Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2009


This survey of 2008's top developments in these international fora will focus on the law governing international crimes and applicable forms of responsibility. Several trends in the law are immediately apparent. The tribunals continue to delineate and clarify the interfaces between the various international crimes, particularly war crimes and crimes against humanity, which may be committed simultaneously or in parallel with each other. Several important cases went to judgment in 2008 that address war crimes drawn from the Hague tradition of international humanitarian law, and the international courts are demonstrating a greater facility for adjudicating highly technical aspects of this body of law. In addition, there were several cases with immediate relevance to the "war on terror" proceedings in the United States that have addressed such thorny issues as when acts of terrorism contribute to triggering IHL, what conduct constitutes direct participation in hostilities, and when acts of terrorism may constitute war crimes within the jurisdiction of ICL tribunals. While the year produced some groundbreaking jurisprudence on gender-based and sexual violence-in particular, the confirmation of the international crime of forced marriage-the year continued to feature setbacks in ensuring that such crimes are consistently and rigorously prosecuted. The forms of responsibility in ICL continue to undergo significant development and refinement, and the ICC is beginning to explore the scope of Article 25 of its Statute, which sets out the Court's applicable forms of responsibility. While the Court will no doubt be influenced by the jurisprudence of its ad hoc predecessors, it is clear from early jurisprudence that its personnel are intent on charting their own course.



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