the UN General Assembly adopted the Genocide Convention, whose substantive rules may largely be considered as declaratory of customary international law. This chapter analyzes the main features of the Genocide Convention and examines the legal ingredients of the crime of genocide, as also clarified in international and national case law. It discusses developments in the case law on genocide; objective and subjective elements of genocide; protected groups; two problematic aspects of genocide; genocide and crimes against humanity; and Article 6 of the International Criminal Court Statute and customary international law.

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This chapter addresses one of the more contentious issues in international criminal law: the extent to which a defendant should be able to plead that there are circumstances excusing or justifying what will invariably be appalling crimes. It first notes that while the distinction between justifications and excuses is known in a number of national legal systems, it is of no direct relevance to international criminal law. It then discusses the following defences before international criminal tribunals: mental incapacity, intoxication, self-defence, duress and necessity, mistake of fact and law, and superior orders. It also considers two defences which arise under the law of war crimes: reprisals and ‘tu quoque’, and military necessity.

Chapter

Paola Gaeta, Jorge E. Viñuales, and Salvatore Zappalà

This chapter begins with an overview of international crimes, namely, offences entailing the personal criminal liability of the individuals concerned (as opposed to the responsibility of the State) under international law. International crimes include war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, torture, aggression, and terrorism. The discussion then turns to the prosecution and punishment by State courts, focusing on the grounds of criminal jurisdiction and in particular universal criminal jurisdiction. It ends with an overview of the prosecution and punishment by international criminal courts and tribunals, with an emphasis on the International Criminal Court, and with an assessment of the main problems besetting international criminal proceedings.

Chapter

Antonio Cassese, Paola Gaeta, Laurel Baig, Mary Fan, Christopher Gosnell, and Alex Whiting

International criminal law (ICL) is a body of international rules designed both to proscribe certain categories of conduct (war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, torture, aggression, international terrorism) and to make those persons who engage in such conduct criminally liable. These rules consequently either authorize states, or impose upon them the obligation to prosecute and punish such criminal conducts. This chapter discusses the main features of ICL; the sources of ICL; and the notion of international crimes.

Chapter

Antonio Cassese, Paola Gaeta, Laurel Baig, Mary Fan, Christopher Gosnell, and Alex Whiting

This chapter begins with a discussion of the notion of war crimes. It then covers the criminalization of the serious violation of a rule of international humanitarian law; the objective and subjective elements of war crimes; the nexus with armed conflict; and war crimes in the International Criminal Court Statute.

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This chapter examines the immunities enjoyed by various categories of officials of States and international organizations. It identifies jurisdictional immunity as one of the key legal techniques by which diplomatic relations and, more broadly, international relations and cooperation can be maintained. It recognises that recent developments in international law have increasingly required that immunities be scrutinised and justified, particularly where they impact on individual rights. Among the most striking of such challenges to immunities are those that have arisen in relation to measures which seek to bring an end to the impunity of persons who commit the most serious international crimes, including measures such as the development of extraterritorial jurisdiction and the establishment of international criminal tribunals. A range of judicial decisions is reviewed in order to determine how international law has attempted to reconcile such conflicting priorities in this respect.

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This chapter looks at the purposes and principles of international criminal law. International criminal law seeks to ensure that perpetrators of certain heinous acts are criminally liable for their acts, either before national or international criminal courts or tribunals. It is a fairly recent addition to international law and it was not until after the end of the Second World War that it became accepted that international law authorizes the criminal prosecution of individual perpetrators of serious offences. The chapter begins by discussing the most important sources of international criminal law. It then examines the prosecution of international crimes before international criminal courts, including the conditions for prosecuting suspected international criminals before the International Criminal Court. It also discusses the national prosecution of international crimes and the obligation found in a number of conventions to criminalize and prosecute certain conduct.

