Individual criminal responsibility under international law

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Definition[edit | edit source]

Individual criminal responsibility under international law
Acts committed by cyber means could lead to individual criminal responsibility under international criminal law for genocide (Article 6 of the Rome Statute),[1] crimes against humanity (Article 7 of the Rome Statute), war crimes (Article 8 of the Rome Statute) and aggression (Article 8 bis of the Rome Statute).[2] Individual criminal responsibility for each of these offences requires that the perpetrator committed the requisite actus reus with the corresponding mens rea.[3]

Pursuant to Article 25(3)(a) of the Rome Statute, different forms of incurring individual criminal responsibility may be envisaged: (1) individual commission; (2) joint commission; and (3) commission through others.[4] Criminal responsibility could also arise for instigating, assisting in, facilitating, and aiding or abetting the commission, or attempted commission by cyber means (Article 25(3)(b)-(d) of the Rome Statute). Furthermore, Article (3)(f) of the Rome Statute envisages individual criminal responsibility for attempts to commit a crime when the crime does not occur because of circumstances independent of the person’s intentions.

According to the Tallinn Manual 2.0, the principle of command responsibility, as stipulated in Article 28 of the Rome Statute and established in customary international law,[5] applies to cyber operations.[6]

Appendixes[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

  1. Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (adopted 17 July 1998, entered into force 1 July 2002) 2187 UNTS 3. See also the Amendments on the crime of aggression to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Kampala, 11 June 2010, Resolution RC/Res.6 of the Review Conference of the Rome Statute.
  2. See Kai Ambos, ‘International Criminal Responsibility in Cyberspace’ in Nicholas Tsagourias and Russell Buchan (eds), Research Handbook on Cyberspace and International Law (Elgar 2015) 118, 120, noting that the focus of the debate lies on the application of IHL to cyber space. In this regard, see Tallinn Manual 2.0, rule 84 (on “Individual criminal responsibility for war crimes”).
  3. See generally M. Cherif Bassiouni, Introduction to International Criminal Law (2nd rev ed, Martinus Nijhoff 2014), Chapter IV.
  4. Art 25(3)(a) Rome Statute.
  5. ICRC CIHL Study, Rules 152 and 153.
  6. Tallinn Manual 2.0, rule 85.

Bibliography and further reading[edit | edit source]