The plea of superior orders in the Hong Kong trials
Bing Bing Jia
Hong Kong's war crimes trials
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2013
The plea of superior orders, though well-known to present deay international law, may not, as yet, be free of the controversy that has existed since the begining of its life as a feature of international criminal law. The point of dispute lies in its categorization either as a mitigating factor in sentencing or as a defence excluding criminal responsibility. In a sense, the two differing functions of the plea can both stake a claim to reflect customary law, as chiefly derived from the post-WWII military trials. It is however clear from the discussion of the present chapter, that the law at the time of the Hong Kong trials admitted of only one version of it, even though various tribunals had ventured to suggest alternatives in the light of the factual circumstances of the cases before them.