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International criminal responsibility for abuse of power?

Hildering, Antoinette; (2007) International criminal responsibility for abuse of power? [Letter]. ISYP Journal on Science and World Affairs , 3 (1) pp. 15-28. Gold open access


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This article surveys the possible application of International Criminal Law to address abuse of power. It thereby aims to stimulate discussion on criminal responsibility for abuse of power. Military commanders and civilian superiors, including politicians, can under conditions be held liable for abusing their power position in relation to the commitment of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. War crimes require a state of conflict, while crimes against humanity and genocide can take place in both times of peace and war. Criminal forms of participation include committing and ordering such crimes. The abuse of a position of authority can be an aggravating factor in the sentencing. Even if the superior did not get involved in the crime directly, command responsibility can be established if the superior did not prevent his or her subordinates from committing the crime. It can also be established if the superior did not punish these subordinates for committing the crime. Criteria include that the commander or superior had effective control over his or her subordinates, whether on a legal basis or in fact, and knew or had reason to know that they were committing or about to commit such crimes. Therefore, people who abuse their position to, for example, cause or maintain a conflict situation at the cost of the human security of population groups, could find themselves accused of having committed international crimes.

Type: Article
Title: International criminal responsibility for abuse of power?
Open access status: An open access publication
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > STEaPP
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1540397
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