Published online by Cambridge University Press: 30 October 2015
The article focuses on one of the most intriguing and, at the same time, controversial issues of international criminal law: whether the state policy requirement should be considered as a constitutive element in core international crimes. Adopting a criminal policy perspective, my intention is to contribute to the ongoing discussion by offering a doctrinal and criminological corroboration of the position that answers in the affirmative. Nevertheless, I am not necessarily promoting a normative choice entailing the amendment of the definition of core international crimes, but I rather call for a policy choice of focusing on cases that presume a state policy component.
1 See Schabas, W. A., ‘Crimes Against Humanity: The State Plan or Policy Element’, in Sadat, L. N. and Scharf, M. P. (eds.), The Theory and Practice of International Criminal Law. Essays in Honour of M. Cherif Bassiouni (2008), 347–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Schabas, W. A., Genocide in International Law. The Crimes of Crimes (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 241ff., 491ff.; Schabas, W. A., ‘State Policy as an Element of International Crimes’, (2008) 98 Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 953Google Scholar. Counter-argumentation for the case of crimes against humanity where the element of ‘state or organizational policy’ is explicitly stipulated: Halling, M., ‘Push the Envelope – Watch It Bend: Removing the Policy Requirement and Extending Crimes against Humanity’, (2010) 23 LJIL 827CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Werle, G. and Burghardt, B., ‘Do Crimes Against Humanity Require the Participation of a State or a “State-like” Organization?’, (2012) 10 JICJ 1151Google Scholar. For a reaction to the former article, see Schabas, W. A., ‘Prosecuting Dr Strangelove, Goldfinger, and the Joker at the ICC: Closing the Loopholes’, (2010) 23 LJIL 847Google Scholar. See also, Mettraux, G., ‘The Definition of Crimes Against Humanity and the Question of a “Policy” Element’, in Sadat, L. N. (ed.), Forging a Convention for Crimes Against Humanity (2011), 142–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar.
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3 M. Delmas-Marty, Les grands systèmes de politique criminelle (1992), at 13-4. C. Lazerges, Introduction à la politique criminelle (2000), at 7.
4 It is posited that ‘the discussion on the policy requirement echoes deeper existential questions on the nature and limits of international criminal law and additionally on the role of the International Criminal Court as the predominant instrument of international judicial intervention’: van den Herik, L. and van Sliedregt, E., ‘Removing or Reincarnating the Policy Requirement of Crimes against Humanity: Introductory Note’, (2012) 10 LJIL 825Google Scholar, at 826. See also Kreß, C., ‘The International Criminal Court as a Turning Point in the History of International Criminal Justice’, in Cassese, A. (ed.), The Oxford Companion to International Criminal Justice (2009), 143–59Google Scholar. Ambos, Κ., ‘International Criminal Law at the Crossroads: From Ad Hoc Imposition to a Treaty-Based Universal System’, in Stahn, C. and van den Herik, L. (eds.), Future Perspectives on International Criminal Justice (2010), 161–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar.
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9 According to Habermas, there is a legitimation crisis when structures are unable to demonstrate that their practical functions fulfil the role for which they were instituted, despite the fact that they still retain legal authority by which to govern: J. Habermas, Legitimation Crisis (1988), at 68ff; J. Habermas, ‘What does a Legitimation Crisis Mean Today? Legitimation Problems in Late Capitalism’, and Schaar, J., ‘Legitimacy in the Modern State’, both in Connolly, W. (ed.), Legitimacy and the State (1984), 134–55Google Scholar and 104–27, respectively. For the legitimating function of human rights in the Constitutional State, see J. Habermas, Between Facts and Norms: Contribution to a Discourse Theory of Law and Democracy (1996), at 82ff.
10 According to Rotberg, the inability of a state to provide security and political goods leads to its failure and consequently to the loss of legitimacy. Rotberg, R. I., ‘The Failure and Collapse of Nation-States: Breakdown, Prevention and Repair’, in Rotberg, R. I. (ed.), When States Fail. Causes and Consequences (2004), at 2–4Google Scholar. See also, M. Silva, State Legitimacy and Failure in International Law (2014). N. Chomsky, Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy (2006). Patrick, S., ‘“Failed” States and Global Security: Empirical Questions and Policy Dilemmas’, (2007) 9 International Studies Review 644CrossRefGoogle Scholar.
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12 Analogous is the evaluation of the position adopted by the ICJ in the Case Concerning the Application of the Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro), Judgment of 27 February 2007,  ICJ Rep. 43. See Chouliaras, A., ‘State Crime and Individual Criminal Responsibility: Theoretical Inquiries and Practical Consequences’, in Burchard, C., Triffterer, O., and Vogel, J. (eds.), The Review Conference and the Future of the ICC. Proceedings of the First AIDP Symposium for Young Penalists in Tübingen, Germany (2010), 191, at 206–14Google Scholar.
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45 Un Doc. A/CONF.183/9 (1998).
46 UN General Assembly, Formulation of the Principles Recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Trial and the Judgement of the Tribunal, UN Doc. A/RES 177(ΙI) (1947).
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49 International Law Commission, ‘Report of the International Law Commission on the Work of its Third Session, 16 May to 27 July 1951’, UN Doc. A/CN.4/48 and Corr. 1 & 2, 1951 YILC, Vol. II, 133 at 134.
