Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 July 2011
The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience.– Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Common Law 1 (1881).
As discussed in Chapter 5, ICL is not as rigorous as some national legal systems with respect to the specificity required in the definition of international crimes. Nonetheless, there is a minimum standard of specificity that must be met in order to satisfy the principles of legality. This standard must be sufficient to provide notice of the prohibited conduct to the population whose conduct is expected to conform to the requirements of the law. This specificity is also needed to determine the elements of a specific crime that need to be proven by the prosecution, as well as the general elements of individual criminal responsibility and exoneration according to which an individual who is accused of a given international crime is to be prosecuted.
The various formulations of CAH described in Chapter 4 reveal that the Charter's Article 6(c) matrix has influenced all subsequent formulations, even the Rome Statute's formulation of Article 7, though it departs somewhat from that earlier model. However, it should be noted that all formulations subsequent to Article 6(c) of the Charter are somewhat different, particularly the ICTR's Article 3. Therefore, an analysis of the contents of Article 6(c) of the Charter is relevant, in some respects, to all other subsequent formulations.