What is a Crime of Aggression?

Introduction A crime of aggression or crime against peace is the planning, initiation, or execution of a large-scale and serious act of aggression using state military force. The definition and scope of the crime is controversial. The Rome Statute contains an exhaustive list of acts of aggression that can give rise to individual criminal responsibility,… Read More


An Overview of Amnesty Law

Introduction An amnesty law is any legislative, constitutional or executive arrangement that retroactively exempts a select group of people, usually military leaders and government leaders, from criminal liability for the crimes that they committed. More specifically, in the ‘age of accountability’, amnesty laws have come to be considered as granting impunity for the violation of… Read More

What is Joint Criminal Responsibility?

Introduction Joint criminal enterprise (JCE) is a legal doctrine used during war crimes tribunals to allow the prosecution of members of a group for the actions of the group. This doctrine considers each member of an organised group individually responsible for crimes committed by group within the common plan or purpose. It arose through the… Read More

What is the War Crimes Act of 1996 (US)?

Introduction The War Crimes Act of 1996 is a law that defines a war crime to include a “grave breach of the Geneva Conventions”, specifically noting that “grave breach” should have the meaning defined in any convention (related to the laws of war) to which the US is a party. The definition of “grave breach”… Read More

What is Command Responsibility?

Introduction Command responsibility (superior responsibility, the Yamashita standard, and the Medina standard) is the legal doctrine of hierarchical accountability for war crimes. The legal doctrine of command responsibility stipulates that a superior officer (military commander or civilian leader) can be held legally responsible for war crimes committed by subordinates. The legal doctrine of command responsibility… Read More

What was the Salvadoran Civil War (1979-1992)?

Introduction The Salvadoran Civil War (Spanish: Guerra Civil de El Salvador) was a twelve year period of civil war in El Salvador that was fought between the government of El Salvador and the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), a coalition or “umbrella organisation” of left-wing groups. A coup on 15 October 1979 followed by… Read More

An Overview of Wartime Sexual Violence

Introduction Wartime sexual violence is rape or other forms of sexual violence committed by combatants during armed conflict, war, or military occupation often as spoils of war, but sometimes, particularly in ethnic conflict, the phenomenon has broader sociological motives. Wartime sexual violence may also include gang rape and rape with objects. A war crime, it… Read More