Erosion of the rule of law as a basis for command responsibility under international humanitarian law
Amy H. McCarthy
Host item entries:
Chicago journal of international law, Vol. 18, no. 2, 2018, p. 553-593
Many examples of modern war crimes exhibit a strong link between the institutional breakdown of the rule of law and subsequent commission of humanitarian abuses by service members. Unchecked misconduct, specifically including dehumanizing acts, tends to foster a climate where war crimes are likely to occur. Does the law adequately account for this common thread? This article examines the doctrine of command responsibility in the context of a superior’s failure to maintain discipline among troops, and resulting criminal culpability for violations of the law of armed conflict. While customary international law, as applied by modern ad hoc tribunals, contemplates a wide range of misconduct that may trigger a commander’s affirmative duty to prevent future abuses by subordinates, U.S. law does not. This article examines the contours of the command responsibility doctrine as it relates to this duty to prevent, and assesses its efficacy in averting humanitarian atrocities.
By entering this website, you consent to the use of technologies, such as cookies and analytics, to customise content, advertising and provide social media features. This will be used to analyse traffic to the website, allowing us to understand visitor preferences and improving our services. Learn more