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Do Not Tell Me Soldier… A review of the requirement for knowledge in the Command Responsibility doctrine

Adolfsson, Jakob LU (2012) JURM02 20121
Department of Law
Abstract
Command responsibility is a mode of criminal responsibility that developed mostly during the 20th century and provides the opportunity to charge military commanders and other superiors for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by their subordinates by proving three criteria. To begin with, the commander must have exercised effective control over the subordinate, moreover the commander must have had a degree of knowledge about the crime being committed and lastly he or she must have failed to prevent and /or punish the crime.

The knowledge criterion provides that a commander can be charged with actual or imputed knowledge of a crime that is about to be or has been committed. Within international criminal law there are two... (More)
Command responsibility is a mode of criminal responsibility that developed mostly during the 20th century and provides the opportunity to charge military commanders and other superiors for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by their subordinates by proving three criteria. To begin with, the commander must have exercised effective control over the subordinate, moreover the commander must have had a degree of knowledge about the crime being committed and lastly he or she must have failed to prevent and /or punish the crime.

The knowledge criterion provides that a commander can be charged with actual or imputed knowledge of a crime that is about to be or has been committed. Within international criminal law there are two different interpretations of imputed knowledge. The International Criminal Tribunals of Rwanda and former Yugoslavia stands behind the so called had reason to know standard and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal stands behind a should have known standard.

The main dilemma of imputed knowledge is to provide a standard that is efficient in that it can be used to charge those commanders who can be considered at fault for not discharging their duty to supervise and control their subordinates diligent enough, without violating any of the basic legal principles designed to protect individuals from excessive criminalization.

This thesis sets out to analyze imputed knowledge to find if either of the two standards provides a balanced solution, being efficient without transgressing the border into excessive criminalization.

To reach a conclusion, the development and purpose of command responsibility has been investigated as well as the obligations of a commander to wield responsible command as provided for by international humanitarian law. Furthermore, case law from foremost The International Criminal Tribunals of Rwanda and former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal provides an in-depth analysis of the knowledge criterion. Finally, argumentation that supports either the need for more efficiency or less to promote the adherence to legal principles has been put forth. By presenting a comprehensive base of facts I have been able to find the should have known standard to represent a more balanced solution than the had reason to know standard however the deficiencies of this standard has been addressed as well and suggestions to improve the balance has been given. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Förmannaansvar (command responsibility) är en form av straffansvar som utvecklats till största delen under 1900-talet och ger möjlighet att åtala militära befälhavare och andra överordnade för krigsbrott samt brott mot mänskligheten genom att bevisa tre rekvisit. Inledningsvis måste befälhavaren ha effektiv kontroll över den underordnade som begått brottet. Vidare krävs att befälhavaren innehar en viss grad av vetskap om att brottet begåtts eller håller på att begås och slutligen krävs att befälhavaren misslyckas med att förebygga brottet eller straffa förövaren.

Vetskapsrekvisitet innebär att en befälhavare, för att kunna bli åtalad, antingen måste haft faktisk vetskap om att brottet begåtts eller att det var på väg att begås,... (More)
Förmannaansvar (command responsibility) är en form av straffansvar som utvecklats till största delen under 1900-talet och ger möjlighet att åtala militära befälhavare och andra överordnade för krigsbrott samt brott mot mänskligheten genom att bevisa tre rekvisit. Inledningsvis måste befälhavaren ha effektiv kontroll över den underordnade som begått brottet. Vidare krävs att befälhavaren innehar en viss grad av vetskap om att brottet begåtts eller håller på att begås och slutligen krävs att befälhavaren misslyckas med att förebygga brottet eller straffa förövaren.

Vetskapsrekvisitet innebär att en befälhavare, för att kunna bli åtalad, antingen måste haft faktisk vetskap om att brottet begåtts eller att det var på väg att begås, alternativt att han eller hon borde ha vetat om det eller hade anledning att anta att det begicks (tilldelad vetskap – imputed knowledge). Inom den internationella straffrätten finns två tolkningar av tilldelad vetskap. Den standard som beskrivs genom att befälhavaren antas ha haft anledning att anta att brottet begicks står de Internationella Krisförbrytartribunalerna för det forna Jugoslavien och Rwanda för medan den Internationella Brottsmålsdomstolen i Haag och Romstadgan propagerar för en standard där befälhavaren blir ansvarig om han eller hon borde ha vetat om brottet.

