Assistance, direction and control: Untangling international judicial opinion on individual and State responsibility for war crimes by non- State actors

02 September 2015 Shane Darcy

Despite the general consistency in the treatment of international humanitarian law by international courts and tribunals, recent decisions have seen significant disagreement regarding the scope of indirect responsibility for individuals and States for the provision of aid or assistance to non-State actors that perpetrate war crimes. The divisions at the international criminal tribunals with regard to the "specific direction" element of aiding and abetting are reminiscent of the divergence between the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia on the question of State responsibility for supporting or assisting non-State actors that engage in violations of international law. This article analyzes this jurisprudence on individual and State responsibility for the provision of support to non-State actors that breach international humanitarian law, and considers the interaction and interrelationship between these related but distinct forms of responsibility.

About the author

Shane Darcy
Lecturer at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland Galway

Shane Darcy is a lecturer at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland Galway.