Honored to have contributed on the doctrine of command responsibility to the newest edition of ICC Forum, an online publisher of essays on human rights and international criminal law. My essay was one of several responding to this question, posed by the editors:
“What does the Bemba Appeal Judgment say about superior responsibility under Article 28 of the Rome Statute?”
My own response, entitled “In Bemba, Command Responsibility Doctrine Ordered to Stand Down,” amplified an argument I’d made in an EJIL: Talk! contribution last year (prior post).
Specifically, it traced the development of the international-humanitarian- law/law-of-armed-conflict-doctrine that places on military commanders a burden greater than that shouldered by other combatants. It then turned to the International Criminal Court Appeals Chamber’s 2018 judgment in Bemba. The majority’s interpretation of the ICC Statute’s command-responsibility provision, my essay argued, risks tolerating “derelictions of duty” so as “to condone indiscipline,” and thus “to increase the risks of the very harms that the doctrine of command responsibility is intended to dispel.” As a result, perhaps “no one can be held to account.”
Other invited experts who contributed essays were: Miles Jackson, Associate Professor of Law, Jesus College, University of Oxford; Michael A. Newton, Professor of the Practice of Law and Political Science at Vanderbilt University Law School; Nadia Carine Fornel Poutou, Executive President Association of Women Lawyers of Central African Republic; and Leila Nadya Sadat, James Carr Professor of International Criminal Law at Washington University School of Law.
ICC Forum is supported by the Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA School of Law; UCLA Law Professor Richard H. Steinberg serves as Editor-in-Chief.