Chapter

This chapter looks at the purposes and principles of international criminal law. International criminal law seeks to ensure that perpetrators of certain heinous acts are criminally liable for their acts, either before national or international criminal courts or tribunals. It is a fairly recent addition to international law and it was not until after the end of the Second World War that it became accepted that international law authorizes the criminal prosecution of individual perpetrators of serious offences. The chapter begins by discussing the most important sources of international criminal law. It then examines the prosecution of international crimes before international criminal courts, including the conditions for prosecuting suspected international criminals before the International Criminal Court. It also discusses the national prosecution of international crimes and the obligation found in a number of conventions to criminalize and prosecute certain conduct.

Chapter

3. The prosecution of international crimes:  

The role of international and national courts and tribunals

This chapter offers a brief historical introduction to the rise of individual accountability for international crimes. It first outlines the history of war crimes prosecutions prior to the Nuremberg Trials. It then introduces the origins of the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal (IMT), the conduct of the trial of the major war criminals, the legal controversies involved, and other post World War II proceedings. The remainder of the chapter provides an overview of national prosecutions after 1945 and the complexities involved in drafting national legislation allowing such prosecutions; examines the ‘rebirth’ of international criminal tribunals in the 1990s and early 2000s; and steps back to briefly survey the question of what international criminal law is for or what goals it is intended to serve.

Chapter

Antonio Cassese, Paola Gaeta, Laurel Baig, Mary Fan, Christopher Gosnell, and Alex Whiting

This chapter begins with discussions of the Nuremberg Charter and subsequent developments in international law. It then covers the notion of crimes against humanity today; objective and subjective elements; the authors and victims of crime; and Article 7 of the International Criminal Court Statute and customary international law.

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This chapter addresses the prosecution of crimes in international criminal courts according to international—not national—criminal law. International law has long recognised that certain conduct, for example piracy and slavery, are crimes against international law which may be tried by international bodies or by any State. This principle has been expanded to cover more substantive crimes. International mechanisms for criminal accountability may be established where national courts have failed or are unable to try offenders due to a lack of political will, insufficient resources, deficiencies in national law, and/or ongoing conflict. The establishment and jurisdiction of the existing international criminal tribunals, including the International Criminal Court, are considered.

Chapter

Antonio Cassese, Paola Gaeta, Laurel Baig, Mary Fan, Christopher Gosnell, and Alex Whiting

This chapter discusses the main models that have been established to regulate issues of concurrent jurisdiction of international and national criminal courts over certain international crimes. It compares the Nuremberg scheme and the International Criminal Court (ICC) scheme. It considers the primacy of international criminal courts with respect to national jurisdictions, and the complementarity of the ICC. It also discusses the main models of states’ judicial cooperation with international criminal courts adopted so far.

Chapter

This chapter describes international criminal law. International criminal law represented a fundamental shift for international law. Historically, international law regarded accountability and responsibility almost purely through the lens of the State and contained neither substantive rules nor the requisite institutions to prosecute an individual. Today, there exist several institutions, most prominently the International Criminal Court (ICC), which have given shape both to the substance of the crimes themselves and to the method for their effective prosecution. Through international criminal law, the criminal responsibility and liability of individuals, even if acting in groups, are now addressed internationally. There is a category of indisputable ‘core crimes’ under customary international law: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and aggression. These are helpfully defined in an ICC document called the ‘Elements of Crimes’, which is intended to guide the Court in the interpretation and application of these crimes.

Chapter

This chapter describes international criminal law. International criminal law represented a fundamental shift for international law. Historically, international law regarded accountability and responsibility almost purely through the lens of the State and contained neither substantive rules nor the requisite institutions to prosecute an individual. Today, there exist several institutions, most prominently the International Criminal Court (ICC), which have given shape both to the substance of the crimes themselves and to the method for their effective prosecution. Through international criminal law, the criminal responsibility and liability of individuals, even if acting in groups, are now addressed internationally. There is a category of indisputable ‘core crimes’ under customary international law: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and aggression. These are helpfully defined in an ICC document called the ‘Elements of Crimes’, which is intended to guide the Court in the interpretation and application of these crimes.