50 Ibid., at 134–7; International Law Commission, ‘Report of the International Law Commission Covering the Work of its Sixth Session, 3–28 July 1954’, UN Doc. A/CN.4/88, 1954 YILC, Vol. II, 149–52.
51 General Assembly, Definition of Aggression, A/RES 3314(ΧΧIX) (1974).
52 General Assembly, Draft Code of Offences against the Peace and Security of Mankind, A/RES 897(IX) (1954).
53 D. Thiam, ‘Third Report on the Draft Code of Offences Against the Peace and Security of Mankind by Mr. Doudou Thiam, Special Rapporteur’, UN Doc. A/CN.4/387 and Corr. 1 and Corr. 2, 1985 YILC, Vol. II(1), 63 at 65–66.
54 International Law Commission, ‘Report of the International Law Commission on the Work of its Thirty-Seventh Session, 6 May – 26 July 1985’, UN Doc. A/40/10, 1985 YILC, Vol. II(2), at 13–14.
55 In the commentary it is noted that ‘individual’ means natural person. What is more, ‘the act for which an individual is responsible might also be attributable to a State if the individual acted as an “agent of the State”, “on behalf of the State”, “in the name of the State” or as a de facto agent, without any legal power. For this reason, Art. 4 (Responsibility of States) establishes that the criminal responsibility of individuals is “without prejudice to any question of the responsibility of States under international law”’. International Law Commission, ‘Report of the International Law Commission on the Work of its Forty-Eighth Session, 6 May–26 July 1996’, UN Doc. A/51/10, 1996 YILC, Vol. II(2), at 18–19.
57 UN Doc. A/CN.4/387 and Corr. 1 and Corr. 2 (1985), at 68–71. See also UN Doc. A/40/10 (1985), at 14–15.
58 UN Doc. A/51/10 (1996), at 17.
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60 At para. 4 of the commentary it is noted that ‘the words “aggression committed by a State” clearly indicate that such a violation of the law by a State is a sine qua non condition for the possible attribution to an individual of responsibility for a crime of aggression’. UN Doc. A/51/10 (1996), 43.
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102 Prosecutor v. Martic, Judgment, Case No. IT-95-11-T, T. Ch., 12 June 2007, para. 49.
103 Prosecutor v. Kajelijeli, Judgment and Sentence, ICTR-98-44A-T, T. Ch., 1 December 2003, para. 872. Prosecutor v. Muhimana, Judgment and Sentence, Case No. ICTR-95-1B-T, T. Ch., 28 April 2005, para. 527.
104 Article 21(l)(a) ICCSt. obliges the Court to apply ‘in the first place, this Statute, Elements of Crimes and its Rules of Procedure and Evidence’.
105 Situation in the Republic of Kenya, Decision Pursuant to Article 15 of the Rome Statute on the Authorization of an Investigation into the Situation in the Republic of Kenya, ICC-01/09, Pre-T. Ch. IΙ, 31 March 2010.
108 Ibid., para. 93. For a critical appraisal of this teleological construction of the term ‘organization’ see Kress, C., ‘On the Outer Limits of Crimes against Humanity. The Concept of Organization within the Policy Requirement. Some Reflections on the March 2010 ICC Kenya Decision’, (2010) 23 LJIL 855CrossRefGoogle Scholar.
109 Situation in the Republic of Kenya, Dissenting Opinion of Judge Hans-Peter Kaul, ICC-01/09, 31 March 2010, para. 51.
110 Ibid., paras. 54–70. See also Kress, supra note 108, at 863–6. M. Holvoet, ‘The State or Organisational Policy Requirement within the Definition of Crimes Against Humanity in the Rome Statute: An Appraisal of the Emerging Jurisprudence and the Implementation Practice by ICC States Parties’, International Crimes Database, October 2013.
111 Situation en République Démocratique du Congo, Affaire Le Procureur c. Germain Katanga, Jugement rendu en application de l'article 74 du Statut, ICC- 01/04-01/07, La Chambre de Première Instance II, 7 Mars 2014, paras. 1118–22.
112 Situation In The Republic Of Côte D'Ivoire, Decision on the Confirmation of Charges against Laurent Gbagbo, ICC-02/11-01/11, Pre-T. Ch. I, 12 June 2014, para. 217.
113 See also the arguments in favour of an amendment of Art. 7 ICCSt. in C. Chernor Jalloh, ‘What Makes a Crime Against Humanity a Crime Against Humanity’, (2013) 28 American University International Law Review, at 435ff.
115 C. Frances Moran, ‘Beyond the State: The Future of International Criminal Law’, International Crimes Database, September 2014. The problem with such an approach is that ‘amounts to a misstatement of the proper relationship between international human rights law and international criminal law. While it is certainly possible to say that international criminal law has come to be an instrument to protect and enforce (a limited number of fundamental) international human rights there can be no presumption in favour of a broad teleological interpretation of international criminal law as a back door for a progressive development of international human rights law. The sequence can only be the other way round: only once the obligation of an organization to respect international human rights can be clearly established under general international law can a human-rights-inspired teleological argument to include such organizations in the policy requirement of crimes against humanity become available’. Kress, supra note 108, at 860–1.
116 A. A. Cançado Trindade, International Law for Humankind. Towards a New Jus Gentium (2010), at 372.
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