Det stora dilemmat med tilldelad vetskap är att hitta en standard som är tillräckligt effektiv så att det blir möjligt att åtala de befälhavare som kan sägas vara skyldiga genom att de försummat sin skyldighet att övervaka och kontrollera sina underordnade utan att kränka grundläggande juridiska principer som är designade för att skydda individer från överdrivet långtgående kriminaliseringar.

Det här examensarbetet är tänkt att analysera den tilldelade vetskapen för att finna om någon av de två standarderna som nämnts presenterar en balanserad lösning genom att vara effektiv utan att skapa en för långtgående kriminalisering.

För att nå fram till en slutsats så har utvecklingen och syftet med förmannaansvar undersökts och likaså de förpliktelser som en befälhavare har att utöva ett ansvarigt ledarskap såsom internationell humanitär rätt ger. Vidare så har rättsfall från, mestadels, de Internationella Krisförbrytartribunalerna för det forna Jugoslavien och Rwanda samt Internationella Brottsmålsdomstolen använts för en djuplodande analys av vetskapsrekvisitet. Slutligen så har argumentation för att den tilldelade vetskapen behöver bli mer effektiv eller mindre för att vara i linje med juridiska principer lagts fram. Genom att gå igenom en sådan omfattande faktabas har det varit möjligt att komma till slutsatsen att en standard baserad på vad en befälhavare borde ha vetat representerar en mer balanserad lösning än vad en standard baserad på vad en befälhavare hade anledning att anta gör. Dock så har även en ”borde ha vetat” standard brister som har adresserats och förslag på förbättringar som skapar en mer balanserad lösning har getts. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Adolfsson, Jakob LU
supervisor
organization
course
JURM02 20121
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Criminal law, international criminal law, command responsibility
language
English
id
3049506
date added to LUP
2012-11-01 09:57:53
date last changed
2012-11-01 09:57:53
@misc{3049506,
  abstract     = {Command responsibility is a mode of criminal responsibility that developed mostly during the 20th century and provides the opportunity to charge military commanders and other superiors for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by their subordinates by proving three criteria. To begin with, the commander must have exercised effective control over the subordinate, moreover the commander must have had a degree of knowledge about the crime being committed and lastly he or she must have failed to prevent and /or punish the crime. 

The knowledge criterion provides that a commander can be charged with actual or imputed knowledge of a crime that is about to be or has been committed. Within international criminal law there are two different interpretations of imputed knowledge. The International Criminal Tribunals of Rwanda and former Yugoslavia stands behind the so called had reason to know standard and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal stands behind a should have known standard.

The main dilemma of imputed knowledge is to provide a standard that is efficient in that it can be used to charge those commanders who can be considered at fault for not discharging their duty to supervise and control their subordinates diligent enough, without violating any of the basic legal principles designed to protect individuals from excessive criminalization. 

This thesis sets out to analyze imputed knowledge to find if either of the two standards provides a balanced solution, being efficient without transgressing the border into excessive criminalization.

To reach a conclusion, the development and purpose of command responsibility has been investigated as well as the obligations of a commander to wield responsible command as provided for by international humanitarian law. Furthermore, case law from foremost The International Criminal Tribunals of Rwanda and former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal provides an in-depth analysis of the knowledge criterion. Finally, argumentation that supports either the need for more efficiency or less to promote the adherence to legal principles has been put forth. By presenting a comprehensive base of facts I have been able to find the should have known standard to represent a more balanced solution than the had reason to know standard however the deficiencies of this standard has been addressed as well and suggestions to improve the balance has been given.},
  author       = {Adolfsson, Jakob},
  keyword      = {Criminal law,international criminal law,command responsibility},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Do Not Tell Me Soldier… A review of the requirement for knowledge in the Command Responsibility doctrine},
  year         = {2012},
}