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System Criminality in International Law


  • Page extent: 400 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.75 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521763561)

International crimes, such as crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes, are committed by individuals. However, individuals rarely commit such crimes for their own profit. Instead, such crimes are often caused by collective entities. Notable examples include the 'dirty war' in Argentina in the 1970s and 1980s, the atrocities committed during the Balkan Wars in the early 1990s and the crimes committed during the ongoing armed conflicts in the Darfur area in Sudan. Referring to Darfur, the Prosecutor of the ICC noted in 2008 that, although he had indicted a few individuals, 'the information gathered points to an ongoing pattern of crimes committed with the mobilisation of the whole state apparatus'. This book reviews the main legal avenues that are available within the international legal order to address the increasingly important problem of system criminality and identifies possible improvements.

• Discussion of the social processes through which collective entities induce or contribute to international crimes allows readers to understand their causes and in what ways these may be influenced by international law • In-depth discussion of separate forms of both individual and collective international responsibility allows readers to understand their potential contribution • Assessments of the state of the law and the prospects for strengthening it in relation to system criminality provide the reader with a comprehensive overview of the different forms of international responsibility


1. Introduction A. Nollkaemper; 2. The policy context of international crimes H. C. Kelman; 3. Why organizations kill – and get away with it: the failure of law to cope with crime in organizations M. Punch; 4. Men and abstract entities: individual responsibility and collective guilt in international criminal law G. Simpson; 5. A historical perspective: from collective to individual responsibility and back A. Gattini; 6. Command responsibility and organisationsherrschaft: ways of attributing international crimes to the 'most responsible' K. Ambos; 7. Joint criminal enterprise and functional perpetration H. van der Wilt; 8. System criminality at the ICTY E. van Sliedrecht; 9. Criminality of organisations under international law N. Jørgensen; 10. Criminality of organisations: lessons from domestic law – a comparative perspective A. Eser; 11. The collective accountability of organized armed groups for system crimes J. Kleffner; 12. Assumptions and presuppositions: state responsibility for system crimes I. Scobbie; 13. State responsibility for international crimes A. Zimmermann and M. Teichmann; 14. Responses of political organs to crimes by states N. White; 15. Conclusions and outlook A. Nollkaemper and H. van der Wilt.


A. Nollkaemper, H. C. Kelman, M. Punch, G. Simpson, A. Gattini, K. Ambos, H. van der Wilt, E. van Sliedrecht, N. Jørgensen, A. Eser, J. Kleffner, I. Scobbie, A. Zimmermann, M. Teichmann, N. White

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