Prosecuting international crimes : a multidisciplinary approach
Leiden ; Boston : Brill Nijhoff, 2016
It is debatable if civilians account for the majority of victims of armed conflicts nowadays. However, contemporary practice of international criminal tribunals clearly proves that the attention of prosecutors is focused on crimes against civilians. The first part of this article discusses the criminalization of crimes against civilians in international law. It demonstrates that in fact all core crimes, at least nowadays, have as their purpose the protection of civilians against atrocities. The second part focuses on the difficulties with the identification of civilians as victims of war crimes and problems with attribution of criminal responsibility for attacks directed at civilians. The author argues that these problems are caused by a lack of uniform understanding of basic rules of international humanitarian law. The third part describes the key problems related to the procedural law, which have tremendous impact on the possibility of proving guilt beyond reasonable doubt, which in turn is perceived as a necessary condition of a fair trial.