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Preparatory Commission for the International Criminal Court: The Elements of War Crimes - Part II : Other serious violations of the laws and customs applicable in international and non-international armed conflicts

30-06-2001 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 842, by Knut Dörmann

   

Knut Dörmann
is Legal Advisor at the Legal Division of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva. He was a member of the ICRC delegation to the Preparatory Commission for the International Criminal Court.  

 
Abstract 
In the September issue of the Review the author discussed the outcome of the negotiations of the Preparatory Commission for the International Criminal Court (PrepCom) in relation to that part of the Elements of Crimes (EOC) which deals with grave breaches and violations of Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949. The present article completes the overview of the PrepCom’s work and examines the decisions taken regarding other serious violations of the laws and customs applicable in international and non-international armed conflicts.
 
At the outset, it is of interest to note that by 31 December 2000 as many as 139 States had signed the Rome Statute, thus well beyond the number of States that voted in Rome in favour of the Statute (120). The number of ratifications steadily increased in the second half of 2000 to 27 States and several States are about to finish their ratification process. These figures are certainly a very encouraging sign that the International Criminal Court may become a reali ty in the near future.
 
The following analysis deals with elements of war crimes as defined under Article 8(2)(b) and (e) of the ICC Statute, covering “[o ] ther serious violations of the laws and customs applicable in international and non-international armed conflicts”. For reasons of space, the analysis is limited to a number of crimes and to certain controversial issues related to them. An account of the mandate of the PrepCom, the role played by the EOC in the context of the Rome Statute and details of the EOC’s adoption by the PrepCom on 30 June 2000 is given in the article published in the September 2000 issue of the Review.  

   
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