The development of the grave breaches regime and of individual criminal responsibility by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
30-06-2003 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 850, by Natalie Wagner
Two key developments of international humanitarian law by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia are analysed in this article: the progressive interpretation of the grave breaches regime and the common purpose doctrine. It is argued that these developments are legally justified and have been consistently upheld in recent decisions, despite ongoing controversy.
However, such developments are not unanimously supported in the literature. One school of thought upholds a strict convention-based approach to international humanitarian law while another supports a teleological interpretation and application thereof. In contrast with the more skeptical viewpoint of the former, the author identifies a consistent legal pattern in the recent case law of the Tribunal in relation to the grave breaches regime and to the common purpose doctrine.